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Red Bull's Christian Horner admits they are worried by the alternator failure that ended Mark Webber's race at the U.S. Grand Prix

Re-appearance of World Champions' Achilles' heel

By Mike Wise in Austin.   Last Updated: 19/11/12 3:14pm

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Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner has admitted they are worried by the alternator failure that ended Mark Webber's race at the U.S. Grand Prix.

Webber was running third at the Circuit of The Americas when he retired on lap 17. A KERS failure had initially been identified by the team, but the Australian pulled to a standstill soon after.

Ahead of the season finale in Brazil, the concern for the team is that a recurrence of the problem - one they have now suffered at three different races - might harm Sebastian Vettel's title hopes.

Horner said that the alternator on Webber's car was an older specification which had previously proved reliable.

The team reverted to the older spec. after the newer version brought about Vettel's retirement in both Valencia - where he was leading - and Italy.

Renault subsequently decided to modify the newer version and although it has since been used by the engine supplier's other teams without any problems, Red Bull elected to keep using the older specification.

"It looks like an alternator. So unfortunately, yes, that's what the data suggests at the moment. It's a suspected alternator," Horner confirmed.

"It's just a worry full-stop. I mean, unfortunately it's the third alternator that we've had and obviously there's been other failures in other cars.

"So we need to get it back. I think the new version is on other engine cycles. Hopefully that's what we'll have for Brazil."

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