Dutton: Our fuel numbers were wrong

  • Repco Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 20/10/2014
  • By V8 Supercars

Red Bull principal Mark Dutton has confirmed the team made an error calculating the fuel numbers at the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000.

Star driver Jamie Whincup - in the lead of the race after starting 23rd and fighting through a number of setbacks - refused to back down in the closing laps, despite his team's calls to conserve fuel.

Dutton admitted on the Red Bull Racing Australia website - which describes the weekend as the team's toughest in its 11 year history - the team let down Whincup, but also implies the five-time Champ should have listened in the closing stages.

"We've learnt that we can do things better ... unfortunately this was the worst time for his [Whincup's] faith in us to be let down," Dutton said on the team's website.

"The car was full after its last stop - we couldn't have got more fuel in there.

"The other frontrunners all did stops closer to the end so they all had more fuel in at the end. We decided not to do that because we thought we were on target and we were hitting our numbers, but there were some errors with our numbers and we're not hiding that.

"Jamie had ultimate faith in the team's numbers being right, so he was averaging the target numbers the whole time.

"In the pits, with the lack of pressure from other cars, we wanted some insurance in case our numbers were wrong, but he was confident those numbers were right. The accuracy we run our numbers to makes it a highly complex equation to allow the drivers maximum speed."

In the closing laps, Dutton even jumped on the radio, which did generate a response from Whincup. The former #1 engineer did not mention having to step in, or his feelings on Whincup actions, who ultimately took the race into his own hands.

"Either way, our numbers should have been right, first and foremost, and we've got to investigate why. Then he should have taken the opportunity for the insurance and driven to what we were telling him later, but he didn't," Dutton said.

The team is putting every effort in to the weekend's Castrol EDGE Gold Coast 600, and with the tight turnaround - similarly to many other teams - the workload has been heavy.

"Everyone's feeling very tired, but positive to move on," Dutton said. "Everyone's looking forward to the Gold Coast, but no one's had a break since Bathurst. Bathurst was huge and then combine that with an average of three or four hours sleep a night every night of that week, that makes it even tougher.

"Combine that with the disappointment of the last lap on Sunday and it all takes a physical and emotional toll on everyone because every single person invests so much of their energy into what we do.

"Everyone is definitely burning the candles at both ends now to try and ensure that Gold Coast is a much neater and cleaner weekend with smooth running. If we roll out with fast cars, everyone's smiling even if you're doing repairs."

In the article, he also weighed in on the pit lane penalties handed to both Whincup, after an unsafe re-entry to the track, punting Todd Kelly; and Craig Lowndes' nudge of Mark Winterbottom, which meant the two contenders once again finished behind points leader Whincup.

"I definitely have to watch the race again and see the incidents with open, non-biased eyes," he said. "Jamie's was fair for what happened - the other car doesn't have to move.

"Craig's I'm not so sure. It was more of a racing incident because Craig's got one car right on his tail, Winterbottom seemed to be a little bit sideways because he's tried to cover Jamie, which he couldn't, so he's made a mistake and then the domino effect of his mistake was that when cars are bunched up like that it's easy to be turned around. I think less warranted Craig's than Jamie's."

Click here to read the full article from Red Bull Racing Australia.

What are your thoughts on those closing laps? Tell us below.

Click here for more information on the October 24-26 Castrol EDGE Gold Coast 600 and to buy tickets.

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