You know that feeling, where you just feel like closing your eyes, exhaling and shaking your head? That’s the way I’m starting to feel about Pirelli.
I started off supporting Pirelli saying that the teams asked them to changed the tyres, and that’s what they’ve done. However 6 tyre failures in one race, is just unacceptable. It cost Lewis Hamilton the win, Sebastian Vettel’s tyre turned out to be cut just before his pit stop, and Nico Rosberg’s was also starting to fail so made a precautionary pit stop. To deem them unsafe, is an understatement in my eyes. If we have to wait until someone gets hurt, then what on earth happened to driver safety? What happens if a tyre fails, and a driver slams into a barrier and gets injured? Pirelli can’t just stand there, say sorry, and blame something else.
They started off by saying that Silverstone’s circuit kerbs were the reason for the failures. If so, how come there were no incidents during any of the free practice sessions, or GP2, GP3 and the Porsche Supercars events? It doesn’t add up. It’s easy to blame someone else, but to blame something so irrelevant like a kerb is pointless. Pirelli then said that the tyres were ‘safe’. If they are safe, why are they taking the new construction tyres to Germany? Surely if they were safe, they wouldn’t need the new tyres? It doesn’t make any sense.
During the British Grand Prix there were 5 major tyre blow outs (Hamilton, Massa, Perez, Vergne, Gutierrez). I was watching Anthony Davidson on SkyF1 earlier, and he pointed out something I had been thinking previously. Cast your minds out to when we first started to see tyre delamination’s, like Lewis Hamilton in Bahrain or Paul Di Resta in Spain. When they delaminated, the steel belt from the tyre was still attached. To show you what I mean, here’s a comparison of Lewis’ tyre delamination’s –
So what’s changed? How come they are more dangerous now, than they were 2 or 3 races ago? Isn’t it supposed to be the other way around?
Charlie Whiting even admitted that he was close to calling off the race after adding “It was quite close. It did occur to me that we might need to do that. We have not seen a failure like this before. Clearing up all that debris was putting marshals at risk, and that is not very satisfactory.” This has gotten so problematic that Jean Todt has told Pirelli that they need to participate in a sporting working group meeting, which will take place on Wednesday.
Adrian Newey has said “Safety-wise, there are potentially two issues. The car that has the failure but also suddenly you have three kilos of tread flying around. If that hits the following car in the helmet it doesn’t bear thinking about. But that has to be a risk, and as such there is a lesson that should be learned from today and I will be very surprised if it isn’t.”
Christian Horner and Stefano Domenicali have also suggested that the Young Driver Test should be scrapped and replaced with a fully-fledged tyre test, although Martin Whitmarsh wants something more urgent. Whitmarsh added that he wasn’t considering withdrawing (with reports suggesting teams will boycott) but it’s something all the teams and drivers will have to look at. He later said “we have to support Pirelli and make sure we give them all the information and enough time to make the right decisions.”
Here’s some images of Sergio Perez, Felipe Massa and Jean-Eric Vergne’s tyre blow outs from the weekend –
It’s not necessarily about pointing the finger at Pirelli and saying they’re to blame, because that’s no use. It’s about finding a solution, and taking these drivers out of a danger that doesn’t need to be there.