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Newey: Our driver policy was the catalyst for Ferrari's error

Adrian Newey contends that Ferrari's fatally-flawed strategy in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix finale that cost Fernando Alonso the F1 2010 drivers' crown was prompted by Red Bull Racing's insistence upon allowing its own drivers to compete
Red Bull Racing chief technical officer Adrian Newey has pointed to the energy drinks-backed outfit's policy of not backing one of its two drivers over the other during F1 2010 as the key factor in Ferrari's scrambled strategy that ultimately cost Fernando Alonso glory in Abu Dhabi last weekend.

On paper, Alonso should have walked it. Eight points ahead of Mark Webber arriving at Yas Marina for the season finale and 15 clear of Sebastian Vettel, had the trio taken the chequered flag in the same order as that in which they qualified, the Spaniard would have been crowned for a third time.

With Vettel dominating proceedings from the front, Alonso just needed to stay exactly where he was – fourth – to lift the laurels, but in paying too much attention to the pursuing Mark Webber and covering the Australian's early pit-stop with one for the Oviedo native too, Ferrari committed the fatal error of not taking into account their driver's position in the race relative to the other Red Bull driver.

Alonso might have successfully staved off Webber's bid to leapfrog him in the standings by pitting early, but in so doing he and Ferrari left themselves at the mercy of even earlier stoppers Nico Rosberg and Vitaly Petrov, with the latter going on to frustrate the double F1 World Champion's efforts all the way to the chequered flag. In focussing too much upon one RBR rival, they let the other one in.

For all the pre-race talk of Webber needing to rely upon his team-mate's support to clinch the trophy, in the circumstances it was he who indirectly secured Vettel the title, by taking Ferrari's eye off the ball in terms of who they should be paying attention to.

And that, contend both Newey and Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner, could not have happened had they done what many believed they ought to have done in Brazil and switched the order around at Interlagos to place all of their eggs in Webber's basket.

“Obviously, with hindsight they made a mistake,” Newey reflected of Ferrari's calamitously misguided strategy. “If they'd stayed out, Fernando would probably have finished fourth – but at that stage it wasn't clear.

“It depended on whether they wanted to cover Mark for the championship or Sebastian for the championship – that's where our policy of allowing the drivers to compete got us into the position where they had to worry about two of our drivers and not just one.”

“It didn't work out for them,” concurred Horner. “They probably tried to cover us with what we were doing with Mark. Mark was at the back of the queue – we had to take a risk. He said the tyres were starting to go. We just went for it and took an early stop.”




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f1 fan - Unregistered

November 16, 2010 2:39 PM

What they mean is Ferrari fell into our trap we used webber as a sacrificial lamb and it worked perfectly but of course we don't operate team orders in red bull.. here Sebastian would you like marks front wing seeing as you damaged yours yourself. oh and mark how dare you not jump out of the way in turkey when Sebastian is trying to overtake you... red bull might not come on the radio saying Sebastian is quicker than you but everything else they do is geared towards vettel ( and its not vettels fault he is a deserving champion.... its the hypocrisy that annoys me yes ferrari handled germany badly but they had to do it massa had no chance of the title he had been of the pace up to that race and hasnt been on it since



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