Mark Webber, Red Bull, Montreal. 2012

Webber refutes “illegal car” claims

2012 Canadian Grand PrixPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Mark Webber, Red Bull, Montreal. 2012Mark Webber strongly rebuffed claims he and team mate Sebastian Vettel won races with an “illegal” car.

Since Webber’s win in the Monaco Grand Prix the FIA has declared the hole in its floor in front of the rear wheels does not comply with the rules. Vettel won the Bahrain Grand Prix with the car in the same configuration.

Speaking during today’s Canadian Grand Prix press conference at Webber said: “In relation to winning races with an illegal car, I’m happy to be called lots of things and I’m happy to have criticism about my driving and lots of stuff but I will not take criticism in that respect.

“It really pisses me off to be honest because the car has passed every single technical regulation after the race.

“All of the teams that were against it did not make any protest after Monaco. The car passed the test after Bahrain, the car passed the test after Monaco, and now there has been a clarification on the rule.

“And the rule now is different. We had a car which was legal for the first part of the season. And now the rule has been changed and we’ll start again. So I’m looking forward to it.”

Webber added the team was already planning to remove the hole regardless of the FIA ruling after Canada in Valencia:

“I would not know if the floor is changed or unchanged. So we’re very optimistic the change won’t make much difference at all.

“You won’t believe us but we had some changes for Valencia anyway which included no hole, irrespective of the rule change, so that’s what we were doing.”

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52 comments on “Webber refutes “illegal car” claims”

  1. That’s my boy. Cop that!

    1. He certainly has a knack for saying it how it is. Good on him.

      1. xeroxpt (@)
        7th June 2012, 19:14

        We need more people like him, media tries to strke silently what does Mark do openly denies their claims. C’mon we know the reason why other teams are keeping their silence aswell.

    2. He’s fortunate enough to keep the win, so just take it and run. It’s not as if the media or a few fans who believe otherwise can do anything! But seriously, the man just needs to shut up, quit whining and concentrate on his driving. He’d be better focusing on trying not getting flogged by Vettel this season. (And this is coming from a Webber fan.)

      1. @Theo1 I’m mystified by people who describe comments such as those made by Webber as “whining”. Here’s the question he was asked –

        “Q: (Paolo Ianieri – Gazzetta dello Sport) Mark, the FIA has declared illegal the pierced floor that Red Bull has been using in the last few races. Will it be a disadvantage for you in the coming races, and what do you say when people say that you and Sebastian won races using an illegal car? ”

        How else should he have answered? Get a dictionary and look up the definition of whining.

        1. Couldn’t agree more @PaulT. So many people confuse telling it as it is / giving a direct answer to a question as whining or complaining.

  2. Usually Mark speaks his mind and if he is ******, so do we all Red Bull fans. cause that’s the way Alonso won a championship with the illegal “mass damper” (well, illegal after complains) and he wasn’t taken the poiints out. And what about Button and the double diffuser? F1 is about drivers but also about clever engineers loking for loopholes or grey areas in the rules. I don’t know why every time there’s a team with a clever idea the rest moan like crybabies. Man up teams and start working on own skills and gadgets instead of boycotting others with “clarifications”

    1. This comment is amazing. Ladies and gentlemen, I think we have found an actual Red Bull fan.

      1. @WillP – I’m a Red Bull fan too! Couldn’t agree more with @omarr-pepper ‘s comment; I believe that innovation is the most important thing in F1 – without it F1 would be no different to GP2. If any team comes up with an innovative idea I admire it’s genius, not complain about it. Sadly, these days money appears to be the most important factor, I miss the days of Colin Chapman having to borrow tools from other teams, Lotus being a laughing stock and then going on to enihalate the competition during the race.

      2. I thought there was two Red Bull fans, Webber fans, who hate Red Bull and Vettel fans, who like / support Red Bull.

        1. @infi24r I’m a bit of a Vettel fan, but no Red Bull fan.

    2. xeroxpt (@)
      7th June 2012, 19:17

      and mclaren, exploring the faulty safety car rule in 08, they were just smarter than anybody, and the blown exhaust and the very old active suspension another thing that become ilegal after complaints. Its just another typical F1 situation it’s fair and square.

  3. Just one thing: he’s absolutely right.

  4. Ah, Webber. You can always count on him for some good headline quotes! Off course he is right, the car was legal. And the hole being changed to a hole with a cut in it to the side of the floor will not be noticeable to anyone but the guys carefully watching the sensors.

    After Marko was quoted as saying the hole was no on the floor for Canada, I suspect it adds a little bit drag and they are looking at more efficient ways to get the flow over that area.

    1. Yes I agree fully with that @bascb. Still, adding the “noone protested” is not the best defence as it seems the teams only didn’t do that in the end bc. they were promised that clarification and didn’t want to look sour losers.

      After Marko going into this issue (not unexpected, he’s a bit like the Horse Whisperer with that, but less funny) now Mark, it does seem RBR are a teensy bit bad losers themselves on this though.

      I’ll forgive them as it must indeed be annoying to get questions asking if they were happy to win by cheating while it was the FIA who failed to keep to the rules by allowing the RBR interpretation to stand for three races, not RBR.

      1. No one protested it in Bahrain, no one protested it in Spain and no one protested it in Monaco. And the reason why no one protested because it was legal and it passed every scrutineering after the race in all 3 of those races. Get your facts straight before calling cheats

        1. @ridiculous – what you write about does not have much to do with what @bosyber writes about Red Bull seeming annoyed about the hole having become illegal quite a bit more than it would have been the case had this really been a minor issue for them. Nothing about what is illegal and when in that statement.

        2. Thanks @bascb. @ridiculous, that’s true, no one protested, and that’s what Webber said too, and I agree, and I didn’t call RBR cheats.

          RBR got permission from the FIA to run that hole, so it was all legal and okay from their perspective, hence them being annoyed at this mess is quite understandable.

          But I dare say the other teams are annoyed too at the FIA letting this drag on and become big too. Because they did have issues with the holes, and for good reason. They just didn’t think it had to be a big issue, hence no protest. The clarification shows they were right: it shouldn’t have been declared legal in the first place.

          But this isn’t a fault of RBR, but of the FIA process. The FIA made it worse by not looking at the matter again when, teams questioned those holes (at the latest Mercedes in Spain). By not doing that, they instead forcing teams to threaten to make a mess and protest the results as happened in Monaco. And then they finally did what they seemingly should have done straight away: decline to accept RBR’s interpretation.

          Had FIA just told RBR that it was an overly clever interpretation, they likely would have found other ways to make a hole that would remain legal even now, as they will undoubtedly do in future races. It would be a bit like the quickly stopped Renault ride height device that was stopped before the season got under way.

    2. @bascb it actually would clean up a bit of drag and help the diffuser… not add drag.

      1. Hm, yeah, when I think about its function, it should indeed take away drag while helping the diffusor @raymondu999, makes me a bit curious then why they would not plan to use it in Canada and Valencia.

  5. I love how he’s so frank. I wish every driver would just tell it how they see things

    1. A true blue. We don’t have time to beat about the bush….

  6. lol I just saw Mark in the backseat of an Infinity FX45 about1 ago when I went to pick up my tickets.

    Sorry didn’t get a picture.

  7. …and of course, he is exactly right. You can understand his frustration about people banging in about how it was ‘illegal’ when it passed all scrutineering. Undermining the teams well deserved wins.

    I am actually incredibly surprised this caused so much uproar. It was admittedly a failure by the FIA to act promptly, but the car itself was never declared illegal. It’s fairly simple from my perspective.

    The rules have been clarified and Red Bull have once again conformed. No doubt after the Grand Prix there will be a new issue for everyone to debate, ’tis the nature of F1.

  8. If it’s one thing I love about Mark Webber it’s that he absolutely never takes any ******** what so ever.

    1. Jack Flash (Aust)
      8th June 2012, 12:27

      Too **** right mate. That’s how we roll in Oz.
      Take no ****. Take no prisoners.

  9. It really ****** me off to be honest because the car has passed every single technical regulation after the race.

    As blunt as a rolling pin, I seem to be liking MW more than I used to. If the car was deemed legal when it raced, then they won with a legal car. EBDs are illegal now, but that doesn’t mean RBR won 12 races with an illegal car, nor doens it mean Brawn won 8 races with an illegal car because of the DDD.

  10. It really ****** me off to be honest because the car has passed every single technical regulation after the race.

    As blunt as a rolling pin, I seem to be liking MW more than I used to. If the car was deemed legal when it raced, then they won with a legal car. EBDs are illegal nbow, but that doesn’t mean RBR won 12 races with an illegal car, nor doens it mean Brawn won 8 races with an illegal car because of the DDD.

    1. The finger is gone! You are looking forward to a Schumacher victory this weekend, @david-a?

      1. @adrianmorse Either hoping for Vettel to take number 23 or Schumacher to get number 92. ;) Schumacher could be a dark horse for this one, given that he almost got a podium last year.

        1. @david-a and 92, of course, is exactly 4 times 23. :P

          I’ll get my coat

          1. And 9-2 (from 92) equals 7, which is the number on Schmacher’s car, it’s the 7th race of the season and he would be the 7th different winner of a race he has won 7 times to date :)

          2. Seventh different winner this season of course… not the seventh different winner of the Canadian GP!

  11. The car passed through scruniteering before the races so that should be that, the FIA cannot punish Red Bull when they themselves failed to register any illegal parts on the car. This situation reminds me of Australia last year where the Sauber cars were declared legal by the scrutineer before the race and then declared illegal after the race, madness.

  12. Quite simply, the car was legal when it was raced in Bahrain, Spain & Monaco. Now, with the holes deemed illegal, it will no longer be and changes will have to be made. I believe this situation is rather negative for F1’s image and also rather boring; the FIA is the referee, and you don’t argue with the referee (it just so happens that the referre is correct on this occasion).
    I really don’t understand how so many people can complain so much about such a minor performance advantage gain by Red Bull, although maybe that is just a common thread these days; they are a controversial team and many have complained about their innovations in the past (normally to no evail) quite simply because they are the fastest: it is jealousy.

  13. Strange how things work in life. I really like these comments, but for some reason Webber’s not in my favourite drivers selection.

    Well, to be honest, it’s not just some reason… It’s a reason I know and it still intrigues me that it can work also with people you don’t know: it’s chemical. I don’t feel chemistry with Webber, although I like his comments.

    But acknowledging this hopefully helps me gain results in the Predictions Championship and enhance my race experience: I will choose the drivers who are in my ‘non-chemistry list’. You could also say that for some reason my chemistry is with a lot of loosers, but that’s not entirely the case.

    1. @verstappen,

      it’s chemical.

      Chemistry indeed. I’ve always admired Sebastian Vettel for his driving (including his racing – I’ve never bought into this Vettel-can’t-overtake myth), and op top of that he’s funny and grounded, but I’ve never really rooted for him, except maybe when he won the 2010 championship rather than Alonso.

      Similarly, it may not be entirely logical for me to root for Hamilton. The celebrity lifestyle, the faux pas on and off the track last year, it’s not really me. Comparing personalities, Button’s seems to be closer to mine than Hamilton’s, but it’s not Jenson I hope will win the Canadian Grand Prix this Sunday.

    2. Well analysed, and you’re right. I grudgingly admire Schumacher as a driver but he’s definitely not on my favorites list. I just don’t like what he says and how he says it.

      I suspect it also has to do in part with nationality and culture. Webber is the quintessential Australian – says what he thinks without too much regard for the politics of the situation. It is indeed chemistry (with a dash of perception).

  14. I thought the FIA hadn’t changed any rules they had only clarified them.

    The FIA made a mistake by passing the car after the races.

    1. Nope, clarifying the rules is the same as changing them, if there was a loophole due to ambigious wording then that means its legal, what the FIA have done is clarify which means reword thus removing the ambiguity that created the loophole. Therefore it was legal before its not now, quite simply really.

      1. I didn’t see the situation from a legal wording type point of view. I thought the rules would be classed as changed if they were actually changed in the rule book, which I didn’t think was the case.

        I thought clarifying the rule was a case of the FIA telling Red Bull you thought the rule let you do this and you managed to convince the stewards it did but after looking at it more closely it doesn’t, so you have to change the car.

        1. Correct. The wording has not changed the rule has not changed.

          The rule said the floor had to be impervious, thus – Not allowing something to pass through; not penetrable.

          Red Bull decided there was a loop hole as the rule does not state what it had to be impervious to, thus made some holes that were impervious to something, perhaps they argued the floor was impervious to a brick. Every other team took it to mean anything eg no holes.

          The rules have not been changed. They have just clarified what the floor has to be impervious to (anything) and have dismissed Red Bulls ( I have to say ridiculous) interpretation.

  15. Spot on Webbahhh. He’s right though. If you go moving the goal post then you could probably find every team guilty of some breach at some point during the season.

    The argument of course is about clarification. Don’t make Red Bull, or any other team, the scapegoat for what has been a rather shoddy decision making process. Deliberate it over a matter of days, not weeks.

  16. I’m not sure here, but I thought a clarification means that the rules were oblique to a point that they needed further explanation- if so, Marks statement is at best disingenuous.
    Had a few teams done the same, then possibly, there may be a case to say that the regulations were too ambiguous, but the fact that everyone else who tried that solution also knew they had to add a slot to comply makes me believe that Adrian has pushed it as far as he can, and got caught out.

    The FIA statement points this out
    “It has been argued that, as it is not explicitly stated that fully enclosed holes cannot be located in a surface lying on the step plane rearward of a line 450mm forward of the rear face of the cockpit template, then they may be located in such areas,” the FIA directive declared.

    “We disagree with this view and consider it implicit that fully enclosed holes may not be located there.

    “If they were permitted the opening part of the second paragraph of Article 3.12.5 (which was added to the regulations at the same time as Articles 3.12.9 and 3.12.10 for 2011) would be superfluous.”

    It’s almost like they are getting the willfull idiot Louis Theroux to interpret the rules.

    Louis- It doesn’t say no guns on the front of the car, errrrm, why do you think that is?

    RBR- Well, if there not EXPRESSLY forbidden…..

    The mass damper was a whole different kettle of fish- during the FIAt ferrari pact for total domination.

    1. The mass damper was a whole different kettle of fish- during the FIAt ferrari pact for total domination.

      Actually, the FIA have a habit of changing rules or banning most innovations, regardless of who benefits.

  17. I watched this just before- Mark talks about the car here (in his “international” accent) if anyone’s interested:

    1. Thanks for the link @stretch! Also liked the way Button managed to answer that one about what JV said in a civilized way!
      The helmet question was nice as well.

      1. No problems @bascb! Yeah, pretty funny when Buttons like “but it’s quite normal for you to pick out that sentence”. That guy must do it all the time unless it was just a media generalisation.

  18. It’s great that Mark defended his hole, the scrutineers saw his hole and allowed his hole to be what it is…a hole. Now if Red Bull found a loop hole and created this hole and the hole was deemed legal by the powers that be, I say let the hole do its job and that is being a hole. I’m guessing Finger Boy also had a hole but no one, on the whole is talking about the Vettel hole, if he has a hole he definitely has a finger to plug the above-mentioned hole. Let’s move on from the holes and if anyone else needs a hole ask F1 if their hole is ok before creating a hole. Wholly **** I’m so over holes.

  19. Gerry de C
    8th June 2012, 7:07

    Ok Ok, grant you the car was deemed ‘LEGAL’ by the FIA for the preceeding races. However, thank God they have owned up now, early in the season and declared the ‘holes’ to be ‘ILLEGAL’ otherwise Red Bull would be romping ahead for the rest of the season with an ‘unfair’ advantage. I’ts amazing that the other constructors didn’t continue to make a fuss!. After all they were correct in their assumptions!!

  20. It’s not quite as cut and dry as Mark is making out here. The rules haven’t changed, simply that the FIA has issued a clarification to say that what Red Bull were doing was wrong. Effectively, Red Bull were using a tricksy interpretation of the rules to create what was in effect an enclosed hole in a part of the car where the rules say there shouldn’t be one. This interpretation was apparently accepted by the FIA, and not simply unnoticed – it has been mentioned several times that the FIA were aware of the interpretation which seemingly allowed this. It also seems that when other teams tried to do the same thing, they were told no. Hence why the likes of Sauber and Ferrari are using slots rather than holes.

    Now, Mark is right in one sense. Red Bull didn’t win races because they had an illegal car. The performance difference between using a fully enclosed hole, and using a slot, is so tiny that it almost can’t be measured. Their performance in those races did not come from this hole, and they wouldn’t likely have gone any slower without it. However, despite it not giving a significant performance advantage, there is still a good reason to protest, and ensure that the interpretation is denied; specifically because if that interpretation can be applied to that part of the car, then it could equally be applied to other places, such as other areas of the floor. If that loophole were allowed, then there could be the potential to open up areas allowing for something similar to a double diffusor again. That, obviously, can’t be allowed, and I wonder if this was more a case of Red Bull ‘testing the water’ to see if their interpretation would be accepted.

    From a competitive perspective, of course, to protest their victories would be churlish and petty, and only damage the reputation of the team protesting. But to say that the car was legal, and that the rules were changed to make it illegal, is not true. And this is where it gets a bit messy, because potentially, even though the eligibility to be classified in individual races can’t be disputed as such, other teams do still have the ability to appeal the legality of the cars for those events. And they’d probably have a fair chance of succeeding. Hopefully nobody will, but I don’t think this is the last we’ll hear of ‘holegate’.

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