The Korean Grand Prix saw plenty of incident
As Sebastian Vettel closes in on a fourth world drivers’ title, the Korean Grand Prix threw up a number of other interesting stories.
Pirelli are once again on the defensive, Paul di Resta’s future is in the balance and the issue of team orders has again reared its ugly head.
To top things off, the FIA has accepted responsibility for a dangerous incident that saw a fire truck head out onto the circuit ahead of the leading cars to deal with Mark Webber’s blazing Red Bull.
Romain Grosjean insists he is not overly concerned at not being allowed past teammate Kimi Raikkonen late in the Korean Grand Prix.
Running a strong second late in the race until the safety car period, the Frenchman made a small mistake coming out of the penultimate corner and Raikkonen grabbed his chance to nip ahead at Turn 1.
Radio broadcasts then picked up Grosjean asking if he would be allowed a free pass to take his position back as he looked to have the quicker car, but team boss Eric Boullier told him to keep racing, as quoted on ESPNF1.
Romain got frustrated because he did a small mistake after the restart with the safety car and Kimi just passed him. I think he was begging for some team orders to let him past, but he made a mistake and it was normal racing. I think he could have been quicker, but with a bit of pressure he lost concentration so it's just part of the learning curve.
For his part, Grosjean accepted the decision graciously, saying it was “not the end of the world.”
Unfortunately for me and good for Kimi, the safety car came. I made a small mistake, my fault, and Kimi passed me and then there were yellow flags so I couldn't use DRS. I don't hear most of the [radio] conversation. I was quicker today. It is a track where it is almost impossible to overtake. I should have avoided the AstroTurf in Turn 15 and that would be the end of the conversation. It was my mistake, it is not the end of the world.
The FIA has claimed responsibility for making the decision to send out a fire truck to deal with Mark Webber’s blazing car at Turn 3.
Race director Charlie Whiting ordered a response vehicle to deal with the situation but there was alarm when the truck from Turn 1 was dispatched ahead of the leaders before a safety car had the chance to slow them down.
“It wasn't great, but thankfully it happened on part of the track where there was plenty of time for the drivers to react," said Red Bull boss Christian Horner on Autosport.
Sebastian was the first to come across it, but with the straight being so long there he thankfully had enough pre-warning to know that he was there. But if it had been unsighted it would have been a bit more dramatic.
Sergio Perez suffered a puncture due to a flat spot
It appears that no race weekend can pass without mention of Pirelli’s fast wearing tyres.
The Korean Grand Prix proved no exception.
Before Sunday’s race, both Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber had criticised the tyres, with Alonso in particular saying it was “not normal” for drivers not being able to push to the maximum.
In Sunday’s race, a tyre issue was again to blame as Sergio Perez suffered a tyre delamination due to a flat spot.
However, in an interview with Autosport, Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery hit back. He said they are merely supplying the tyres they were briefed to construct at the start of the season.
They are no different to maybe Michael [Schumacher]'s last year. It is maybe a different input if you are having to manage the tyres and you don't want to do it. Then you have a different point of view. And there is nothing wrong with a different point of view. It is just not what we've been asked to do at the time. If we had been asked to do no degradation and no pitstops then that is what we will have done.
Paul di Resta is a man under pressure
Paul di Resta has received a public vote of confidence from his team despite crashing out for the third race in succession at the Korean Grand Prix.
The Scot, who also spun out in Italy and Singapore, lost control of his Force India on lap 25 in Korea and ended up in the tyre barriers.
Despite his current poor form, deputy team principal Bob Fernley told Sky Sports (via ESPNF1) that he would not be judged over “two or three races.”
I don't think he's on top form in terms of where he wants to be clearly himself. This is our third season with Paul; we've had two and a half seasons of fantastic effort in from him, so we wouldn't judge somebody over two or three races. It's not my decision at the end of the day anyway, it's a decision for Vijay [Mallya] and the shareholders. Certainly a couple of races isn't going to be a black mark on anybody, we look at the total package.