Red Bull’s Mark Webber says the team need to launch an investigation into why he struggled to get away cleanly at the start of the British Grand Prix at Silverstone.
The Australian, who is leaving the sport at the end of the season, has had good form at Silverstone, winning in 2010 and 2012. But his hopes of a third win in four years were hit when he bogged down at the start – something which has happened to him on numerous occasions over the last few years.
As he fell back down the field, he had contact with Lotus’ Romain Grosjean at the first corner, which broke part of his front wing and compromised his first stint. The 36-year-old managed to recover to finish second, just 0.7 seconds behind Rosberg.
“I didn’t have a clue what happened off the line,” said Webber. “We’ve had two or three good starts in the last few races and then the lights went out and we were back to our normal form. We need to have a look at why those pop up from time to time.
“Then I had Grosjean take my front wing out at the first corner. The boys did a fantastic job to replace the wing at the first stop and then my race could start from there.”
Last month, JA on F1 technical adviser Mark Gillan talked about making a clean start: “When the driver is ready to make the start, he releases one of his two clutch paddles on the steering wheel, holds the engine at 13,000rpm or the exact level he is instructed by the control engineer and then when the lights go out he releases the second paddle.
“The aim is to match the torque demands and not have too much wheelspin, and conversely not bog the engine down either, to have the perfect getaway.
“Getting the driver used to doing that under pressure in a repeatable way is very difficult, as we see from the inconsistency of starts of many F1 drivers. Ferrari has the control systems optimised and the drivers are able to perform consistently.”
While Webber recovered to finish second, his team-mate and championship leader Sebastian Vettel had a more disappointing outcome.
The German inherited the lead when Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton suffered a tyre failure before a gearbox issue with 11 laps to go saw him retire for the first time this season.
“We just lost the race by a couple of laps but there’s nothing I could have done better,” said Vettel. “So it’s always frustrating but I’m not blaming the guys or the team; these things always happen, you never want them to happen but fortunately we’ve got the next race coming up next week so we can try and do it again.”