Vettel plays down impact of KERS failure

2013 Japanese Grand Prix

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Sebastian Vettel declined to say he would have been on pole position for the Japanese Grand Prix had it not been for his KERS failing.

During qualifying Vettel had a recurrence of the KERS problem which also cost him time in final practice, and ended up second on the grid behind team mate Mark Webber.

“Obviously we had a problem this morning but I don’t think that made a difference,” said Vettel. “In terms of finding the rhythm I think we’ve done plenty of laps around this track.”

Vettel congratulated Webber on his pole position and added: “We did have an issue in qualifying but I’m not a big fan of ‘without this, with this, if this…'”

“It’s always an unknown and as a fact we are P2 so happy obviously with the result, front row for the team which is great.”

Team principal Christian Horner said the KERS fault would have cost Vettel four to five tenths of a second per lap. “It was unlucky for Sebastian,” he said.

“The KERS we had an issue with this morning, we changed as much as we could. In the first session it failed, in Q1, it came back in Q2. And then in Q3 it failed immediately so both Sebastian’s laps in Q3 were without the KERS so a great performance from him to get the car onto the front row.”

Vettel said his car felt “phenomenal” during qualifying. “The first sector is… I think you realise afterwards the car was fantastic through there and you don’t get many days the car feels like that where the car feels great and you can really push it to the limit. So enjoyed qualifying and happy with second place.”

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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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45 comments on “Vettel plays down impact of KERS failure”

  1. Well, Suzuka has been always his playground, so the argument that KERS failure costs him the pole is very reasonable.

    1. Coulthard stated on BBC that a loss of KERS around Suzuka costs you about 3 tenths/lap. Vettel was only 2 tenths down on Webber at the end, so yes, he likely would have been on pole.

      I feel that Sebastian is only saying this because he doesn’t want to discredit Mark’s lap.

      1. Vettel is not a man of excuses.

  2. Of course he’s not going to say it. Between the way Red Bull have used KERS to help with their starts in the past and the speculation that they are using it to balance out their traction, admitting that the problem cost him pole would be to admit that he is vulnerable.

    1. No… He is saying it out of politeness to Mark,He doesn’t want to rain on his parade.
      Also he would sound like a prick by saying KERS cost him pole, although everyone knows it did

  3. Respect for the great champion Sebastian Vettel

  4. Finally we see SV´s KERS fail!!
    Now that the championship is almost in the Bag…. it is vital to keep the viewers “interested” in it and so we will see this sort of things. It´s just an opinion but I suspect that we will see more of this in the folowing races. Oh and BTW, SV will be champion in Austin were he was supposed to be champion last year!

      1. Michael Brown (@)
        12th October 2013, 13:55


    1. In 2013:
      Britain: Vettel retires from the lead with gearbox issues.
      Germany: Vettel has KERS issues during the race.
      Hungary: Vettel has overheating and KERS issues during the race.
      Italy: Vettel has gearbox issues, which causes him to have to short-shift.
      Japan: Vettel has KERS issues during FP3 and qualifying.
      This comment is not for blind people..

      1. You’re missing the point, yes Sebastian has had his issues but they are nothing compared to what Mark’s had in the past 3 years

        1. There was a thread not long ago showing that both of them had more less the same number of issues and, in fact, VET had more DNF’s than WEB

        2. really? You need to check the article on this site about a month ago regarding their problems since 2009. Sililar number of problems- Webber tends to get niggly ones, Vettel had more race ending ones

        3. @abnash it’s fine if you don’t like the guy, I really don’t myself. However, to twist facts and reality that have been shown and somehow make this false argument that since Mark hasn’t won as much as Vettel his issues have been far more severe. You distorting them doesn’t add or help your argument to denounce Vettel and doing doesn’t change the real truth.

      2. Yeah, I’ve been hearing comments like “they mounted Marks KERS on Vetttels car” etc …

        I’m pretty sure they handle both cars the same way and no one has got a clear advantage.

        Btw, if Vettel lost four to five tenths, that Red Bull has got tremendous pace! I hope his KERS won’t work tomorrow, it’s the only way we can see some good wheel-to-wheel racing (and I’m saying this as a Vettel fan :P)

        1. @paeschli

          if Vettel lost four to five tenths, that Red Bull has got tremendous pace!

          Remember the gain from KERS on a typical lap will be something like half that because they double-boost in qualifying – i.e. they used all their KERS heading to the start line before they cross it to begin the timed lap, then have another lap’s worth to use during the lap.

          1. Hmm yeah I didn’t think of that, thx Keith ^^

            But still, if Vettel ‘loses’ two tenths per lap, it can produce some good racing tomorrow :D

        2. Also KERS failure changes brake balance. During race drivers have time to adjust to it. It’d be more critical in qualifying, especially when they are on the limit.

          1. I’m sure they have procedures in place in event of a KERS failure.

  5. This make next year’s ERS the most important in trying to avoid technical failures.

  6. Respect to Vettel for playing down the problem that surely did cost him the pole. Congratulations to Mark.

  7. I have a question here,in second run of Q3 did sebastian have KERS?
    and if he has an issue will red bull be allowed to make changes for the race in parc ferme conditions?
    and if no then Seb has 53 laps of no KERS tomm?

    1. @svarun he didn’t have KERS in Q3 at all, the team have confirmed (contrary to what was stated on Sky’s commentary)!

      I’m not sure on KERS, though. I’m sure you are allowed to replace malfunctioning components – and I don’t think KERS incurs a penalty for a change unlike engines or gearboxes – but I’m not entirely sure.

    2. @svarun

      in second run of Q3 did Sebastian have KERS?

      It says in the article.

      1. He didn’t ask that.

        1. @dworsley ehm, yes they did?

          1. He asked ‘did Sebastian have KERS?’. The answer to the question is not ‘it says in the article’, but ‘yes’ or ‘no’.

    3. Pretty sure they can change any malfunctioning components. Unless it is an engine or gearbox, no penalty applies.

  8. I don’t agree with Vettel on this one. In Q3 MW did a 1:31.513 while Vettel managed a 1:31.290 with KERS. In Q3 Webber managed to find 6 tenths of a second on his time in Q2 while Vettel managed an estonishing 1:31.089 without KERS. If he would have had KERS that could have easily been a 1:30.6/7

    Still Webber pulled out a briliant lap compared to his Q2 lap and therefore a fully deserved pole.

  9. “We did have an issue in qualifying but I’m not a big fan of ‘without this, with this, if this…’”

    I do like that answer.

    1. Yep, di Resta would have handled it otherwise ^^

      1. “KERS definitely cost us the pole positions and I’m sure the win tomorrow and I think all of the season not to mention all of the big teams overlooking me. I’ve performed too.”

        1. hahahahaha

  10. maarten.f1 (@)
    12th October 2013, 9:47

    That’s a very humble answer of him, I like it.

  11. Spain 2011 all over again

  12. Michael Brown (@)
    12th October 2013, 13:56

    I think I heard on the BBC that Webber also had KERS problems in his final lap

    1. @lite992

      Not according to Webber. That’s why he called it a hollow pole victory.

  13. Anyone notice the massive oversteer moment Vettel had as soon as the radio message about kers failure?

    1. The radio messages are delayed.

      He made a mistake coming out of spoon. Perhaps he was pushing to hard to compensate the KERS failure.

      1. I think he’s hinting at the traction control story. Without kers = without traction control, when was the last time you saw Vettel lose the backend like that?

        1. @gdog,

          Ah. Well in that case without traction control Vettel is only 3-4 tenths slower than he is with TC.

          Now that’s impressive!


    2. Remember that the team radio messages are delayed. So he would have had that message long before he drifted his way out of the spoon curve.

      1. You beat me to it @baron-2 : )

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