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Horner: Wrong to blame Heikki for Webber shunt

Red Bull boss Christian Horner has admitted that it would be wrong to blame Lotus' Heikki Kovalainen for Mark Webber's European GP shunt.
The debate over Mark Webber's accident in the European Grand Prix rumbled on into the opening day of round ten at Silverstone, with respective Lotus and Red Bull team bosses Tony Fernandes and Christian Horner revisiting the circumstances during Friday's FIA press conference.

While initial discussion in Valencia centred on whether Heikki Kovalainen should have been racing Webber's clearly faster car, even though he was ahead of the Australian, reflection has centred on the point at which the Finn braked for the upcoming corner, and the closing speed between cars from teams with vastly differing experience.

Insisting that the incident had had no effect on his relationship with Horner, Fernandes continued to defend his driver for not moving over and allowing Webber through.

"We were perfectly happy with what Heikki did," the Malaysian maintained, "He was racing, he braked at the right place - the telemetry said so. That's just racing. [Heikki] wasn't in any position of being lapped, he was racing. Mark came out of the pits and Heikki was ahead of him and he was racing for his position. There was no dithering at all, he kept his line, he was straight on his line and, according to our telemetry, he braked exactly at the right place, so we hold him at no responsibility at all."

Horner, meanwhile, admitted that Webber had probably been caught out by the fact that he had not previously had to race the slower cars without the aid of blue flags, and was simply caught out by the rate at which he caught the Lotus, a situation compounded by Kovalainen's earlier braking point.

"I spoke with Heikki this morning and I said to him that it might be a good idea to fit some brake lights, because the braking point was what took Mark completely by surprise more than anything," the Red Bull boss joked, "At that point in the race, Mark knew that he needed to pass Heikki quickly and he was tight in his slipstream. Heikki was in the middle of the circuit and I think it was not having followed cars in that proximity, where previously we've only ever lapped them, it just took Mark completely by surprise how early Heikki braked.

"There's obviously a performance difference between the cars. Yes, Heikki was in the middle of the circuit, but the closing speed was… at that point, Mark was doing just over 300kph and the resulting impact was quite horrific.

"At that point of time, all you can really think about is your driver's safety. Both drivers ended up having reasonably-sized accidents, Mark's being the far more spectacular. We were just relieved to see him get out of the car unaided and without injury, and it's testimony to the regulations, to the design of the car, to the strength of the car, that he's managed to be sitting in a grand prix car this weekend.

"I think it's wrong to place fault at Heikki. Mark was in a situation where he knew he had to pass and I think that the closing speed at that point was just so phenomenal, it just took him completely by surprise. It was one of those things, but there's no point of Tony and I getting excited about it, just relief that certainly our driver was okay."



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
18.02.2010 Jerez, Spain, Tony Fernandes, Lotus F1 Team, Team Principal - Formula 1 Testing, Jerez, Spain
Race, Mark Webber (AUS), Red Bull Racing, RB6
Friday Practice 1, Heikki Kovalainen (FIN), Lotus Racing, T127 and Christian Horner (GBR), Red Bull Racing, Sporting Director
27.11.2016 - Race, Start of the race, Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB12 and Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H and Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
27.11.2016 - Race, Max Verstappen (NED) Red Bull Racing RB12
27.11.2016 - Race, Max Verstappen (NED) Red Bull Racing RB12 leads Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid
27.11.2016 - Race,Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H  leads Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB12
27.11.2016 - Race, Felipe Nasr (BRA) Sauber C34 and Max Verstappen (NED) Red Bull Racing RB12
27.11.2016 - Race, Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB12 leads Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
27.11.2016 - Race, Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB12
27.11.2016 - Race, Start of the race, Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren Honda MP4-31 off trach and Max Verstappen (NED) Red Bull Racing RB12 spins
27.11.2016 - Race, Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB12 and Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
27.11.2016 - Race, Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB12 and Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
27.11.2016 - Race, Max Verstappen (NED) Red Bull Racing RB12
27.11.2016 - Race, Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB12 leads Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
27.11.2016 - Race, Max Verstappen (NED) Red Bull Racing RB12
27.11.2016 - Race, Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB12
27.11.2016 - Race, Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Max Verstappen (NED) Red Bull Racing RB12

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