• Engine supplier takes blame for Red Bull engine failure
• Jenson Button says he will not give up on title challenge
Red Bull’s engine supplier, Renault, has apologised to the Formula One team after a blown engine cost Sebastian Vettel victory in today’s Korean grand prix.
Vettel led from the start of the race and appeared set to take the lead in the drivers’ championship until his engine blew, 10 laps from the finish. His team-mate, Mark Webber, had spun out of the race while in second place.
Red Bull did not collect any points for the first time this season. Webber is now second in the drivers’ standings behind the race winner in Korea, Fernando Alonso of Ferrari. Vettel has fallen from second to fourth.
Renault’s principal engineer, Fabrice Lom, said his company “must apologise to the whole team for the engine failure on Seb’s car”.
“What a bad result for us,” he said. “We scored no points after starting on the front row – it’s a big disappointment.”
The Red Bull team principal, Christian Horner, said: “Some days motor racing can be cruel, and for Red Bull today it was unfortunately one of those days. We leave here still in the lead of the constructors’ [championship] and we’re still in it in the drivers’, too. We gave Fernando a big present today, but it was only two weeks ago that we were celebrating a one-two finish and we’ll be back in Brazil.”
Webber spun out on the second lap after a restart from a prolonged safety-car period, sliding across the track into a wall and rebounding back across the track, where he connected with the Mercedes of Nico Rosberg, ending the race for both.
“Today didn’t help me with the championship but I can absolutely still win it,” he said. “Positions aren’t the most important thing, points are, and they can change very quickly.”
Vettel is 25 points behind Alonso with two races left. The German needs a very favourable combination of results if he is to win the title.
“To be at the front of the field for the whole race, controlling it and looking after the tyres – there’s nothing more we could have done,” Vettel said. “We will keep our heads down and for the last two races. We have a very strong team and a strong car, and we know we are the quickest.”
McLaren’s Jenson Button refused to concede his chances of retaining the world championship. The Briton failed take a point; he trails Alonso by 42 points with only 50 left to collect.
“Until I can’t win it I will fight, right to the end,” Button said. “In 2007 if Kimi [Raikkonen] had sat back and walked away thinking he was not going to be world champion [the Finn was down by 17 points with two races remaining], then he wouldn’t have been world champion.
“The way to look at it is whether I can still win the championship, and as a world champion and someone who wants to fight for a world championship, you don’t give up until you can’t win it. Clearly I need people to have failures and not finish, which is very difficult because there are so many people in front of me.”
Button has ruled out the possibility of supporting his team-mate, Lewis Hamilton, who was second in Korea and is 21 points behind Alonso.
“No, I’ve enough points to win the championship,” Button said. “I have the smallest chance of winning it, I know that, but I’m going to fight until I don’t have the opportunity any more, and then obviously things will change.”