Motorsport: Webber struggles amidst engine probe

An ongoing investigation into Red Bull Racing's engine mapping could hamper Mark Webber's bid to re-ignite his Formula One title chase in Hungary this weekend.

Webber struggled for pace in last night's German Grand Prix, eventually finishing eighth in a race won by championship leader Fernando Alonso, who now holds a 34-point lead over the Australian.

The result came after revelations pre-race that the FIA had referred Red Bull to the stewards to investigate irregularities relating to the torque map used by the team's Renault engines during qualifying at Hockenheim.

Although stewards subsequently deemed the Red Bulls to be legal, team principal Christian Horner didn't think the issue would end at that with an FIA statement claiming the stewards "do not accept all the arguments of the team''.

An F1 technical working group meeting is scheduled to be held in London later on Monday, local time, and Horner expects the mapping issue to be raised there.

"The regulations are clear, so there could well be further technical directives that are designed to try and further clarify those regulations,'' Horner told motoring website Autosport.com.

Although it appears Red Bull won't face any punishment over the issue, a clarification or alteration of the rules could force some hurried technical changes.

And with the Hungarian Grand Prix being held this Sunday, Webber will be hoping the issue doesn't distract his team from solving the speed issues which dogged him in Germany.

Having to start from eighth on the grid after a five-spot penalty for replacing a gearbox before qualifying, Webber never threatened to challenge during the race.

He said he was at a loss to explain why his RB8 was so slow.

"I just couldn't do the lap times,'' Webber said.

"We thought about doing something different strategy-wise, but if you don't have the pace you can't even do that.

"What happened this afternoon is bizarre because we've been so competitive in the last few races and here I finished 40 seconds behind the winner.''

Despite the disappointing weekend in Germany, Webber was staying positive going into Hungary.

Webber won at the Hungaroring in 2010 and appeared to be happy to be heading to eastern Europe.

"We'll look long and hard into what happened at Hockenheim to ensure we're back to our usual levels of competitiveness,'' he said.

"What Germany proved above all else is how important it is to start at the front. If you're back in the pack, you get caught up in slower cars and that results in you dropping even further back.

"I'm confident that we can be strong again.''

- AAP

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