Christian Horner laughs off claims that Red Bull are using traction control system
Red Bull Team Principal scoffs at post-Singapore accusations
By Mike Wise in Yeongam and Pete Gill. Last Updated: 04/10/13 5:36am
Christian Horner has scoffed at the suggestion his Red Bull team are running an illegal traction control system on their title-leading RB9 cars.
The emphatic nature of Sebastian Vettel's recent surge of success, culminating in his dominant victory of the Singapore GP, has prompted plenty of head-scratching up and down the pitlane and a few lurid accusations elsewhere with doubts raised by Giancarlo Minardi, the former boss of the eponymous team, about the legality of the Red Bulls.
As he addressed the press corps ahead of this weekend's Korean GP, a relaxed Horner declared that the claims had left him utterly bemused.
"It's complete rubbish. We're running traction control through the ECUs which are supplied by McLaren and approved by the FIA? They fully comply with the rules, it's a standard unit which all the teams use, and any suggestion of traction control is either mischievous on behalf of the others or wishful thinking," retorted the Red Bull Team Principal.
"These things are so tightly controlled that it is impossible. You'd be pretty stupid to run traction control. I can't imagine any team in the pitlane would even entertain it."
While the scale of Vettel's win in Singapore was remarkable, with the German crossing the line over thirty seconds clear of Fernando Alonso despite the mid-race deployment of a Safety Car, Horner is adamant that the margin of victory was ultimately dependent on the brilliance of his lead driver's career-best performance.
"The problem is that Sebastian's performance was so dominant that it has inevitably prompted the question of 'how was this possible?'. Other teams will be looking inwardly and the easiest conclusion to come to is 'they must be cheating'. But in Singapore, Sebastian drove an incredible race, got the maximum out of the car and was, as a driver, at his peak form.
"What you witnessed was a driver totally at the top of his game and completely in harmony with his car - nothing more, nothing less."
In Thursday's press conference, Lewis Hamilton remarked of the Red Bulls "perhaps they have a lot more in the bag that we get to see", but, in his own media briefing at the Yeongam circuit, Fernando Alonso stressed that he didn't believe the World Champions had committed any wrongdoing.
"They are using something different compared to other teams but something that is completely OK because it's passed all the tests on Saturdays and Sundays," Alonso said. "It's up to us to do a better job."
Meanwhile, Vettel has once again reiterated that he is not overly bothered by the booing which marred his victory celebrations on the podium in Malaysia, Montreal and, most recently of all, at Singapore.
"It is not nice but it is not everybody booing. That's life - and I am sure we can all imagine ourselves at a football stadium cheering for the home team and if the other team scores first then your first reaction is not to say 'what a fantastic goal, they really deserved to score'. I don't think we should take it too seriously."
But perhaps the most effective retort was delivered by an unlikely source with Mark Webber, whose spat with Vettel in Malaysia is widely acknowledged to have sparked the vocal dissent, offering this withering assessment of the hecklers: "I'm sure they'd ask for an autograph from Sebastian if they could."