Exclusive interview with Helmut Marko: Vettel's blowout a mystery

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In an interview with Autoblog UK, Helmut Marko revealed his unease at not knowing what caused Sebastian Vettel's tyre failure in Abu Dhabi.

Can you tell us yet what happened to Sebastian's car?
Helmut Marko: We only know that the tyre blew out. We don't know what caused the tyre failure, and it's not going to be easy finding out either. Shame really.

Is there too little left of the tyre?
Helmut Marko: In fact, there's nothing left.

So driving all the way round to the pits finished it off, together with the suspension on that wheel...
Helmut Marko: By Turn 10, the suspension, drive shaft and various other parts had already been wrecked.

Pity about Sebastian's record run of race finishes...
Helmut Marko: Yes, unfortunately. What happened out there simply wasn't in our control. Today, everything went wrong. Mark's pit stop didn't work.

What happened there?
Helmut Marko: A wheel nut came loose. The mechanic fitting the wheel didn't notice that the gun didn't have a nut in it. So the stop took twice as long as usual.

Would Mark have held on to third if it hadn't been for that botched pit stop?
Helmut Marko: Yes, certainly. We made the extra stop to get the undercut. According to our calculations, it would have worked if the pit stop had gone to plan.

Is failure particularly tough to swallow when you're not accustomed to it, or do you tell yourself, hey, we've had so much success recently that we can't complain when the odd thing goes wrong?
Helmut Marko: The trouble is, we haven't been able to establish the cause of the fault, and that makes for a rather uncomfortable situation. If we know we've done something wrong, OK we can live with that. And when we saw the lap times, it was apparent that the opposition weren't all that fast after all. You saw the times that Webber was posting. If Vettel had been out there, he would have been very competitive.

Will you be working with Pirelli to analyse the cause?
Helmut Marko: We'll certainly be exploring all avenues, because we have to know what triggered it.