Sebastian Vettel refused to accept that his bid for the Formula One title is over, despite suffering an engine failure during yesterday’s European Grand Prix, the second race in a row that the German has failed to finish.
“A tough day for us I’d say,” said Vettel after exiting the race in Valencia on lap 24. Despite the non-finish though, the title-chasing Red Bull racing star insisted his championship quest isn’t over.
“I’ll fight until the last breath, of that there’s no doubt,” he said. “But on days like this… if you are in a hunting position and want to get more points than you opponent and you’re in that position and then you fail to finish, well it’s not good is it?”
In truth Vettel’s race had effectively run its course after his first stop. A fuel rig problem left his car dry enough to require an immediate return for more fuel and the second stop dropped him to 16th and out of contention. If that failure was costly, the next, his second engine blow up of the weekend could prove even more damaging.
'I don’t know what caused it, maybe I’m a killer' - Sebastian Vettel
Drivers have an allocation on just eight fresh engines to last the whole season and after blowing a powerplant in practice on Saturday morning and several more over the course of the season so far, the race day failure now leaves Vettel with a dwindling supply and six races still to run.
“The biggest problem was definitely the first stop,” he said. “We didn’t get enough fuel in and had to come in again and then the race was lost. Then a couple of laps in I had the problem with the engine, or maybe an exhaust, we are not sure, so, yeah, not good.
“I don’t know what caused it, maybe I’m a killer! Maybe I’m using full throttle too much,” he concluded. “I don’t know, but for sure it doesn’t make it any easier for the future.”
Team principal Christian Horner top lamented the failure. "We had a fuel rig problem and Vettel had to stop again, then another engine failure which caused his retirement. Expensive failure! He's still in the championship until mathematically it's impossible but with the
possiblity of only two engines left until the end of the season it's going to be hard."
Renault’s principal engineer, track support Fabrice Lom admitted it had been a “black weekend” for Red Bull Racing’s engine supplier. “This race ended a nightmare weekend for us,” he said. “We had two engine failures on Sebastian’s car, so it’s a black weekend.
"I can only apologise to Red Bull Racing and Sebastian in particular for this reliability issue and assure them that we will work as hard as possible to ensure it doesn’t happen again. But, the end of the season will now be tough on the engine side for Sebastian.”