Red Bull Racing is keeping its fingers crossed that Sebastian Vettel's chances of fighting for victory in the final two races of the season are not compromised by the engine he lost at the Korean Grand Prix.
Vettel was robbed of a near certain victory in Korea on Sunday when his engine blew up in the closing stages of the race. Having already been quite marginal on engine mileage, after having had his running in Saturday practice limited, Vettel could face further handicaps in the next two events. Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner was optimistic, however, that the loss of the Renault unit – which had done 1,600 kilometers of its 2,000 kilometer life – would not hinder Vettel too much.
"Hopefully it will have a negligible effect on him," said Horner. "Hopefully he has enough engine mileage to be able to run unaffected until the end of the year. He was a bit tight on mileage this weekend, which is why he did fairly few laps, and obviously it is not an ideal situation."
Horner said that there had been no early warning about Vettel's engine before it failed.
"The first indication we had was when he came on the radio just approaching the start-finish straight and said 'engine problem,'" explained Horner. "Then obviously it was visible for everyone to see when he got to the end of the pit straight, so it was a completely instantaneous engine issue.
"There was no warning and we have no idea why. It was very cruel luck for Sebastian. He had done everything right, as had the team, and to lose a grand prix almost within sight of the finish is very, very frustrating."