Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez went into Saturday’s decider with a 16-point deficit within the championship standings, however any hope they’d of beating the sister Toyota to the title was wrecked when Bamber locked up and hit the right-rear part of the #7 GR010 Hybrid at Flip 1.
The contact dropped Conway dropped all the best way right down to eleventh and allowed the #8 automotive shared by Buemi, Brendon Hartley and Ryo Hirakawa to take an easy win and with it the 2023 Hypercar title.
Toyota technical director Pascal Vasselon was unimpressed by Bamber’s driving in the beginning and felt he might have taken out each of the Japanese producer’s automotive from the race.
He stated: “Unimaginable. If you see a Cadillac locking tyres for 100 metres, you marvel the place you might be. Is it membership racing? It is completely unprofessional.
“We have seen it coming. It was 100 metres earlier than and he has… thankfully, our automotive resumed. Nevertheless it might have been the top of the race. So right here we’ve no phrases.
“It occurred in Fuji. Our two automobiles have been pushed out of the observe. And right here is similar. It is completely unprofessional.“
He added: “It is unhappy that these sort of issues occur at that stage. It is actually unhappy. You may have locking wheels the final 5 metres, sure, however 100 metres… it is superb.
“I might do this if I used to be [in the car].”
Picture by: Shameem Fahath
Vasselon felt WEC ought to impose stricter penalties to discourage drivers from being aggressive in the beginning, having believed the 2 Toyotas had been additionally exhausting executed by within the earlier spherical at Fuji.
“In Fuji all drivers behind us locked up,” he stated. “[Laurens] Vanthoor behind us missed the apex. Each Ferrari pushed one automotive out. We have now been fortunate once more with automotive #8 that we didn’t get any puncture, however Porsche #5 acquired a puncture.
“As a result of Fuji and right here – identical drawback. So sooner or later we simply want exhausting penalties for drivers doing this type of factor.“
On his half, two-time Le Mans 24 Hours winner Bamber defined he wasn’t attempting to make a move for second, however felt sorry for impacting the title probabilities of the #7 crew.
Conway, Lopez and Kobayashi had been in a position to recuperate to second by the beginning of the third hour after surviving the incident, however by then the #8 Toyota was already half a minute out in entrance.
“I used to be simply entering into,” he instructed Autosport. “I used to be fairly pleased with my place the place I used to be after which I used to be braking in the midst of the brake zone.
“Rapidly each entrance wheels locked which is de facto odd. After which to be sincere I launched the brakes and I attempted to keep away from each Toyotas, I did not wanna hit them.
Picture by: JEP / Motorsport Images
#7 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota GR010 – Hybrid: Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi, Jose Maria Lopez spins in the beginning of the race
“Almost prevented each of them, however simply took the #7. So it is an actual disgrace to have an effect on their race. Simply, actually, a really, very gentle contact and we simply spun the #7.
“However yeah, it is at all times crap to get a penalty about that. I really feel extra dangerous to be affecting these guys’ races.”
Cadillac had regarded sturdy in observe for the 8 Hours of Bahrain, with its drivers suggesting that the American producer might emerge as Toyota’s closest challenger within the race.
However the #2 Chip Ganassi-run V-Collection.R wasn’t as aggressive in race trim as many had anticipated, after a 60-second cease/go penalty dropped the automotive a lap off the lead.
“We had excessive hopes after Alex [Lynn] did an ideal job in qualifying and the automotive was actually good in observe,” stated Bamber’s team-mate Richard Westbrook.
“It could have been good to shut out the season on a excessive. We had been actually assured going into the race, however it wasn’t to be. We’ll take this one as a studying alternative and are available again stronger in 2024.”