Lotus question Webber's role in crash

LOTUS Racing's chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne believes Mark Webber should accept responsibility for his spectacular accident in Sunday's European Grand Prix.

Webber was fortunate to walk away unscathed after smashing into the back of Heikki Kovalainen's Lotus, a 190mph shunt that propelled the Australian's Red Bull into the air. After crash landing back onto the Valencia track, Webber's momentum then saw him hurtle into a tyre wall, yet despite the magnitude of the shunt the 33-year-old was unharmed. After the accident Webber effectively blamed Kovalainen, claiming the Finn braked 80 metres earlier than he himself had done on the preceding laps.

"Obviously neither driver wanted it to happen, but from our point of view Heikki was driving in a straight line, defending his position and then someone hits him from behind," said Gascoyne. "So where the mistake lies is fairly clear from our point of view. I'm sure Mark will have a different one."

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When Webber's explanation was put to Gascoyne, he added: "Mark's charged up behind Heikki, he's got the quicker car and Heikki has to brake where he brakes because of the grip he has. At the end of the day it's up to the guy overtaking to do so safely, and he didn't. If you hit someone from behind it's not the fault of the guy in front."

Referring to the collision between Webber and team-mate Sebastian Vettel in Turkey four weeks ago, Gascoyne pointedly added: "Mark's now had two accidents in three races and it's never been his fault."

Gascoyne was able to speak his mind freely in the knowledge neither driver, in particular Webber, was hurt. "That is the most important thing," said Gascoyne. "He was under pressure because he was having a bad race, but he wouldn't have wanted that. We didn't want it either because we are trying to race our own race, and it's one of those things. It's motor racing. It happens."

On what was the occasion of Lotus' 500th grand prix, it was a race to forget for the Norfolk-based, Malaysia-funded team, especially as Clive Chapman, son of founder Colin, was in attendance. "It was a shame, but again that's motor racing," remarked Gascoyne.