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Webber: No red faces in Turkey

2011-05-05 07:58

TURKISH BLUNDER: Red Bull says they will not repeat the embarrassing performance of the 2010 Turkish Grand Prix.

ALAN BALDWIN

ISTANBUL, Turkey - Mark Webber and Formula 1 World champion Sebastian Vettel will make sure there are no red faces at Red Bull in Turkey this weekend after learning an embarrassing lesson last year.

What could have been a dominant 1-2 finish ended in rage and recrimination after the two team mates collided while fighting for the lead and gave McLaren maximum points.

Red Bull has won the F1 Drivers’ and Constructors’ championships since then and return to Istanbul leading both again.

LESSON LEARNT

"Last year, what happened, happened," team principal Christian Horner told Reuters ahead of the fourth round of the 2011 campaign and first of the European season - even if the circuit is on the Asian side of the city.

"Lessons were learned from it and we are looking forward to going back to Istanbul," he said. "It's a great challenge of a circuit, especially Turn 8. The whole team's looking forward to being back in action.

"We'll be going there to do our very best and it's a circuit that both drivers have gone well at previously. As we saw in China, tyres and strategy play a key role and it will probably be the same again this weekend."

Four of the six races at the anti-clockwise Istanbul Park have been won from pole with the Red Bull drivers the only ones not to have converted the top slot into victory.

Vettel was on pole in 2009 but could not match the pace of Jenson Button's Brawn, while Australian Webber was fastest in qualifying in 2010 only to end up third on race day.

Vettel has been on pole for the past four races, two of them at the end of 2010, and will again line up as favourite for a race that might disappear from the calendar due to poor attendances and a payment dispute.

The 23-year-old won in Australia and Malaysia and was second in China after a strategic error by the team.

Red Bull still has fastest car but its kinetic energy recovery system proved troublesome in the opening races - problems Horner was confident had been addressed.

"Our main focus has been to try to get on top of the kers issues," he said. “It's a relatively new technology to us but we’re working hard to understand and get on top of it. We have some updates coming which, I hope, will address some of the niggling issues off the early races.

"We've made progress at all three races. From it not being on the car in Melbourne to making its racing debut in Malaysia and then getting even more mileage out of the system in China.

FAST AND BUMPY

“So, with every event, we’re learning more and more and I'm confiden we will have made a good step forward with the system again this weekend."

McLaren's Lewis Hamilton won in Turkey in 2010 and, at a fast circuit where kers will make a real difference, has the momentum after beating the two Red Bull drivers to win in China in April.

"For this race, I think we'll be seeing drivers working quite hard to look after their tyres throughout the race, particularly in Turn 8, which is fast and bumpy," the 2008 champion said in a team preview.

"It's one of the most demanding corners for tyres anywhere on the calendar. There's every reason to believe the run of interesting and exciting races will continue.”

Horner expected Ferrari, which has yet to finish higher than fourth in 2011, and Michael Schumacher's improving Mercedes to be in the mix.

Stay with Wheels24 for the F1 weekend.

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