Red Bull’s Helmut Marko says “Webber should have let Vettel pass” (Video)

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Marko (right) believes Webber should have moved over for Vettel
Marko (right) believes Webber should have moved over for Vettel

Red Bull motorsport consultant Helmut Marko has reiterated his belief that Mark Webber was solely to blame for his collision with Sebastian Vettel which put both cars out of the lead of the Turkish Grand Prix.

Speaking to Speed TV Marko said:

Mark for whatever reason was slower. He was getting lap by lap slower, and Vettel was getting faster and was coming under enormous pressure from Hamilton. So if he would have stayed behind Mark, he would have been overtaken. So he had to do something. And Mark knew that he was slower, so he should have let him past.
Helmut Marko

Update: Red Bull have put out a video in which Mark Webber discusses the crash. See below.

Marko added that Vettel, who now trails Webber by 15 points in the drivers’ championship, had been “unlucky” not to score again:

It?s unbelievable how unlucky Vettel is. He showed so much speed, and if you have all these incidents it?s unbelievable how strong his morale and commitment still is. To make points in this new points system is the most important thing. And now Vettel has two zeroes.
Helmut Marko

Red Bull have come under criticism for their support of Vettel in the immediate aftermath of the crash. Team boss Christian Horner also said Webber should not have forced Vettel onto the dirty part of the track.

Most people outside the team appear to blame Vettel for the collision – including 74% in a poll of over 4,000 fans conducted by F1 Fanatic.

Webber discusses the collision rather cagily in this video for Red Bull. He said:

Unfortunately, Sebastien tried a move. For both of us, in the end, it didn’t work out for both of us and we made contact. And it’s a real shame for the team, obviously, because we lost a good opportunity to win the race. One of us could have won it and in the end we only got one third place.
Mark Webber

Vettel and Webber collide

Image (C) Red Bull/Getty images

372 comments on “Red Bull’s Helmut Marko says “Webber should have let Vettel pass” (Video)”

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  1. I reckon that if the situation was reversed, Webber would’ve copped an earfull, and he would’ve owned up to it like a man and apologised directly.

    In James Allen’s article, he wrote that Hamilton was no closer than 1.2 sec to Vettel over the last 7 laps before the incident. Over this time Webber was told to turn the engine down…
    You can also see in the replay of the incident Horner’s saying “MOVE”.
    Sounds to me like they wanted to take the opportunity to ‘give’ the win to Seb.

    1. i really want to ask vettel what he would have done if he was in webber’s shoes (well, car). i find it incredibly hard to believe he’d have just opened the door to let him through. then again, webber wouldn’t be stupid enough to run one up the inside of his team mate knowing full well the gap was going to close at the apex of the corner.

  2. I think it is bad management to criticize either driver in public like this, yes give them a dressing down in private but they have handled it badly.

    Most people are blaming Vettel for the incident, maybe Red Bull have some information they are not making public which shows that Webber was to blame, but I think it is a case of Red Bull favouring Vettel.

    1. MouseNightshirt
      1st June 2010, 10:40

      I agree that Red Bull may be holding back some info, but none of it would exonerate Vettel anyway.

      Even if you were to whip out a contract saying “Mark is obliged to give way for Seb”, it doesn’t change the fact Vettel turned into Mark.

  3. These comments from Red Bull management are dissapointing. Helmut Marko’s comments are in my opinion are the most deranged. I think Horner is just saying what he’s been told to say.

    Since when should a team mate sacrifice the lead to protect the guy in second place from slipping back to third place? Especially when both drivers are equal on points going into the race. If anything Vettel should have been doing his best to defend against Hamilton giving the team the best possible chance of scoring another win. Instead it seems management decided that Mark should drop back to second, defend against Hamilton and hand Vettel the win. What a joke. If that’s the case their plan backfired big time.

    1. i completely agree. why should mark be the rear gunner when he’s leading the championshop?
      again, i wonder what would have happened if it was the other way around

  4. Some time ago Kovalainen pulled over to let his faster teammate Hamilton by. We discussed it, but I can’t find the thread, nor even remember the race. (Anyone?)

    I recall few, if any, people at that time saying that Kovalainen should have held his position. Instead he was applauded for his team spirit. (It would also be interesting to see what McLaren said about it at the time.) Why is it so different now? Just because Heikki pulled over and Mark didn’t?

    I know there are a lot of Hamilton and McLaren fans here, but don’t get carried away with partisanship.

    For the record, though, I also think Vettel was wrong in this case.

    1. Kovalainen was a slave to hamilton and new that from the outset. Webber has battled away for years, finally gets a car capable of winning the championship, is leading the championship and they treat him like a dill. thats the difference. It is not about the crash at all. It’s about the managements ill timed bias.

      1. And the RBR team here repeatedly stated they are treating both drivers equal.

        McLaren was not even asked to do that with Heikki, as he was clearly behind Lewis.

        1. Brake Bias
          2nd June 2010, 3:25

          and there in lies the difference.

          RBR keep stating both drivers are equal.

    2. I’m pretty sure they weren’t equally leading the WDC though. And was it this early in the season? Probably not, though I confess that I don’t remember what precise race this happened.

    3. I don’t recall this, but lets assume the context is different. Maybe, and very likely, Heikki was not equal on points with Hamilton at the top of the table, in fact I would imagine Heikki was not even looking at any chance of taking the championship that year… I also doubt they were swapping places to give Lewis the win over Heikki.

      If the situation was identical to the RBR farce, and Heikki was leading Hamilton for a McLaren 1-2 with them both leading the championship, and this situation was manufactured by the McLaren team… then I think the resulting Public Opinion would also match what we have here.

    4. MouseNightshirt
      1st June 2010, 10:43

      One of the differences is that Lewis didn’t cut across and wipe out the pair of them.

      On a side note, it’s brilliant to see Heikki so happy this year. Those years at McLaren really must have been depressing.

      1. agreed… heikki may not be able to match 100% of hamilton’s skill, but he definitely deserves to be in F1.. and the Lotus team is a good place for him, and in turn he is now a no.1 driver like i’m guessing all F1 drivers wish to be.

    5. remember fuel loads though. hamilton may have had more potential speed before a pit stop. makes it really hard to compare. those situations happened all the time with varying strategies.

    6. Here we go. 2008 German Grand Prix. (I wasted way too much time looking for this.)

      Check out the comments.

      1. Yep, pretty much as I described it.

    7. If memory serves me, I believe it was Hockenheim 2008. I think in that race LH had a 1.2 or 1.5 second lap-time advantage over HK and was chasing the field (Piquet & Massa) down after the botched pit-stop call during the safety car. It kinda looked like Massa and Piquet “moved aside” to let LH pass as well!

    8. It was in Hockenheim 2008. Hamilton had dominated the race, but didn’t make his pitstop when the safety car came out, as everyone else did. Therefore he had to pit later and lost a lot of positions and were behind Kovalainen. Heikki didn’t have the pace and Lewis was fighting for the championship, so Lewis was let passed, and then he passed Felipe and Nelsinho to win.

    9. Hamilton was a second a lap faster and he overtook Kovalainen hardly any easier than he breezed past Massa and later Piquet jr.

      The difference is that Hamilton is actually able to overtake cars and Vettel is not.

  5. I think the reason this is so bad, is the fact that it is so clear that high up management favour Vettel. I don’t think any other team would acknowledge thier preference to either driver. Even Ferrari who clearly favoured Schumacher didn’t actually admit it. I really see this turning quite ugly in the next few races if Webber continues to beat Vettel. What ever happened to teams being impartial, all drivers treated equally?

    1. is it just me or is this 2007 all over again? a debutant driver ferrari wins the first round, then goes wandering for a bit. meanwhile the fastest team’s drivers take points from each other and escalate tensions. then come europe phase 2, ferrari dominates….fastest team falls to pieces and pipped in the final round.
      WDC for alonso by 1 point in abu dhabi.

      1. very possible Tommy, except Hamilton by 1 point in Abu Dhabi! think there’s absolutely no way Ferrari can win this championship now, they’ll be lucky to keep ahead of Renault.

  6. Helmut’s reasoning is contradictory.

    1) He says that the most important thing for the Red Bull team as a whole was to secure a 1-2 result.
    2) He says that at the time of the incident, Vettel was going faster than Webber.
    3) He says that had Webber not let Vettel through, Vettel would have been passed by Hamilton.

    But if Webber was going slower than Vettel, he would surely have been even more vulnerable to attack by Hamilton. So Red Bull would have been more likely to secure their 1-2 finish by instructing Vettel to hold station and protect Webber from Hamilton.

    1. I was thinking along those lines too. Surely Hamilton would have had a crack at picking off Webber. The gap with Hamilton and Seb was pretty constant as it was shown on the F1 forum so if Seb had got held up the situation may have became more urgent but at that moment it wasn’t. Unless they think Seb just can’t defend :P

      1. Horner is now saying the win was priority not the 1-2…
        “Q: Were you happy that Sebastian challenged Mark for the lead at that point in the race? You had a one-two, so why not stick with that?
        CH: With the pace of the McLarens and with it looking like Sebastian was the quicker of the two Red Bull cars, the priority was to win the race.”
        Interview here. Just put up I think.–Turkish-GP-Debrief-021242855717795?refmod=ContentFeed&refmodpos=A1

        1. Thanks for that link Steph. Still they keep telling lies about Mark not moving over. He could never have reacted quick enough after Vettel drove into him.

          Still no apology at all from Marko and Vettel only half heartedly admitting any mistakes (we’ll take the admission of doing something wrong in Vettels diary for the after crash antics by Vettel for now)

    2. yup

      it stinks

    3. Exactly on the point! If Lewis would really have been such a threath, they should have had the faster car as rear guard.

      If not, this is just b******t, covering a team order blunder.

    4. The thing is though, Marko lied that Webber was going slower and that Hamilton was putting more and mroe pressure on Vettel.

      Hamilton and Webber were driving the same laptimes for about 9 laps. The gap between them was virtually a constant.

      Indeed Vettel was lapping 3 tenths a lap faster all of a sudden. He closed 8 tenths on Vettel in those few laps. he also enlarged his gap to Hamilton by the same amount.

      So all Marko’s scenario’s simply fall apart because his whole premise is a lie.

  7. The shortest suicide note in history from Dr Helmut. Too much vodka in his redbull perhaps. Just like their ghastly drink the whole thing leaves a nasty taste in the mouth. Theyve blown championships already through poor decision making despite having the fastest car but this time they’re going to look foolish and thats not good brand building. Horner may be sitting in a corner by next season.

  8. i would have thought that when one driver was ahead of another driver from the same team that room would be given….that’s all that is being asked of from management…after all they run the team.

    1. “Ahead”

      for Seb’s back wheel to hit Mark’s front wheel he couldn’t be that far in front.

      1. Seb’s back wheel actually first struck Marks car in the sidepod and then spun round into the front wheel.

        So he was even less “ahead” than he thought.

        1. Brake Bias
          2nd June 2010, 3:39

          yes, there seems to be intersting interpretations of what “being ahead” actually means.

          First point of contact of vettels car On Webber was on the side pod & not the front wing, If it had of been the front wing first, then yes a lot of the criticism aimed at Webber for not yeilding would be justified. To me, vettel had not passed Webber, but still beside him. vettels mistake in my opinion

  9. Teams lose trust when they say to the public on the one hand “we give equal opportunities to both drivers” and “we allow them to race,” and then do what appears to be the exact opposite.

    That’s why there is such strong reaction here PM. People don’t like to be taken as fools and the RBR management, whether rightly or wrongly, ‘appear’ to be doing just that.

  10. James Brickles
    1st June 2010, 11:24

    Webber was on the verge of extending his contract for Red Bull before the Turkish Grand Prix. I wouldn’t bet against Webber leaving Red Bull at the end of the year now. Comments that hint favouritism towards Vettel from within his own team are bound to unsettle the Aussie and affect his concentration.

  11. i just hate the vettel sympathy. ‘oh he’s had so much bad luck’. how about ‘seb screwed up and cost himself and the team valuble points. let’s forget about it and move to canada’.

    luck has nothing to do with it.

    1. and it’s not like they came out after the race in australia saying ‘oh mark’s had so much bad luck’. webber stuffed up qualy in bahrain and stuffed up the race in melbourne. difference is, he admitted it, apologised and moved on.

      1. Actually first Red Bull stuffed up Mark’s race in Australia.

        Webber was being held up by Vettel who was struggling on his worn intermediates. They called in Vettel so late that when they finally had time for Webber to come in he dropped from P2 to P6.

        If Red Bull hadn’t screded up so royally there, Webber would have come out on P2 or P1 and he could very well have gone on to win the race.

        Now he was frustrated and in a position where he had to take a lot of risk to overtake cars. Which indeed in the end didn’t go too well.

        He should never have been in that mess to begin with though.

        1. My thoughts exactly. Webber was in with a real shot at winning Melbourne, and they sacrificed that for Vettel. And remind me of how many points Vettel scored in Melbourne again?? Not only did RBR ruin their chances of a race win & decent points, they deprived us Aussie fans of seeing Webber on the podium at his home race, possibly even on the top step. An Australian has never won the Australian GP & we were all so keyed up for it to happen. It didn’t, and it should have, and so nearly did.

  12. In reality I don’t think anyone doubts a bias toward Vettel. I mean, a young German spokesman for Redbull is clearly a better marketing tool then an older Australian. I say this as an Australian and Webber supporter. Redbull are the experts at marketing. I suppose one of the weaknesses of f1 is the difficulty of drivers from places like Ausrtalia and other similar countries to get into f1 as they are less marketable. Webber showed promise for a long time but really only got into F1 as he was hired by the Minardi owner at the time, Paul Stoddard, another Aussie.

    The point I am getting to is favouring one driver may make marketing sense but in situations like this it may make the company look worse and be a marketing disaster.

    1. true indeed.

      and are you ‘the’ Andrew G?

      1. Ha. No, I don’t like him much.

  13. Mike Collins
    1st June 2010, 11:37

    Horner & Marko keep pushing that Vettel, by slipstreaming, had saved a “kilogram” of fuel and as such did not need to go into fuel saving mode. Since a kilogram of fuel is approximately 1.4 litres, my question is how far that would take Vettel’s car? Certainly not one lap by my calculation, more likely less than half a lap.

    Then why weren’t both drivers told to turn down their engines on the same lap?
    I think we all know why

  14. Another contradiction was that these two were previously told they were free to race or at least that is what Horner and RBR have said to the media numerous times. Free to race, not contingent on the circumstances or being in a 1-2 positon and under threat. Alonso seems like he’s constantly stuck behind Massa, Hamilton overtook Button in Aus that shows how teammates can race. They weren’t in 1-2 positions but Horner said before Malaysia that his drivers were free to race when Mark was on pole. If they could race in that instance at the start of a race (here they had a little but constant gap to Hamilton) then I don’t blame Mark for assuming he could defend now.

    Mark actually didn’t not let Seb by though. He squeezed but he left enough room for Seb to get by and kept his wheel completely straight. When Vettel turned in on him he then moved to try to avoid contact. There was sufficient room. The gorund work was there, Seb could see ahead if he couldn’t execute the move then that doesn’t mean it’s Mark’s fault. Seb had the room, he wasn’t in the gravel/grass or on the kerbs. He had an F1 car sized space.

    The favouritism issue is just speculation at the minute but it is very strong. That doesn’t make it true and it could just be perception but they’re going to watched incredibly closely and even if the drivers are pacified now, I wonder if there is still a trace of doubt left in their minds particularly Mark’s and coming out and saying this in public really can’t do any favours to a driver’s mentality.

    1. I agree. “Mark actually didn’t not let Seb by though.” Of course, because why would he? Both of them are fighting for the championship “on equal terms” as Red Bull call it. Now Vettel wanted more than just enough room, because he wanted a good line which could make him hold the lead after turns 12-14. As it was he was on the dirty side of the track, and would’ve had to brake very early, likely to hand Webber the lead back. Webber’s move was hard but fair, and that’s how it should be.

      What Vettel did was another stupid move, which is why I dislike him. Crashing with Webber now and in Japan 2007, and with Kubica in Australia 2009, is not good enough for a “true champion” as Red Bull seems to think he is.

      1. harsh – a racer in his early 20’s cant make a few mistakes?

        would you have booted Hamilton outta the sport for not seeing a red light?

    2. I don’t there’s much doubt that Red Bull’s management would prefer to see Vettel winning over Webber – but there’s a big difference between favouritism and preferential treatment.

      It’s perfectly possible for a team to wish to see one of its drivers win races instead of the other, while still supplying them both with identical equipment and the same opportunities to succeed. Ron Dennis has admitted that he was much closer to Mika Hakkinen than he was to David Coulthard, but both received equal equipment from McLaren. Hakkinen and Coulthard, of course, also once managed to collide losing their team a likely one-two – at the 1999 Austrian GP.

      There have, however, been occasions when a team has provided preferential treatment to a clear number one driver, Michael Schumacher at Ferrari being an obvious example. There are plenty of other examples – Jackie Stewart turned down the offer of a Lotus drive alongside Jim Clark, observing that Lotus’ number two driver rarely did anything worth mentioning.

      Webber rarely pulls his punches – if he believed Red Bull was consistently disadvantaging him relative to Vettel I don’t think he’d hesitate to say so.

  15. Everyone complains about no overtaking in Formula 1 but then berates drivers when they try and overtake their team mates as a “dangerous move”. A lot of people spoke of how lucky it is that Button and Hamilton didn’t go the same way as the Red Bulls. The only real over taking in an otherwise boring race was between team mates, had the Vettel/Webber and Button/Hamilton battles not taken place, I think the ratings for the race would have been a lot lower than they were.

    As for the Vettel/Webber incident,l this is the way I see it, Vettel was running faster than Webber and thus took a chance to overtake, dived up the inside and couldn’t get completely ahead of Webber before he had to move into a position to brake for the corner. At this point, he’d committed to the move and it seems to me he had two choices. 1. Continue on the dirty line and miss the turn in to the corner, forcing both the Red Bulls off the road. 2. Try and move aside into a position where he can brake and make the turn in to the corner and hope that your team mate moves to give you both enough room.

    I agree though that the handling of it by the team by laying the blame on one of their drivers when clearly both could have played a part in avoiding it, it a poor show and will only serve to demotivate and alienate Webber. They should have treated it as a racing incident and spoken to both drivers at the same time without laying blame.

    1. Everyone complains about no overtaking in Formula 1 but then berates drivers when they try and overtake their team mates as a “dangerous move”.

      I don’t agree that is what’s happened here at all.

      Vettel is being criticised for moving across on Webber and causing a crash.

      I don’t think I’ve read a single comment where someone has said “Vettel should not have tried to pass Webber”.

      1. It was merely an observation of some of the comments I’ve seen and heard since the race. More often directed at the Button/Hamilton fight, and a fair amount saying that it was dangerous and they were lucky to get away with it. In your team-by-team analysis you mentioned “…they can consider themselves lucky it didn’t end in tears.” In fact, a lot of people heavily criticised Alonso for his move on Massa in China, yet had they not been team mates it would have just been hailed as an opportunistic move. I just don’t feel that should be at the forefront of their minds, I want them to race and try and overtake each other, not the least because there are some fantastic drivers in the same team and it’s then down to setup and skill to see who prevails.

        Again, it was just a general attitude I’ve picked up on, not to say that people don’t want team mates to race, but just that they feel it should be some sort of watered down pseudo-racing where you only overtake if you can drive completely around the outside of your team mate with no element of risk.

      2. And one other thing, that of course only popped into my mind once I’d hit submit. A lot of comments do mention that if Red Bull wanted to secure a 1-2 then Vettel should have protected Webber rather than attack him. While that is a prudent strategy if you only have one driver in the running for the WDC, at this stage of the season I’d rather they just race.

      3. exactly, sure have a go but if you can’t do it cleanly, pull out before that happens. it’s ridiculous how marko suggests webber should have let him through. that is not racing. people want to see well fought and clean overtaking

      4. The big issue here is not that Vettel made a mistake, but the fact that Red Bull claim that the driver who didn’t make a mistake was to blame.

        Also the fact that by now it’s blatantly clear that there was some form of team effort going on to put Vettel in front of Webber.

        What they did looks like the most disgusting form of team orders that you can imagine. Instead of actually being man enough to tell the lead driver to move over, they crippled his car and boosted the following car. Telling only Vettel what was going on and Webber was quietly getting done in.

        The FIA should investigate this as team orders are illegal. In what form these orders are given is irrelevant.

        Hamilton argued that his pitstop in Monaco 2007 was a form of team orders too. The FIA judged that it wasn’t but at least they investigated that situation.

    2. Brake Bias
      2nd June 2010, 3:46

      Puffy, he also had a third option which was he could of backed off & waited until another opportunity presented itself. Sadly, he did not.

  16. I am certain the RBR team wanted a 1-2 finish, but with Sebastian 1 and Mark 2. That is the meaning of the code speak telling Mark to turn his engine down while telling Sebastian to turn his up.

    That is why Mark was not outraged at the incident, because he was expected to respond to the code, and knew he would be in trouble for how things turned out.

    The fact that he technically made just enough room for Sebatian, but then Sebastian messed it up is why the team is unhappy with him. He was supposed to make it easy, and that is what Sebastian expected.

    This is exactly the same sort of code speak as Maclaren telling Jensen “fuel is CRITICAL” ie. HOLD STATION! All the teams do it since they cannot be up front with the team orders.

    As for why they prefer Vettel for 1 and Webber for 2, there have been a lot of good speculations in previous posts. I think most plausible is Webber is likely to move teams for next season, and would take 1 with him.

  17. To play devils advocate for a second, F1 is littered with teams who lost championships as a result of not favouring drivers or of trying to anyway ( just Williams an Mclaren have lost countless WDC’s). Michael Schumacher wasnt as successful as he was because his team mate was given equal treatment.

    Red Bull are allowed to favour a driver, he is their boy and he is the future. They have seen it blow up in their face in this race but whatever the rights and wrongs of that, generally you win more by having a number one

    1. and that should be webber. he’s leading the championship and simply driving better now while the maclarens are catching them

  18. Im disgusted. Poor Webber. I feel so much for this guy. He looks utterly wrecked. I just hope that he isnt put to bed now.

  19. RBR management wanted Seb in front because he would not have won the pressure battle with Hamilton. Webber would have had a better chance of holding off Hamilton.
    Seb’s quick but he’s mentally vulnerable and commits to many errors under pressure when it comes to man on man dogfights.
    His move on Webber was like a kid on a Playstation, he fogot in the real world there are consequences of getting it wrong. There are many buttons on an F1 steering wheel but “Play Again” isn’t one of them

    1. MouseNightshirt
      1st June 2010, 14:45

      “There are many buttons on an F1 steering wheel but “Play Again” isn’t one of them”

      Such a true point. Vettel isn’t and hasn’t been the only driver who needs to get a grip with that point. Piquet Jr springs to mind…

  20. I still can’t believe it….after looking at the incident so many times and even after reading the team’s comments …..u guys still feel iys vettel’s fault….i clearly think its webber’s fault…..its clear red bull don’t favour anybody….but they can’t just support the one who is in fault….i think its clearly webber’s fault

    1. I really am curious, Rahim, as to how you blame Webber here. Really, I am. Theories, evidence, all would be welcome…or are you just content to say it’s Webber’s fault, with no real reasoning?

      1. yeh, reasoning would help…

    2. MouseNightshirt
      1st June 2010, 14:46

      It’s exactly after watching the incident so many times that the majority of us have come to the decision that it was Vettel’s fault. The management’s position is not relevant to who gets apportioned blame, but it’s getting discussed as it is contradictory to most of the general thought direction here and elsewhere on the web.

    3. Rahim, I’m wondering which race you were watching?

      Because in the one being discussed in this thread, it is blatantly obvious that Vettel couldn’t pull off a clean overtake in time to be on proper line in the braking zone, and cut to the right well before he was clear of Webber’s car, evidently expecting Webber to lay down and let him drive by.

      As to the tema’s comments, it’s clear that if Marko and Christian actually believe what they are saying, they wouldn’t know a fact if it bit them in the butt.

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