Webber in fuel-save mode before crash

Mark Webber had to turn his engine down on the lap that Sebastian Vettel tried to pull a move on him for the lead, Red Bull Racing has confirmed, but the team insists that was still no excuse for its drivers colliding

Webber in fuel-save mode before crash

Mystery surrounded the exact circumstances of what happened on lap 40, when Vettel closed in on Webber and drafted past him on the back straight before they crashed into each other.

Suspicions that all was not straightforward surfaced immediately after the race when Webber told journalists in the post-race press conference that they should 'dig more' to find out what had really happened.

Although the team initially believed that both its drivers were running exactly the same engine settings during their battle for the lead, the post-race debrief on Sunday night revealed that Webber had needed to save fuel and turn his engine down on lap 40 - while Vettel was still able to run at full power.

Even though such an order may not have come directly from the pits via the radio, a readout on Webber's dashboard would probably have told him that he needed to begin conserving fuel.

Vettel had been able to save fuel when running behind other cars early on, and he had enough extra petrol on board to be able to run one more lap at full power before he too would have had to turn his engine down.

That meant his only realistic chance of getting past Webber was on lap 40, when he would have enjoyed a brief car advantage over his team-mate.

Speaking in the Istanbul paddock on Sunday night, team principal Christian Horner said that he was finally aware of what had happened in the race.

"We now have all the facts," he said. "Mark had changed down into a fuel saving mode that cost him a little bit of performance on the straights, which also explains how Sebastian got a very clear run on him.

"The large mistake remains that not enough room was given, and the explanation is there on how Sebastian had managed to get into the tow. He had managed to save an extra kilogramme of fuel - as both cars start the race with the same amount of fuel.

"Effectively he had one more lap of the optimum engine mode, but we couldn't back him off because he was under pressure from Lewis Hamilton behind."

He added: "The frustrating thing is we have given away 28 points today and it should have been a 1-2. Both drivers have also lost points. From a team point of view it doesn't matter which way around they are, but the priority is to finish 1-2 and that is exactly what we should have done today."

Horner did not feel either driver was any more responsible than the other for the crash - but said that he was disappointed they had not given each other enough room.

"I think Mark put Sebastian on the dirty side, gave him just enough room and Sebastian came across obviously quite aggressively - but he was quite a long way down the side.

"So, it was very, very frustrating. We saw the McLarens racing each other and giving themselves a bit more room, we've seen drivers racing each other previously in Malaysia - which springs to mind as a recent race and they are usually very, very good at giving each other room. Today, for whatever reason, that didn't happen."

Horner was confident, however, that there would be no lingering hard-feeling between the drivers over the crash - and that Red Bull Racing would be able to shift its focus on to winning the next race on the calendar in Canada.

"Absolutely. This will be dealt with before we go to Canada. I've spoken to both drivers. They are both grown ups, they are both big boys, they are both competitors, and the most important thing is that we have given away a load of points today. It must not happen again. They must learn from it.

"It is right to let the drivers race. We saw McLaren today letting their drivers race, but when drivers are in the same team it is important that they give each other a bit more respect and concede if one has got a run on the other."

Horner also denied suggestions that the Turkish Grand Prix provided any evidence that Red Bull Racing favoured Vettel over Webber.

"Both our drivers are treated absolutely equally," he said. "They both have the same equipment, they both have the same opportunity. That is a policy we operate and that is the way that the team is - he managed to save a bit more fuel because he was in a slipstream for some of the race and he took advantage of that - as is his right to do.

"He [Vettel] was under a lot of pressure from Hamilton behind, which got him into a position to pass Mark. Our priority at that stage is that we want to win the race. Even if the cars wanted to change position we were still first and second, and it is still 43 points for the team and both drivers were pulling away from McLaren in the championship."

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