It was a mistake to blame Webber, says Horner

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner has taken back the blame he attached to Mark Webber for the notorious Turkish Grand Prix incident that occurred between Webber and Sebastian Vettel.

Horner implied after the accident that Webber should have given Vettel more room, and that Vettel as the faster of the two should have gone through. This was incredible stuff to millions of fans and quite a few pundits, who believed that the blame for the crash was wholly Vettel’s.

But today Horner told the BBC that to attach blame to Webber was an error.

“I think it was a mistake – if blame was adjudged to have been placed on Mark – because I think it was a racing incident,” said Horner. “Certainly the view that I took was that the drivers should have given each other more room, that they should as team-mates have more respect for each other.”

Horner also alluded to comments made by team adviser Helmut Marko, who also blamed the Australian immediately after the race.

“The problem is in the heat of the moment immediately after the event, a couple of opinions were made without sight of all of the facts, and that’s subsequently been dealt with. It’s wrong for us as a team to apportion blame. We back both drivers equally. I think they both got themselves into a situation which was arguably a bit over the limit.

“The result was that both of them found themselves in a situation that they didn’t really want to be in, the result was contact and a big loss of points and a gift of points to our rivals.”

Horner has yet to concede that he instructed Mark Webber’s race engineer Ciaran Pilbeam to tell his driver to let Vettel pass him, a message that Pilbeam refused to give to Webber, though it has been reported that that was the case. More controversy has emerged in recent days, specifically concerning why Vettel’s engine settings were higher than Webber’s at that period of the race. But Horner was not to be drawn.

He also did not refer to the post-race spat in which himself and Marko are said to have confronted Webber and Pilbeam.

But the Englishman did clarify that in future, Red Bull drivers would be allowed to race each other free of any pitwall instruction, as long as they did not endanger the team’s result.

“We won’t be instructing one driver or another to concede or overtake, it’s down to what they do on the circuit,” Horner stated. “I think both drivers have learnt a great deal from the events in Istanbul. They will be racing each other quite possibly this weekend in Montreal.

“The most important thing as team-mates is that they respect the fact that they drive for the team, which I believe they do, and if they find themselves in that situation again, that they don’t push each other quite so hard.”