Tyre manufacturer Pirelli have insisted this afternoon that the ‘combined effect of debris on the track and prolonged tyre usage’ are to blame for the spectacular tyre failures suffered by Sebastian Vettel and Nico Rosberg at the Belgian GP.
In a statement released this afternoon, the Italian supplier essentially re-iterated what they said at Spa two weeks ago. Since thenhowever; they have performed thorough examinations on tyres used in the race and also tested them on a rig.
According to the governing body, the FIA, tests found that ‘the remaining tread thickness on Sebastian Vettel’s rear tyres was approximately 30% at the time of the failure making the tyre more susceptible to damage from even small pieces of debris.’
In an unusual move, FOM, the sport’s owners, also issued a statement expressing both their support and gratitude towards Pirelli who they described as a ‘first class partner of Formula One’. FOM issued the following statement to the media about the situation as follows this afternoon:-
‘Pirelli has been a first class partner of Formula One during the five seasons in which it has been the Official Supplier of Tyres to the FIA Formula One World Championship and we continue to have full confidence in the safety, quality and suitability of its tyres.
‘Within the constraints of safety considerations, which are always paramount, Formula One encourages Pirelli to provide tyre compounds with performance limitations because tyre degradation contributes to the challenge and entertainment of a Formula One race. When doing so, Pirelli provides strong guidance to competitors about any performance limitations of the tyres supplied. Competitors should heed Pirelli’s expert advice when setting their race strategy and tactics, and if they do not, it is at their own risk.
‘We are entirely satisfied that Pirelli was not at fault for any tyre-related incidents during the 2015 Formula 1 Shell Belgian Grand Prix.
‘Pirelli has offered to provide to each car a single set of tyres to last for an entire Event. While we know that they would be very capable of it, a race with no pit stops would be less exciting.
‘Thank you, Pirelli, for helping us to deliver excitement to Formula One fans!’
Vettel was running third at the Belgian GP when his Ferrari suffered a blowout on the penultimate lap of the race and described the failures as “unacceptable” immediately afterwards.
However, Pirelli expressed surprise that Ferrari had placed their driver on a one-stop strategy (including an attempted stint of 29 laps of the gruelling track) and continue to insist the structural integrity of their tyres is of the required standard. According to the firm, their tyres suffered a total of 63 cuts at Spa.
In a statement to the media this afternoon, Pirelli issued the following statement on the matter as follows:-
‘Technical analysis confirms the absence of any structural problem with the tyres used at the Belgian Grand Prix. Tests have shown that the failures at Spa were down to the exceptional combined effects of debris on the track and prolonged tyre usage on a circuit that is particularly demanding.
‘At the Belgian Grand Prix there were 63 cuts in the tyres, compared to an average of 1.2 cuts per circuit in the previous 15 events (including races and tests).’
Pirelli then further added the following to their statement:-
‘In order to guarantee greater safety, Pirelli proposes with the FIA to undertake a study to optimise the way in which circuits are cleaned.’
The FIA also released a statement, in which it said it is ‘satisfied with the thoroughness of the investigation and Pirelli’s conclusions as to the reasons for the tyre failures in Belgium’.