Webber hits Kovalainen and flips (Video)

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Mark Webber’s European Grand Prix came to a dramatic end when he crashed violently with Heikki Kovalainen.

The Red Bull and Lotus drivers were racing for position and collided at the fastest point of the track approach turn 12.

Webber hit the back of the Kovalainen’s car and flew through the air.

A very similar crash happened at the same place in the GP2 sprint race this morning, with Josef Kral the unlucky driver flying through the air. He was taken to hospital:

Webber suffered a similarly violent accident at the wheel of a Mercedes sports car at the Le Mans 24 Hours in 1999. On that occasion the car flipped of its own accord.

Webber and Kovalainen were racing for position and there was nothing obviously wrong with Kovalainen’s defensive move.

But we’ve discussed before this year whether slower cars should bother racing for position with the front-runners. Should Kovalainen have got out of Webber’s way?

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82 comments on “Webber hits Kovalainen and flips (Video)”

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  1. It’s a different corner but very similar crash. Quiet scary.

    1. The collision was like one of those awkward situations where you run into someone in a hallway, and they go left, but you go left, then you go right, but they go right, and then someone eventually yields and you walk pass each other. The only difference being instead of at walking pace it’s at 320km/h, where awkward situations always end badly.

    2. are they both ok? looked like a hectic crash.

      1. Yeah, they are luckily both unscathed.

  2. Scary crash.
    I’m blaming Webber… being to aggresive again!

    1. That’s a very negative view, I don’t think anyone is to blame.

    2. From where I was watching, and after about thirty repeat runs of the sequence, I have to say that I don’t find Kovalinen in any way culpable.


      1. ditto 90% webber’s fault. he knew lotus had an early breaking point, but more than likely thought kovalainen would yield and head back on the racing line so he could out brake him. he gave no respect to kov and his slower car. he was slipstreaming for too long.

        that said, very happy everyone is alright

    3. OMG, Kovi change lines multiple times then brakes 80m b4 normal f1 or a good f1 teams braking point.

      1st point is why? why bother?
      rule is 1 move to defend not 2 or 3.
      Why jeopardize both cars by weaving and blocking considering the 2 fundamentally different braking performance, and never mind speed difference.

      Even if he wanted to race the RBR then again rule book says, 1 move to defend IT also says a driver may not deliberately block or impede a driver from passing.

      I dont need to see telemetry steering trace data to see Kovi and his multi weaves.

      The simple fact is it was a utterly pointless exercise in stupidity that was overly aggressive and extremely dangerous.
      Webber as stated though he was letting him thru…as most would, then as he got closer kovi has a brain snap and weaves and blocks, he then claims as does his clown team boss, that webber missed missed his braking point.
      Lotus is not a RBR it didnt miss the braking zone it just CAN brake later.

      Lets just make this simple.
      Had kovi not had a brain fart, and not weaved and blocked—multiple times— webber would have been able to go left or right and braked at his point and past the GP2 car with zero issues.

      Lotus and the rest of the gp2 cars need to be banned untill they can display they can lap closer to the rest of the field. They are a joke and dangerous and have been since the 1st round. The fact why one would block and weave at one of the fastest points of the track to be all racey is utter stupidity.

      It’s like a gt car that some how managed to be in front of a LMP1 car and then wanting to race it….for all of 1,2,3 corners…


      1. talk about idiotic…

        kov was scraping the ground heavily and driving 180+ mph. the 1-2 meter weave you claim was ‘moves’ came from controlling the car normally. he held the inside line and was about to head back on the racing line (outside) to brake. mark came in extremely to fast and ignorant.

        ask yourself why this happens to mark at least once every 4 races?

        1. utter stupidity ….have you watched replay?

          Look at where the lotus brakes!!!!!!
          He is braking before the 100m marker…

          I have counted atleast 3moves and thats being kind to kovi…

          There is a reason Kovi has been dumped from 2 top teams and now in gp2…he is a below par in skill and mental aptitude for f1 competition.

      2. there is actually no rule stating 1 move to defend or anything of the sort, it was a gentlemans agreement made years ago. There are no real rule on passing/defending at all.

        1. ok LOL no rule huh..


          2. Overtaking, car control and track limits
          a) A car alone on the track may use the full width of the said
          track, however, as soon as it is caught by a car which is about
          to lap it the driver must allow the faster driver past at the first
          possible opportunity.
          If the driver who has been caught does not seem to make
          full use of the rear-view mirrors, flag marshals will display
          the waved blue flag to indicate that the faster driver wants to
          Any driver who appears to ignore the blue flags will be reported
          to the Stewards of the meeting.
          b) Overtaking, according to the circumstances, may be carried
          out on either the right or the left.
          However, manoeuvres liable to hinder other drivers, such
          more than one change of direction to defend a position,
          deliberate crowding of a car beyond the edge of the track or
          any other abnormal change of direction, are strictly prohibited.
          Any driver who appears guilty of any of the above

          1. Ha, nice one ap, well argued.

      3. I think it’s silly to blame either driver.

        It was the first time a Red Bull Car and a Lotus Car have raced for position – usually their only on track interaction is when the Red Bull’s are lapping the Lotus’ in which case the Lotus’ yield.

        As it was their first racing interaction Mark would not have been aware that Heikki needs to start braking in the Lotus 80m before the spot where the Red Bull needs to start braking. Similarly Heikki would not have been aware that the Red Bull is able to brake 80m later than the Lotus.

        So you have two drivers in an unfamiliar situation, in vastly different performing cars trying to race each other for the first time. It’s likely an accident is going to happen, and I don’t think it is anyone’s fault, even though Mark blames Heikki and Gascoyne on behalf of Heikki blames Mark.

        I also think that Heikki had every right to defend against Mark. It doesn’t matter that Mark was in the faster car. Due to the start and the early pit stop strategy Mark was at that point had done 9 laps slower than Heikki had. If you’re a competitor, which all drivers should be, you don’t let people pass, you try to beat them, even if you and everyone else knows it’s probably not going to happen, you at least try.

        I think if there is a positive to come out of this, it is that the cars and the tracks are a lot safer these days, kudos to the FIA for their research over the years into safety, to the teams for building safe cars, and to Tilke for designing a safe circuit. Without that runoff area before the tyre wall, and the safety cell in the car, Mark Webber would have probably been injured fairly seriously.

  3. Monetzemolo has said that slow back markers could be dangerous. Maybe there was some truth in that!

  4. Outsch! The Lotus brakes a little earlier…

    1. yeh, after watching the replay, it’s ridiculous how early he brakes. is the lotus’ brakes that bad? or was that his way of ‘defending’?

      as much as he has every right to defend (racing for position and all), seriously, what’s the point?

      i must say webber’s reaction was really quite fast, he changes direction straight away and jumps on the brakes very quickly but at over 300km/h, there’s only so much he can do.

      it’s just absolutely awesome how safe the cars are. and will webber be fined for jumping out so quickly? surely that triggered the ‘G-meter’…

  5. I am really insulted by the Australian commentators, they over cut the BBC for a fair period of time after the crash and constantly said how wrong Kovy was!

    Kovy had every right to be there, it was a racing incident and as DC said, it’s what will happen when the closing speeds are so high.

    Does anyone remember Hamilton weaving in Sepang in front of Petrov?
    How dare they attack Kovy when I remember them defending Hamilton. I’m Australian but unlike I do realise that they is more than one driver in F1.

    O god though, I was so happy when he threw the steering wheel out (Like Rubens)
    I thought he was dead for a second.

    1. Prisoner Monkeys
      27th June 2010, 14:50

      Now you know what I’m talking about when I complain about the Australians.

      1. damonsmedley
        27th June 2010, 15:00

        OneHD’s commentators are way to patriotic and opinionated. I see it as a 50/50 crash as to who is at fault.

        1. OneHD’s commentary team are a bunch of donkeys.

          Yeah they may have insight, racing experience and insider info but they are often too slow to report anything, always confused and like Mike said, way too patriotic towards Webber.

          Bring back Crompo. At least that guy has a clue.

        2. Webber was to hesitant when making the pass. I’d say it was more Webber’s fault then Heikki’s.

          BBC (and DC) were loving it when Glock re-overtook Schumacher and when Di Grassi was blocking Alonso in Monaco.

          Now suddenly Heikki doesn’t have the right to be racing when it’s for position?

          1. Prisoner Monkeys
            28th June 2010, 9:37

            Now suddenly Heikki doesn’t have the right to be racing when it’s for position?

            To hear the Australian commentators, no-one has the right to be racing when it’s for position with Mark Webber.

        3. Yeh they are clowns. I sit there thinking “can you please shut up and go back to the real commentators?”. Where the hell did they pull Baird from? NZ’s greatest “almost made it”?

          Re the accident I say racing incident. Scary looking crash and glad everyone is OK.

          1. Real commentators? Leggard is a disgrace.

          2. I much prefer the BBC team over the OneHD team

    2. i loved it though when darryl said: “why are they (lotus) posting on twitter? they should be spending their time working out why their more than 3 seconds off the pace” (or along those lines). haha

    3. Completely agree Mike. I was thinking the same thing (Australian too!)

  6. What does DC know about backing…Let me see Spa DC in front of Shumi … Oh! boy Shumi rear-ends DC and it sue looks like DC braked early.

    1. Yeah, but in Spa you could barely see your hand infront of your face due to spray, very different situations.

    2. Er, DC was recovering to the pits going slowly and MSC just ran into the back of him in the poor conditions (spray). No-one in F1 deliberately causes crashes with another driver – death or injury may well result. Nelson Piquet could have caused a tragedy even though he had his own (deliberate) accident.

  7. Racing incident in my opinion. I don’t blame anyone in particular, though I think Kovalainen may have brake a bit early which he shouldn’t have as it was a dangerous move, considering Webber was too close to him On the other hand, Webber should have been more careful considering that he was about to overtake a very slow car.

  8. To be fair, heikki wasn’t just a backmarker; he was racing for position.

    This wasn’t Heikki’s fault. He was defending adthere were no blue flags. It was a racing incident but Mark drove clean into the back of him.

    It can’t be that any slow car moves out of the way. They race in formula 1, the same league. What happens when at the front say a slow car gets a vibration and loses a few seconds a lap? Are they then allowed to defend or do they have to wave the second guy through? This is only an issue because it was a new team. It could have been any car in a different context. The FIA have seen how slow the cars are and it was deemed safe. There were no problems at harder tracks such as Monaco.

    I know DC will be shook up seeing his friend like that so I’m ignoring his immediate comments but if he continues to blame the new teams and expect them to just move over then I’ll lose a serious amount of respect for him. They were granted entry, this is racing.

  9. Haha at Coulthard and Jordan arguing about this on BBC2. I agree with Coulthard.

    1. Actually listening to it properly I agree with EJ much more. It was a racing incident, nothing more.

      1. It was no ones fault, just a racing incident. Eddie Jordan is an idiot, I don’t no what it is but he has somthing against Webber, everytime he is in an incident Eddie always blames him.

        Everyone calls to get rid of Legard, well I hope he takes EJ with him.

  10. I thought new circuits were meant to be super safe? Why have they made all the straights wiggle so it promotes weaving.

    We saw identical crashes in the GP2 and the F1. If the straights aren’t straight how are people meant to overtake.

    1. Webbers car did have a large way to fly before hitting anything. Just not got slowed down much after going in the air.

      1. It also shows the value of large tarmac run off areas – had the run off been gravel the Red Bull might have kept rolling…

  11. The incident happened in GP2 even though there isn’t a huge difference in speeds. Ambulance chasing Italian CEOs will blame this incident on slower cars, but it was Webber’s fault for following so close.

  12. damonsmedley
    27th June 2010, 15:16

    *that was supposed to be a “too”.

  13. A racing incident for me. Talking about Backmarkers here is nonsense. The Lotus was defending position, even if he braked pretty early as the car is not as good as Mark’s.

    If he would not have been allowed to race, then maybe Kobayashi should not have been allowed to defend from Button and certainly not to OVERTAKE the Ferrari of Alonso in those last laps. How would the fans like that, (apart from Montezemelo, we know what he makes of that).

    This is racing, the guy in front defends his position. Thank god the cars are as good as they are and Mark got out without any major health issues.

  14. Regarding the incident, i personally dont think its heikki fault at all. Although it is a fact that lotus is a slower car than the Bulls, he is lapping in the same lap as MW, which means he is fully authorized to defend his position and he should be doing so, if not, isnt it asking him to give up any possible chance to score points for the hardworking lotus team?

    I feel that MW is a bit insensible and he seems to be fond of other people’s car diffusers.. probably those diffusers “suck” him and the RB6s into it. Rmbr he did sometime similar to Hamilton in Aussie, and almost took LH out as well?

    I think the stewards should take a look at such incidents because it is happening too frequently to him.. prob FIA shld send him n the “hooning” hamilton for driving lessons..

  15. Firstly, what a testament to the strength of modern F1 cars; well done to the FIA and Red Bull.

    I absolutely think Heikki should have defended his place; his positioning was perfect to force Mark either to choose left or right. It was classic defending, no dodgy cutting in on the apex or weaving about on the straight. For me, Webber was a bit hesitant (perhaps wondering if he was lapping or passing)and then – crucially – failed to allow for the Lotus having a longer braking zone than his Red Bull. A compounded mistake, pure and simple.

    In my admittedly armchair-bound opinion, there’s no need for this ridiculous vibe we got from the BBC that some how a slow car should immediately jump out of the way of someone who is faster. If that’s the case, we may as well taking the result of qualifying as the result of the race.

  16. Webber’s fault but why was Hekki defending the position. It was only a matter of time before the Red Bull would of passed him and all defending would of cost him more time then just letting Webber pass.

  17. Kovi ‘could’ have just yielded but of course there should be no expectation of that so it has no bearing on the crash at all.

    At the end of the day Mark should have been aware that the Lotus would break earlier and, if he is that much faster, why did he need to be slipstreaming him so closely?

    Webber caused it and could have avoided it.

  18. What are you guys on? Its obvious that MW was approaching HK at a reasonable speed and was prepared to slipstream HK around the corner or MAYBE pull out and pass him under braking when HK braked suddenly for no apparent reason. MW’s incar camera showed MW steadily gaining on HK when all of a sudden the distance between them disappeared – nowhere for MW to go and HK was nowhere near the corner yet. You Webber bashers above……get real!

  19. Webber never would have made the pass. He had a run, but was too late to make it before the corner. I also think Mark was too involved trying to get around Heiki and misjudged the distance to the corner.

    To bad the race isn’t on in the states until 2pm.

  20. Mike "the bike" Schumacher
    27th June 2010, 16:27

    Strange, a couple of weeks ago some people wanted to get rid of blue flags, and now backmarkers shouldn’t defend their positions.

    1. I never thought I would hear anyone complaining about the back markers in F1. What about Schumacher? He was one today ha ha. Remember who gave Webber his F1 start – Paul Stoddart, and Mark regularly ran around at the back in the Minardi at least 4 secs off the leaders even back then. Webber has been in a strange mood all weekend. I think he is very frustrated – for example, he was the only driver NOT to congratulate Vettel on his pole. I think the team favours Vettel (pit wall hugs) and this pressure is beginning to show, but the incident was really down to Webber being far too agressive.

      I do believe Eddie is right – if they’ve paid their millions and got a car on the grid – they should race!

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