Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner – a man so often accused of not supporting his driver Mark Webber – has hit back at suggestions from former grand prix-winner Gerhard Berger that the Australian intentionally tried to take another driver out with him when he crashed in Sunday's inaugural Korean Grand Prix.
Having entered the Korean weekend sitting 14 points clear of any of his adversaries atop the F1 2010 World Championship standings, Webber was looking in good shape in second place behind Red Bull team-mate Sebastian Vettel when he lost control of his RB6 on a slippery kerb on only the second racing lap, thereby becoming the first victim of the grand prix's perilously treacherous conditions.
After swiping the wall, the 34-year-old's Renault-powered RB6 then careered back across the track again, where it collided with the luckless Nico Rosberg, who even aimed his Mercedes Grand Prix over the wet grass in a vain bid to avoid contact.
The extraordinary contention of ex-Scuderia Toro Rosso co-owner Berger was that the move had been deliberate, in a mis-timed attempt to collect either the following Fernando Alonso or Lewis Hamilton, both of whom Webber is fighting for the title [see separate story – click here
]. A taken aback Horner rather begs to differ...
“As with every incident in F1, opinions will always be made without all the facts,” the Englishman told Telegraph Sport
. “Just to be absolutely clear, Mark's intention was not
to take out another driver after his crash in the Korean Grand Prix, and it's ridiculous to suggest otherwise.
“After Mark's impact with the wall, it was clear on the TV and from the data that his car was badly-damaged. However, the natural and immediate instinct of any competitive driver is not to give up and to keep going.
“In the atrocious conditions, Mark made the snap decision to continue as every driver would in that situation – it's absurd to suggest that Mark would ever deliberately take out another driver. Mark accepted immediate blame for this incident, which in itself deserves credit.”