Webber handed grid penalty for Vergne collision

2013 Chinese Grand Prix

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Mark Webber has been given a three-place penalty for his collision with Jean-Eric Vergne during the Chinese Grand Prix.

According to the stewards: “The driver of car two [Webber] admitted that he attempted to overtake car eighteen [Vergne] because he believed car eighteen would give him sufficient room.”

“Car eighteen maintained its normal line through the corner and car two was unable to avoid the collision. The driver of car two admitted it was his mistake.”

Vergne said: “I think Mark could not have got through from where he tried and I’m not even sure if he was trying to pass me.”

“Certainly I didn’t even know he was there. Unfortunately, the impact put me into a spin and the incident damaged my floor. From then I lost a lot of downforce. It was not a good race from then on, having lost a lot of time and having to drive a damaged car.

“It’s not been a good weekend, as I did not have a smooth time of it from the start. However, as I said yesterday, the pace of the car has improved in the break since Malaysia, as could be seen from what Daniel was able to do today. Therefore I am now looking forward to Bahrain with a positive outlook.”

Webber said he was “coming from a reasonable distance behind” when he made the move. “Jean-Eric was really wide, but when we came close to the apex he wanted to hit it, which he is entitled to do, but by then I was committed to the inside and the incident happened.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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83 comments on “Webber handed grid penalty for Vergne collision”

  1. As in a 3-place grid drop. Or just moved back 3 places in this race?

    1. @jleigh Well it does say GRID penalty in the article title, therefore one would presume a grid drop for the next race.

      1. @formula-1 ahh, the title has been changed, it originally just said 3-place penalty. Thanks @keithcollantine for making that clearer

    2. Does not matter, Webber is going out of F1 any which ways to join Porsche

  2. I guess that means JEV will on his way to job-centre soon.

    1. I doubt just yet as he didn’t to it to Vettel.

    2. Why would that be if Mark drove like a moron?
      On a lighter note, that would only happen if it was the other RedBull driver

    3. (@davef1)
      Or a bottle of Champagne from Marko for finishing the job the garage so clearly started.

      I wasn’t a conspiracy theorist yesterday, but the evidence has become too compelling, simply too many ‘coincidences’ blighted Mark’s race.

      1. I have nothing but admiration for the determination from red Bull to show Mark who’s number 2.

        Mark on the other hand, I suspect to have the same ‘hobby’ as Max Mosley.

  3. Seems rather harsh to me.

    1. Chris (@tophercheese21)
      14th April 2013, 11:17


      Looked like it was partially the fault of both drivers.

      Webber too aggressive, and Vergne just not looking in his mirrors.

    2. I’d give him a 5-place drop. It was a stupid move by Mark, who was having a great race until then though!

      1. Webber was half way alongside and turning in a radius in line with the corner when Verne came across to take a normal apex as if Mark was not there. Was Marko a race Steward?

        1. Webber was half way alongside and turning

          No, he was not…

        2. Webber was half way alongside and turning in a radius in line with the corner when Verne came across to take a normal apex as if Mark was not there.

          He was definitely not. He plunged for the apex from behind, cutting through. Vergne didn’t do anything other than hold his racing line there which was the sensible thing to do.

          I’ll bet this month’s paycheck on the fact that Webber thought Vergne will move out of the way to the outside and give him room, when he planned that move. It was a gamble, it backfired, that’s it. Still Webber’s fault 100%.

        3. Even at the moment when both cars passed the trackside camera (giving us a sideview of the action), and Webber was already in the process of making the lunge, he was still fully behind Vergne. A clearly misjudged overtaking move.

        4. That’s what Webber said abut the incident:

          He was really, really wide and looking like he opened the corner and was giving me the line. But we got to the apex and he took it. It’s disappointing. He was entitled to do that, but if he’d just gone around the outside we would’ve both survived.

          Mark thought that Jean-Eric was letting him through (maybe because it’s the Torro Rosso). Surprisingly, Vergne just took the racing line and Mark smashed into him. This penalty seems just right to me.

          1. Yes, I think this being an STR car definitely helped in Webber getting that impression @maroonjack.

            Webber is experienced enough to know that such a move could never work unless he was really being let through there.

        5. Half way alongside doesn’t mean anything anymore. That was a valid remark when Mansell, Prost and Senna were still racing. The last few decades it has been that you have to be ahead before the breaking point to have the right to the racing line.

          Although recently they have amended that a driver cannot be pushed off track before the brake point. Unless it’s Raikkonen apparently. How Perez got away without a penalty is beyond me.

      2. He was about a car length behind.
        By your logic Sutil did not give Gutierrez space, because he was faster and beside him, and what was Sutil doing, taking the corner normally? What was Sutil thinking…

    3. @ecwdanselby agree. It was a racing incident at most…

      But seems these days that drivers cannot make mistakes and everything they do is penalizable.

  4. Is this for Bahrain quali as Webber wasn’t classified?

    1. @tmtek yes, that is what grid penalties are!

      1. @vettel1 – I think the title was edited after my comment but thanks

        1. @tmekt – ah I see! No problem ;)

  5. Fair enough.

    Webber either saw Vettel coming out of the pits there and tried too hard, either he simply took Vergne for granted and assumed he will move out of the way as soon as there’s a Red Bull in his rear-view. Either way, stupid decision to try and overtake there.

  6. 5 place grid pen to Gutierrez for crashing into Sutil

    1. Why 5 for GUT and 3 for WEB?

      1. Well, Gutierrez’s accident was far more dangerous and he took Sutil out of the race. Webber was just careless and caused Vergne to spin. Seems fair.

        1. Yes, you’re right. But I thought the penalties were predefined rather than subjective.

          1. I wish it would be that way, but we can’t be so naive to actually believe that…

  7. Wow, I think that is harsh :( I think F1 will be losing Mark at the end of this season… that is not good in my opinion.

  8. I guess Webber at one point thought Vergne was letting him through, because the Torro Rosso driver did appear to take a very wide line then turned in late.

    1. But we will still have Dan Ricciardo from Perth

    2. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      14th April 2013, 19:18

      And it isn’t like the Torro Rossos don’t let Golden Boy through every chance they have. It was Webber’s mistake for actually expecting the same courtesy as Seb…

      1. @freelittlebirds – It was Webber’s mistake for making a lunge when Vergne was already turning in, and couldn’t anticipate Webber’s move.

        1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
          15th April 2013, 13:36

          The move is very reminiscent of the moves that TRs make when Vettel passes them. Webber explained that he thought Vergne was moving out to let him through.

          1. Yet Webber still made contact, since his lunge was a clumsy one.

          2. But Vergne did not “move out” anywhere – he simply followed the normal racing line through the turn.

            Having watched that incident several times, I’m more baffled than ever by what Mark was up to. Perhaps he mistook the Torro Rosso for a Red Bull and thought he was ramming Vettel instead. It doesn’t look in the least bit accidental.

  9. That’s harsh, racing incident I would say. Vergne opend the door and Webber just stuck his nose in and the Vergne decided to take the appex because he didn’t see him and bang it was done, You really can’t blame either of the drivers.

    But the stewards are really not consistent Perez got nothing for weaving all over the place and putting Raikkonen of the track. Double standard!

    1. Perez not getting a drive-through is totally ridiculous

  10. I’m not keen on 3 place drops, seems like a compromise penalty to me. If this was dealt with in-race he would have either got a drive through or let off – neither of which are really the equivalent of a 3 place drop. Not finishing due to an unrelated issue has either got him off lighter or more heavily penalized, and that doesn’t seem right to me.

    1. Yep, my thought exactly

  11. The crash was 100% Mark Webber’s fault he came from nowhere and he cut the corner while JEV is already turning in but i’m just wondering if Vettel was there instead of webber what JEV will do ? and how Marko will react ?????

    1. @tifoso1989 Well he wouldn’t have crashed because he’s better wheel-to-wheel it appears from that race!

    2. Yeah if that were true than it would have been a deserved penalty but take a look at this video


      They turn in together

      1. Video removed!

  12. I guess this is even more evidence to support the fact that Redbull have ordered Torro Rosso drivers to move out of Webber and Vettels way. Webber obviously thought the Torro Rosso was going to just move over like a lapped car would. Such orders are illegal and the FIA need to seriously look into this, because it is unfair on the other teams.

    Either allow it and allow Ferrari and co to also have third and fourth cars, or disallow it so that each team only has two drivers. Cant have one team with four drivers while the rest are limited to two teams.

    1. +1 * ∞

    2. Of course. Verne not moving out of the way is clear evidence that he was ordered to do just that. Never let logic get in the way of heartfelt preconceptions.

      1. It seems more logical that Verne did not feel Webber was close enough to require him to move over. Verne might have felt that if he went wide, Webber could have been too far back to take the place and Verne might have then held Webber up in the exit. Rather wait until Webber is closer before letting him by.

    3. “Such orders are illegal”
      If you point me to the article in the rule book that says so, I’ll buy you a box of chocolates.

      1. Orders between different teams are and should be illegal in all sports.

        1. I don’t want to burst your bubble, but there is a difference between “are” and “should be”.

    4. thatscienceguy
      14th April 2013, 15:27

      There is nothing stopping the other teams doing what Red BUll did and purchase a second team. Ferrari are allowed to do it, it’s their choice not to.

      1. @mnmracer
        Doesn’t change the fact that anyone with common sense would agree that it is cheating.

        Just shows what a hypocrite Horner is. He who cried and complains whenever Massa gives Alonso a helping hand is the same guy who abuses his powers to have control over two drivers who are suppose to be driving for another team.

        1. Has Horner actually complained since (Hockenheim) 2010, or is that one instance just being rehashed for 3 years?

    5. Webbe

      r obviously thought the Torro Rosso was going to just move over like a lapped car would.

      A more plausible explanation is that Webber mistook the TR for a Red Bull and thought he was taking out Vettel.

  13. I’m shocked that they give Webber a penalty for that incident. Yeah he did stick his nose in but you can’t give a penalty for that, he had to get a new front wing, that’s penalty enough I think.

    1. By this logic, anyone who causes an accident and gets himself a DNF should be automatically let off the hook.

  14. Not sure what Mark was thinking but 3 is actually a mild one. Had Maldonado or Grosjean made this move it would have been 5.

    1. Makes sense that repeat offenders get penalized harder.

  15. My memory fails me…
    What lap did Webber crash into Vergne?

    If it was Lap 21, I’m calling ** on F1; it’s clearly all scripted to cause as much turmoil to Webber as possible :P

    1. ha ha …Multi 21 web …..No I think Red Bull were fair here to give him a new set up like seb .He needs some luck and to keep his cool

  16. Enjoy driving for Porsche Mark. It’s been a fun ride.

  17. Zantkiller (@)
    14th April 2013, 12:03

    Webber has signed a 5 year deal with Porsche for WEC.

    I think it is best he goes from F1 if he is not liking it.

    1. @zantkiller

      I don’t think it’s about liking F1 or not as it’s more about liking Red Bull. Mark still has a few F1 years left in him and he could easily find a place with let’s say Williams (if Maldonado runs out of money), or Lotus (if Raikkonen makes the switch to Red Bull or they decide to ditch Grosjean), but…it wouldn’t be a sensible choice. Whichever team he might choose to sign with in F1, except for Red Bull, won’t be able to provide him with a better shot at the title than he had at Milton Keynes. And since Red Bull clearly won’t provide him with that chance either anymore, switching back to endurance seems like his best bet. Plus, it’s a long term contract with a factory team, if the rumours are true. Surely that weighs more, from every single point of view, than a short term contract with any F1 team.

      Hell, if I were him I’d throw my helmet at Helmut Marko right now and go ask Porsche to let me have some fun in one of their GTE Pro cars for the rest of the year before switching full time to LMP1 next season.

      Plus, as a die-hard endurance fan, I can’t wait to see McNish, Wurz, Davidson and Webber all fight for the win in LMP1. It’s like the 2000s we never got in F1…

      1. Plus, it’s a long term contract with a factory team,

        @tony031r – much better to be a driver in a formula on a team that actually wants you and values your presence, than spend another year w/ RBR where they only just remember to put the wheel nuts on and begrudgingly provide you fuel for the car in the first place.

        Webber had a great run in F1 but surely has maxed his potential, and the animosity from his “team” can’t be worth enduring if there are greener pastures elsewhere.

        I’ve always been a fan of his though and am so glad he collected two historic wins at Monaco so that he could do backflips into the pool!

  18. Im not shocked he actually got a penalty, his move on Vergne was quite clumsy. It’s unlike Mark to do something like that, very much like Alonso driving into Vettel at Malaysia. Seems like Mark was under some pressure from himself, and was in a hurry. He should’ve waiting for the DRS zone for an easy overtake, cause this was just wasn’t going to happen. A very dissapointing weekend for him, and to get a penalty for next week must leave a sour taste.

  19. I was initially going to say a penalty would be harsh, However I just saw the in-car shot from Mark’s car on the BBC & seeing that it was clearly 100% Mark’s fault.

    The 2 trackside shots make it looks like Mark was at least partially alongside with JEV just cutting across. However the in-car from Mark’s car shows clearly that Mark came from miles back, wasn’t alongside & just drove straght into JEV’s Right Rear.

    1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      14th April 2013, 19:23

      Not necessarily, TR drivers always yield to RB drivers and that looked like a yield until JEV probably realized that it was Webber whom he wants to replace next year at RB trying to come through…

      1. If Vergne was already yielding, then it would only make it doubly silly for Webber to still make contact.

  20. “The driver of car two [Webber] admitted that he attempted to overtake car eighteen [Vergne] because he believed car eighteen would give him sufficient room.”

    I can only take this to mean that Webber thought Vergne would jump right out of his way as soon as he appeared in his mirrors. Mark, you learned in Malaysia that your own team members aren’t all that willing to let you benefit from team orders, so why would you expect a member of your sister team to make your life any easier?!

    1. @geemac Old habits die hard.

  21. Having watched the 2007 Chinese GP the other night as part of Sky’s build up this weekend, I cant see too much difference between this incident at the same corner where Ralf Schumacher clattered in to Alexander Wurz.

    In that event, I cant remember Ralf getting a penalty? Like Webber today, he retired from an unrelated incident further on in the race, but that was all. I apapreciate the regulations have changed since then and expected standards raised, but I feel that a grid penalty for Mark is a little unjust.

  22. I like Mark, but when it comes to passing my opinion is that the car ahead has every right to the racing line and does NOT have to move or leave room. It is up to the car behind to leave the racing line and make the pass. In other words, this was Mark’s fault, but i still feel that he should not be given a grid penalty. If it is allowable I would just make him have to do a drive through within the first 3 laps of the next race.

  23. No wonder RBR favor Vettel over Webber, what a loser, unbelievable, ADMITTING fault.

  24. Have to say it’s about time that Webber got penalized for one of his boneheaded moves. Just go over all the accidents that he caused and how incredibly little penalties he has gotten for them. It’s truly amazing/ridiculous.

    1. Boneheads

      That’s funny

      You new to F1

      I suppose running out of fuel in quali and loose tyre in the race is one of his boneheaded moves

      I’m pretty sure webber has caused less accidents than half the grid let alone vettel and even Schumacher for that matter and he doesn’t run up the back of people behind safety cars or run into the sides of other drivers on a straight with no curves or smash barge boards off the track like his teammate

      Bonehead move

      That’s gold

      1. @Drezone – Webber caused more accidents than Vettel, even in 2010. Webber had several incidents in Abu Dhabi 2012 (with Massa, with Perez), Monza 2011 (rammed Massa’s rear), Korea 2010 (spun, car rolled across track, collecting Rosberg), Europe 2010 (hit a backmarker while fighting for position, flipped his car), Australia 2010 (hit Lewis Hamilton on 2 seperate occasions, and broke his own wing), Singapore 2010 (collides with Hamilton again), and so on.

  25. Melchior (@)
    15th April 2013, 0:56

    It looked to me like Vergne was leaving room for Webber because of his wide line into the turn,which was clearly not the case in the end.
    Webber admitted his mistake for causing the accident and got penalised.Fairs fair.
    It was unfortunate for both drivers and i was disappointed with Webber because he was having a good race making up for that fuel rig stuff up in quali.It would have been interesting to see where he would have ended up,position wise,at the end of the race.

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