19 November 2012
Reliability worries RBR ahead of title showdown
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner acknowledges that Mark Webber's DNF in the USGP is a concern with team-mate Sebastian Vettel still battling for the drivers' title.
Red Bull Racing was celebrating a rare hat-trick of F1 constructors' title after the United States Grand Prix, but admitted that continuing reliability problems are casting an air of apprehension over its bid for another championship double.
While Sebastian Vettel's second place, behind Lewis Hamilton, was enough to secure the teams' crown with one round remaining, Mark Webber's retirement from third on the road caused concern within the camp with the German still involved in a scrap for the individual title.
“Securing the constructors' championship today is a massive achievement for the Red Bull Racing-Renault partnership - it's our third title in six years, and the first time since 2004 that a team has won three consecutive titles,” Renault's Cyril Dumont noted, “However, the run to the title wasn't completely trouble-free. We had an engine-related DNF on Mark's car, but we are managing the situation with Red Bull as, of course, we still have a drivers' championship to win. We will keep pushing for Brazil.”
Having been told that he had lost KERS with just 15 laps of the Austin race under his belt, Webber slowed terminally as more and more systems failed, and team principal Christian Horner later confirmed the squad's biggest fears, given the fault that had sidelined Vettel in both Valencia and Monza.
"It looks like an alternator, that's what the data suggests at the moment,” he admitted after the race, "It's just a worry full-stop. Unfortunately, it's the third alternator [failure] that we've had and, obviously, there's been other failures in other cars. We need to get [the engine] back. I think the new version [of the alternator] is on other engine cycles and, hopefully, that's what we'll have for Brazil."
Having been informed of his team-mate's plight, Vettel acknowledged that the failure was 'not good news', but insisted that his focus was solely on doing the job he needs to do to protect a 13-point advantage over Fernando Alonso in Sunday's Interlagos finale.
“I don't know what happened to [Webber], so it's hard to comment but, in case it was the alternator, it's not good news,” the German conceded, “However, I think we've managed the last couple of races pretty well, so I'm sure it should be easy to explain, to find the problem.
“After Monza, I think we learned the lesson and we should be prepared enough for next week. It was a shame for Mark not to finish today, but we showed we had the pace [to win here] and now it's full steam ahead to the next race.”
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