Mar.28 (GMM) In darkness at Albert Park very late on Sunday, Red Bull technicians identified the problem that ruined Sebastian Vettel’s charge to victory.
A simple spark plug cost the 22-year-old the Bahrain win two weeks ago, and now it is confirmed that a damaged wheel mounting due to a vibrating wheel nut was the cause of another foiled run from pole position.
Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport said the left front wheel nut worked loose and damaged the mounting, which then speared Vettel into the gravel and retirement under braking.
The report said the garage inspection of the RB6 took just 15 minutes, involving head of engineering Ian Morgan, designer Adrian Newey and their boss Christian Horner.
Suspecting a problem with the fitting of the wheel in the pitstop, Horner said: “In 6000 kilometres of testing nothing like this happened.”
That is small comfort for Vettel, who is now 25 points behind Fernando Alonso’s early title lead.
“Of course it is annoying. Yet another defect,” he said. “I could be going to Malaysia with 50 points.”