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Todt demands immediate action over Pirelli tyre failures; meeting set for Wednesday
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Posted By: James Allen  |  30 Jun 2013   |  7:50 pm GMT  |  294 comments

FIA president Jean Todt has demanded that F1 tyre supplier Pirelli attend a meeting of the Sporting Working Group, which was already scheduled to take place on Wednesday and is now set to be dominated by the quest for a safe solution to the tyre failures suffered by Pirelli in Silverstone.

THE SWG comprises FIA representatives as well as the Sporting Directors of each of the 11 Formula 1 teams.

Todt wants the Italian company to offer a proposal at the meeting of how it plans to correct the situation after five drivers suffered blow outs during the British Grand Prix. Pole sitter and race leader Lewis Hamilton was the first, with Felipe Massa, Jean Eric Vergne and Sergio Perez also suffering a left rear failure while Estaban Gutierrez suffered a left front failure.

Race winner Nico Rosberg and Fernando Alonso both reported that they too had suffered problems, but luckily for them it happened close to the pits and so did not end their race.

Hamilton and Massa both called the situation “unacceptable”.

Pirelli had wanted to introduce a revised specification of tyre at this race, but refused to press for it on safety grounds. As a result, the teams were not able to reach a unanimous decision to approve the new tyres.

Now the situation is different; Todt has called this a “safety problem” all options are open including the FIA imposing a change on safety grounds.

However when asked by this website whether the teams would back change this time round, Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali said,

“It’s something that we have to work together on as an F1 world to solve. I have an idea that of course we need to discuss in the next days – that we have a test here at Silverstone that is supposed to be with young drivers.

“Considering the fact that this track is very demanding for the tyres, and we can really with Pirelli do something during these [test] days to solve this issue I would also say use the race drivers – because this is also for them something very important.

“So I can guarantee to you that, from the team point of view, we are very open to trying to find a solution. This is something we all benefit from.”

The idea of the Young Driver Test being taken over as a safety test for 2013 tyres received universal approval in the paddock, although it was suggested that at least one or two of the days should be driven by experienced drivers, in addition to the young drivers.

Pirelli’s Paul Hembery did little with the media after the race, save for an interview with BBC TV, however his statement said, “There have obviously been some issues with rear-left tyre failures which we have not seen before. We are taking the situation very seriously and we are currently investigating all tyres to determine the cause as soon as possible, ahead of the next Grand Prix in Germany. At the moment, we can’t really say much more until we have fully investigated and analysed all of these incidents, which is our top priority.”

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1

Dear sir

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Ser Part No Nomenclature Qty

1 40312-5M500 TUBLESS TYRE 175/70R14 (N-16, NCP-92R, NZE-120R, LJ-120) 5

2 42652-60700/NIV COVER OUTER 265/65 R17 TUBELESS (PARADO LJ-120R, V-78, EE-100) 5

3 NIV COVER OUTER COMP 17.5R25-12 PLY (WHEEL LOADER 924H) SET 6

4 NIV COVER OUTER COMP 750 R 16 (10PR) (HZJ-70,71,75,79, PZJ-70, BJ-70,HTS-11J, W-41) SET 8

2

Another nail in the coffin of my interest in modern F1. This is what happens when you try turning a sport into a pantomime bernie!

3

I think the most important thing now, even before looking for who to blame, is work fast in solving a potential disaster should anyone get injured because of the tires.

Lets not forget that after Germany and Hungary, we have Spa and Monza coming, and I’m sure both drivers and teams will think twice before running there with these tires.

People will say that there is enough time to fix the problem before then, but whatever the solution or solutions proposed, they will have to be tested to make sure there will be no more safety concerns, and only after that the new tires will be manufactured.

Really, I don’t think there is any time left before doing something, as I would hate (not enough of a word)to see somebody injured or worse because of the delamination or an explosion of a time at full speed in one of those circuits.

4
Chris Anderson

Even though my favourite driver is currently leading the world championship, I have to say this is the worst F1 season I have ever watched. There is too much emphasis on tyres, and a lot of manipulation going on with it.

I blame it on the whole of F1. They took the word show too far. I am one of a few fans who does not mind seeing the fastest car win. If that means little over taking than tough.

Sport can’t always be thrilling and exciting. I don’t see Football changing there rules every season just create better TV

What we have now is stupid, and dangerous.

5

Two comments….

1) I found the suggestion that RBR (and I assume others) have been running tyre pressures well below Pirelli’s recommendation quite amazing.

I suppose the devil is in the detail as to whether it is a specification or recommendation. Equally, the concept of running tyres in their incorrect rotational specification for a performance gain is equally amazing.

I cant imagine that teams would drop any other component (that had safety implications) below it’s technical spec.

While I’m sure teams have been doing this with tyres for many years, perhaps these types of issues contribute to problems with this new generation of tyres.

I want to see F1 push technology to the limit, but not at the expense of risky engineering. Perhaps this is an area that needs to be added to scrutineering?

2) To echo someone else’s comment re the Lotus suspension issue that they have been running for the last two seasons, How can this have been missed by scrutineering? It begs the question, “what else is being missed”?

6

I agree with Horner and Domenicali that Formula One drivers, not young drivers, should be piloting the cars at the Young Drivers Test. If they are not, Mercedes will have received yet another advantage in their secret test. Moreover, if the Silverstone weather doesn’t cooperate (when does it ever?) there may be very little data from testing. Perhaps the FIA should force Pirelli and Mercedes to make all the data from Catalunya available to all the teams. Mercedes obviously learned something, look at Rosberg with no tire degradation and Hamilton able to work his way to fourth place instead of falling back through the field like they did prior to secret testing.

The FIA and WMSC are in shambles. The FIA is doing everything they can to keep Merc on the grid as a competitor, including a “reprimand” for Rosberg. Red Bull should appeal the decision to the FIA. If the FIA had any cojones they’d investigate and overrule the stewards, invoke a penalty and award the victory to Webber. Are they truly afraid to lose Merc and go down to nine teams next year?

And what are we to make of the WMSC stating that the weekend after Montreal next year is off limits to a New Jersey Grand Prix because it conflicts with the US Open Golf tournament.

Some “fans” might want to attend both events.

No doubt it’s the poor NBC brass who want to schmooze in the F1 paddock and in the golf tents. Bernie can easily schedule quali and the race for 11:30 AM or Noon, golf coverage doesn’t start until 2 PM Eastern Time. NBC thinks so much of F1 that they broadcast the dopers from the Tour de France live over the weekend and pushed F1 to tape delay. The race tape was scheduled to start at 11:30 AM Eastern, but they didn’t tell anyone they were delaying it for 15 minutes. When F1 fans tuned in at 11:30 they were greeted by someone doing a sports update, showing the podium finishers from Silverstone and telling viewers that Vettel had retired from the race. Bernie should tell them and the WMSC to shove it.

7

Hang on a minute. Weren’t all those tyre failures more to do w/ the layout of Silverstone’s kerbs rather than the Pirellis (short) lifespan?

On a similar issue a couple years back, Gary Anderson said it best when drivers were complaining about the kerbs in turns 10 – 12 of the Singapore race track being too high: it’s the nature of the circuit, the driver can always choose not to go through them. Tyres don’t get cut/sliced due to high loads. Sure its durability comes into play as to when (and how spectacular) it will deteriorate once the damage has been done, but it certainly didn’t inflict that sort of damage (cut/slice) to itself in the first place.

The drivers were warned multiple times to be careful of the kerbs, yet they continued to drive through it aggressively. It’s like being warned to watch out for Monaco’s barriers, but you continually brush them lap after lap and later on, after a failure, complain that your car’s suspension wasn’t sturdy enough to take all that bangin’!

Also, didn’t Alonso also suffer a slow puncture in Spain this year after also cutting his tyre? And the only thing that kept him going was the fact that Pirelli reinforced the structure of their sidewalls at the start of the year? Frankly, all this clamour for more “durable” and “safer” rubber are mostly from teams who failed to adapt to this year’s tyre specifications and are using this instance to (falsely) underline their position.

8

“Hang on a minute. Weren’t all those tyre failures more to do w/ the layout of Silverstone’s kerbs rather than the Pirellis (short) lifespan?”

To limit the tyres lifespan Pirelli are using softer compounds & different constructions & this has made them a lot more prone to been cut than before.

The kurbing at silverstone was unchanged this year & drivers were running the same lines over the kurbing this year that they have used the past few years without problems.

the gp2/gp3 drivers were also using the kurbs as were the porsche supercup & a few months back the wec cars.

the tyres should be able to withstand normal loads & should be able to withstand been driven over the same kurbing thats been there for years & the same kurbing that has caused zero problems in other racing categories.

there has been a lot more cut tyres this year than other years & that can only be down to pirelli’s softer 2013 compounds & more aggressive construction.

9

Lot of comments talking about how the problems seen this year are not Pirelli’s fault because of what they were asked to do & no testing etc…

Its true they were asked to make tyres that suffered from wear, However its 100% upto Pirelli how they go about doing that & the compounds & construction of the tyres is also 100% Pirelli’s decision.

This year Pirelli decided to make all the compounds significantly softer, Significantly change the sidewall construction & shape & introduce the steel belt & a new bonding process.

All the issue with tyres through 2013 stem solely from these changes, Changes that Pirelli & Pirelli alone decided to introduce.

With regards to testing, Its not ideal but Bridgestone didn’t have testing in 2009/2010 & Pirelli didn’t in 2011/2012 & we never saw the problems we have seen this year.

Plus Pirelli can test there tyres on Friday of race weekends, Something they hardly did until recently.

With regards to the kurb, Im not buying it.

The kurb is identical to how its been since 2010 & the drivers are taking the same line over it they have been doing since 2010.

Also if it was a kurb, We would have seen a lot of cuts through the weekend, Not just in F1 but also GP2/GP3 & the porsche’s.

Tyres been cut by kurbs would have been something which would have been obvious earlier in the weekend & would be something happening in every category.

10

To add.

Many of the problems seen with the 2013 tyres have been caused by the steel belt design, That was something Pirelli themselfs decided to change.

Im not even sure why as it makes the tyres more prone to suffering cuts because there’s then less give in both compound & construction.

It also makes tyres run hotter which also makes them more prone to overheating.

The change from kevlar to steel belt was a completely unnecisary change.

11

The drivers walk the track on Thursdays? Is it just to get some exercise or do they actually look at which bits to avoid?

The kerbs are outside the white lines and aren’t part of the race track, they shouldn’t be out there anyway. But since they don’t get penalised, they straighten the bends.

12

It is ridiculous to blame the kerbs for the tyre explosion and delaminations. Whilst the kerbs may indeed have caused the punctures/delaminations, the main responsibility obviously lies in the construction of the tyre.

F1 cars have always raced over kerbs since tracks were purpose built for racing; and tyres should be avble to stand up to this punishment. It is bit like saying there should be no need for crumple zones in cars, as the drivers should not be crashing the cars in the first place.

13

I recall M Schumacher being one of the most diligent in his track inspection. I think it was either James or Murray when commentating, who said that he inspected every part of the track-side where his car might end up. Even checking the depth of gravel, and whether it was compacted. I remember seeing him testing the limits of adhesion both on-track and just off-track, during early practice.

14

Interestingly the picture of Vettel’s tyre seen here

https://sidepodcast.com/static/image/content/newey-vettel-tyre-0-300px.jpg

and assuming this is a rear left, the profile of the cut is similar to the profile of the kerb highlighted by Gary Anderson on the BBC.

I can’t see timescales allowing a change of tyre back to the 2012 spec or any other similar action. All I can see happening pre Nürburgring, is a frantic replacement of similar kerbs, and a proactive safety car for quick removal for any debris resulting from a collision.

Ultimately the FIA have to be responsible for this mess.

15

FW14B thanks for the link. At last some real evidence to look at, rather than a zillion rabid comments. A number of press comments in the past about Red Bull running lower tyre pressures to get better performance, possibly many other teams now follow that route. This would definitely put more stress on the shoulder/tread/sidewall joints. F1 tyres have a stiffer tread/carcass structure than a road tyre. More movement in the sidewall than the tread. Couple that with the sharp kerb and you have a reasonable hypothesis.

16

I really feel for Pirelli who have tried everything to try and get things fixed. All they have come up against are barriers whether from the FIA teams or drivers who are all driving there own agenda.

I can’t see why people are criticising them when they have clearly been trying to fix the problem. The only mistake they have made is building them in the first place but all they have done since us try and fix things. They must be thinking why they bothered in the first place!

17

“Pirelli’s Paul Hembery did little with the media after the race, save for an interview with BBC TV”.

I believe he also told Sky the same thing.

18

That’s what happens when you an Italian company to make tyres that is “filled with drama”. LOL

19

Not tires but bubble gums, and some clever dicks advised to use soft and supersoft for this race, appealing that Pirelli is backing Merc and RBR.

20

This tyre situation is now a critical safety issue and unless dramatic changes are enacted THIS WEEK – which may not be feasible – it is highly likely the drivers will (rightly) choose not to drive in Germany.

Yesterday’s race was a sickening display of putting sporting spectacle and commercial considerations before people’s lives. The race should have been stopped. Simple.

It’s all too easy for pundits and fans and the seething mass of commercial interests hooked into this sport to pontificate endlessly on these tyre failures, but it is the drivers and the marshalls at trackside who are in danger here. Sure, motorsports have always been dangerous – as tragic recent events at Le Mans and North America have sadly demonstrated – and drivers know there is a risk every time they step into their race-car. But this is different. Tyres are a standard supplied component and should be safe for use.

A meeting on Wednesday will do little to allay fears as that is too close to the German GP to enact any substantial changes. Changing the YDT to a full-on all-team tyre test can certainly help matters and should happen, but again, it is too late for Germany.

There is a genuine moral dimension to this issue now which the sport would be foolish to ignore. Knowingly risking young men’s lives and well-being for the sake of sporting spectacle is hugely detrimental to the image of the sport, and if a serious even fatal incident was to occur in these circumstances, could even jeopardise its very survival.

21

The whole F1 tyre situation is completely daft. As we know the current regulations demand limited tyre life and given the number of sets allocated per car/race for a 19/20 race season that’s a scandalous waste of material. F1 is afterall trying to be eco-friendly with smaller fuel efficient engines next season. Lets get back to flat out racing and return F1 to its rightful place as a platform for the development of safer long life tyres.

22

wow. just saw the video of the FIA approved curbing that has apparantly not been previously ridiculed as being stupid and dangerous by Pirelli, the Teams, the drivers, the media, sponsors, the FOM, and now the fans???

it does not seem possible to me that this curbing design had nothing to do with the F1 joke of the day. it certainly gives the appearance of being being fully capable of cutting a flexible, distorting, oscillating, spinning and sliding tire.

of course, this is conjecture at this point. while I have decidedly not been a fan of nor user of Pirelli since 1973, I suspect their forensic analysis will correctly show the FIA, Teams, Silverstone, and drivers all share heavily in the complicity.

instead of the drivers staging a boycott, I believe much more long-term good would come of Pirelli boycotting F1 until F1 get their stuff in order…

23

Dear James & All,

It is obvious that FIA & Pirelli are panicking. What do you think about the following suggestion?

2 compounds only – 1soft, 1 hard.

Compulsory use of both, at least for 10 laps each.

Minimum 2 pit stops.

24

There is absolutely no problem with 4 compounds – 2 to be races at any given circuit. I cant see why any compound can’t last 20 laps with a performance diff of say 1 sec. All Pirelli have to do is select say soft & hard on certain tracks or whatever . What we had late last year was perfect – WHY THE HELL DID THEY CHANGE IT. All they had to do was mix them up a bit more this year because eveyonen was dirty that Pirelli were so conservative after Singapore – that’s it.. The Kevlar construction is obviously better and more reliable.

25

Awesome…except they’ve got to last 10 laps…

26

F1 has strayed too far over the line between sport and entertainment. Yesterday was a farce and the entire season has no value due to the artificial races.

F1 has chased the casual audience and forgotten what it was supposed to be about.

28

“F1 has chased the casual audience and forgotten what it was supposed to be about.”

Finally… someone who I can agree with, all these casual fans need to bugger off and watch 20/20 cricket… and leave the test matches to the fans.

I hope you people don’t mind a cricket analogy?

29

Kerbs bite. Just a reminder of the possibility. Everyone needs a good nap and a reminder that they saw one of the most action packed and dramatic races so far of the season with a killer finish.

30

Regardless of what Pirelli were asked to produce in order to “spice up” the racing, they as a manufacturer have a duty to produce a product that is safe. Even if it can be demonstrated that the raised kerb edging was a contributing factor the tyres should not have disintegrated in the manner they did.

What will Pirelli supply for the German GP?

Whether the teams agree to the tyre change or not, if Pirelli supply the same tyres knowing there is an issue with their safety for the German GP and somebody gets hurt due to a tyre failure, somebody high up in Pirelli will have free room and board courtesy of the German government.

31

German track is not same as the british track not as many long speed corners therefore less stress on the tyres even the naughty teams who run low pressures ; )

32

James, do you have any idea what the FIA demand of the manufacturer in their “tyre specifications”? The FIA after all are not the tyre specialists here, Pirelli are. I wonder to what degree do the FIA dictate what Pirelli do with the tyres.

At least now we’re finally talking about some on track testing again. With all the fuss made about safety in F1, all the load and crash tests involved, it’s absurd that the only point of contact the car has with the road (not counting the Lotus) is basically tested twice just before the season starts, and in entirely unrepresentative conditions that the sport then makes an effort to avoid all season.

It’s amazing this sport is still going really…

33

James and we wonder why Mark Webber is leaving.

He is probably tyred of Pirelli not being able to get a grip of the situation without falling apart.

I’ve said it in previous posts about Pirelli and brand was already on the skids but this last race is likely to blow up in their face!

What’s the next thing FIA are going to pick up from Super Mario Racing?

Maybe they can have bonus points for avoiding obstacles (tyre carcasses) and pick up special bonus items for speed boost (DRS)…

Oh wait they have already done that.

I hear Alonso is already preparing for next years regulations by growing a mustache!

34

The FIA and Pirelli need to take respinsibility For this farce.The way I see it is that the teams should test /use the 2012 Kevlar based tyres immediately if possible.

Except for Mercedes and Ferrari who have already carried out their secret/ private/sneaky tests- they can only use young drivers to test safety.- this would give their young drivers a fair go and both teams a satisfactory basis for safety going into Nurburgring. Keep in mind the other 9 teams will happily verify their safety :).

Im still mythed that Mercedes with all its brain power and 3 years now-can’t do what the likes of Force India and Lotus have done in this regard.

James, has Pirelli ever said to the teams and FIA – they cannot guarantee the integrity of the tyre during the season. I find them very weak for not standing their ground with the FIA by saying they wont compromise the itegrity of their product- which is exactly whats happened. Especially going from marginal tyres last year- to softener ones again this year ?. I just find it bizarre that the FIA can keep pushing in this direction. If it wanted mixed racing all they had to tell Pirelli was to use a wider range of last years tyres- ie Soft and Hards, even super softs – their still better than this years. I know they took a fraction longer to warm up, by this year the teams have found more downforce and heat up anyway. This constant thrust to re-engineer entertainment is just garbage..It’s the Sport that suffers !

This highlights Webbers timing on leaving is perfect !

35

+1000

Thats the biggest story of the weekend, and no one is talking about it. The “reprimand” and ban from YDT is a joke, Merc have transformed their race pace and tyre degradation issues since Barcelona, and I am sure that this was part of their normal development (without the secretive test), right??? LMAO

Great work FIA, a slap on the wrist when a team is found guilty of cheating!!! It’s a slap in the face to all other teams that work hard for ingenuity and innovations within the rules.

36

No no no, you’re completely wrong. Take note of this interview question to Rosberg and his answer:

‘Nico, do you think that without the Montmelo test Mercedes could be winning races like now?’

Nico: ‘For sure, yeah. Definitely.’

See? You must be wrong 😉

37

So the Merc test is about to be front and center again, I would think.

The complete and utter incompetence of the FIA is mind blowing. I know you seasoned F1 fans are used to this with [mod] Mosely and his favored pets but I had no idea it was this poorly run.

First Ecelstone is brilliant in his divide and conquer management style. Keeping these teams and the FIA from being able to govern the sport for this long has been pretty shrewd on his part. From setting up the board in a manner that is totally under his control to not having a true governing body it is a control freaks fantasy. All this from a beginning position The Borgias Pope Alexander VI would be green with envy if he were alive now.

The FIA and Pirelli and FOM (i think that is right) all have egg on there face. This was completely avoidable. James I listened to the stream of your post race analysis on BBC and I heard all about the curb for turn 4 I think it is. While that curb is probably what damaged the tires that does not mean the tires were blameless. The US broadcast had a real good shot of Sebs tire and it was not pretty. No tire should be that soft.

Back to Merc, as I understand it the ruling from the IT was purely political. I say that because Merc apparently had permission from Whiting so they were in the clear. Pirelli had permission via their contract although there is some question as to whether they had give proper notice. So the IT really should have done nothing since they probably have no jurisdiction over Pirelli and Merc had implied permission. Yet they had to do something to make the other teams happy and to excuse Ferrari for their test at the same time. Of course if they did something severe to Merc they would very likely end up in a real court where they would be enjoined from doing anything and possibly had to pay damages. Not to mention be under the threat of discovery, deposition, and subpoena. That had to be avoided at all cost while trying to prevent a revolt from the other teams. Then you have there crazy ruling that Pirelli couldn’t change the construction of the tires unless the teams agreed to it. Who is running this show? Do the stewards have to g to get the teams to vote unanimously for a drive through penality? Wait Alonso did get an unsafe release today as well as his other transgressions.

In the end they need to change the tires and change them for good.

Jean Todt has to go. He and he alone have been at the heart of the past 2 tire scandals. Indy 2005 and now Silverstone 2013. Both could have been avoided but in both the interest of a single team or a couple of teams outweighed the sport.

There I think I just landed on it, there doesn’t seem to be anyone looking out for the good of the sport. That is sad.

38

Ferrari and other Bridgestone runners were absolutely correct in their protest against altering the track just because it did not suit Michelin runners. Bridgestone brough safe tires, Michelin did not. Why punish Bridgestone for Michelin’s errors ?

Having said that, if Michelin, Bridgestone and Pirelli were all competing together, the former 2 would have Pirellis for breakfast,lunch and dinner !

39

That is my whole issue, the inmates are running the asylum in F1. It should have never been up to the teams what to do. The decision should have been made the governing body for the good of the sport.

Surely you do not suggest that Indy 2005 was good for the image of the sport. Especially not in the US where many see it as less than manly racing and filled with cry babies.

40

Now now that one I agree 100% 🙂

41

A lot of what you say is true, except for the fact that Jean Todt was only Team Principal at Ferrari at the time while Max Mosley was President of the FIA.

You might argue that Todt contributed by letting Ferrari race on the Bridgestones when the Michelin shod opposition pulled out, but that race was basically free points for Ferrari – and any team principal worth his salt would have made the same call.

42

Right and Ferrari vetoed making a common sense change to the track under the direction of Jean Todt.

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