Pirelli unveils short and long term fixes for tyre failures
Posted By: James Allen  |  02 Jul 2013   |  7:18 pm GMT  |  338 comments

[Updated] Pirelli has announced a package of measures ahead of tomorrow’s meeting of the FIA Sporting Working Group in Germany, aimed at addressing the tyre failures witnessed at Silverstone at the weekend.

The press release from the Italian company, issued this evening, is likely to cause waves among teams as it essentially accuses them of misusing the tyres, claiming that the tyres are safe if used correctly. However the change of specification has been unilaterally put through by the FIA on the grounds of safety. FIA president Jean Todt described it on Sunday night as “a safety problem”.

Pirelli also calls on the FIA to give it much greater powers to control and police the use of tyres by teams.

There is a strengthened rear tyre for the German Grand Prix weekend – the kevlar belted rear development tyre which was tested briefly in Montreal last month – where the soft and medium compounds will be used and then a revised tyre, based on 2012 construction with a kevlar belt will be tested at the Young Drivers Test at Silverstone 17-19 July, which will feature race drivers too.

If these tyres pass muster, the new range will be made available from the Hungarian Grand Prix at the end of July onwards.

Pirelli has analysed the causes of the failures in Silverstone and believes them to be as follows:

1) Rear tyres that were mounted the wrong way round: in other words, the right hand tyre being placed where the left hand one should be and vice versa, on the cars that suffered failures. The tyres supplied this year have an asymmetric structure, which means that they are not designed to be interchangeable. The sidewalls are designed in such a way to deal with specific loads on the internal and external sides of the tyre. So swapping the tyres round has an effect on how they work in certain conditions. In particular, the external part is designed to cope with the very high loads that are generated while cornering at a circuit as demanding as Silverstone, with its rapid left-hand bends and some kerbs that are particularly aggressive.

2) The use of tyre pressures that were excessively low or in any case lower than those indicated by Pirelli. Under-inflating the tyres means that the tyre is subjected to more stressful working conditions.

3) The use of extreme camber angles.

4) Kerbing that was particularly aggressive on fast corners, such as that on turn four at Silverstone, which was the scene of most of the failures. Consequently it was the left-rear tyres that were affected.

On the subject of teams running lower tyre pressures, Pirelli has asked the FIA for this to be subject to “accurate and future examinations”. Pirelli has also asked for compliance with these rules to be checked by a dedicated delegate.

Clearly unwilling to be made to look bad any more, Pirelli wants some control over the way the teams are allowed to use the tyres. As this will require regulatory change, it may take time but what the company has in mind is, “real-time data from the teams regarding fundamental parameters such as pressure, temperature and camber angles.”

As for the new range of tyres to be tested at Silvertsone prior to debut in Hungary, Pirelli says,

“The new tyres will have a symmetrical structure, designed to guarantee maximum safety even without access to tyre data – which however is essential for the optimal function of the more sophisticated 2013 tyres. The tyres that will be used for the Hungarian Grand Prix onwards will combine the characteristics of the 2012 tyres with the performance of the 2013 compounds. Essentially, the new tyres will have a structure, construction and belt identical to that of 2012, which ensured maximum performance and safety. The compounds will be the same as those used throughout 2013, which guaranteed faster lap times and a wider working range.”

It remains to be seen how the new range of tyres will affect the balance of the world championship battle. They will clearly behave in a different way from the 2013 tyres used so far, so there will be winners and losers.

It’s too simplistic to say at this stage that competitive teams who were disadvantaged by the 2013 tyres, such as Mercedes and Red Bull, will gain from the change or that teams who were on top of them, like Lotus, Ferrari and Force India, will lose out.

It may work out that way, but until we have seen the new tyres in action at Budapest and particularly Spa we will not know for sure how the rest of the championship will shape up.

* Late last night Pirelli motorsport boss Paul Hembery issued a second statement, denying that the original was aimed at pinning blame for the Silverstone problems on the teams,

“Contrary to the impression that some people have formed, I would like to underline the collaboration and support that we are receiving from the teams, drivers, FIA and FOM. In no way are we intending to create arguments or attack anybody. We have taken our responsibilities upon ourselves as our press release indicates. But not having full control over all the elements that impact on the use of the tyres, we need everybody’s contribution. With regard to this, we are receiving the full support of all the parties involved, for which we are very grateful.”

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I think this is the prelude to Pirelli leaving at the end of 2014 (or earlier if they find a viable get out clause). As far as Pirelli are concerned their time in F1 has been nothing but one PR disaster after another, with them being on the receiving end of a seemingly endless run of internal political plays and unable to get the return they were expecting.


Going back to 2012 spec construction is minimising cost, if they offer no significant changes for the 2014 tyre they'll be leaving.


Let us hope so. Their response to this has been shameful: essentially sticking their fingers in their ears while shouting "Not our fault, the tires are safe" over and over.

* They could and should have acknowledged there was a safety problem ages ago, when it became clear there was an issue, instead of inventing magical, invisible debris cutting tires

* They could and should have pushed through a fix immediately that the problem was found, which they could have done simply by admitting there was a safety issue

* They could and should have requested a tire test with *all* teams given adequate notice and the opportunity to attend. The teams, almost certainly, would have agreed in the majority if not unanimously, making it easy for the FIA to give the nod as well.

They chose to do none of the above, and even at this late stage when it becomes clear their tires are about as appropriate to a modern F1 car as discs of butter would be, they *still* insist themselves completely blameless, and pretend their tires are safe.

They're not, and it's high time we arranged a replacement. Personally, I'd like to see the tire war return, because it added a significant element of excitement to the sport and made it possible for the tire company to gain positive marketing out of the situation.

As a spec tire supplier, there is no PR win available, only a PR loss -- which is almost certainly why Pirelli has acted as it has. If we're going to go with spec tires, they should simply be bought on the teams behalf, made to an FIA spec, and run completely unbranded so that there is no perceived shame in admitting to and fixing fundamental safety issues in those tires.


The blame lies at the door of the FIA, you can't blame Pirelli for making technically sophisticated tyres which need to be used correctly and you can't blame the teams for swapping, under inflating and over cambering them to gain advantage. Unless the FIA lay the ground rules Pirelli are forced to over engineer the tyres so they are safe no matter what the teams do, do we really want that?



Exactly! With the way they invent one ridiculous story after the other instead of admitting the obvious, Pirelli is rapidly coming across as a company without the slightest respect for principles and personal good standing.

If they had admitted issues and fixed them in a timely fashion, this nonsense would have been contained long ago. Now it has become a faecal whirlwind thats soiling all of F1.



What do your F1 TV viewer ratings do for the sport? Does the new outrage seeking audience actually pay to buy F1 merchandice? Pay to attend live events? etc? It ends with TV rights, while real F1 earnings you can reckon trackside tumble... All for the "show." 🙂

It is not for Pirelli to entertain us with rubbish tyres no one asked for.

If Pirelli cannot produce tyres that last or do not detonate spectacularly, them let them do the walkies, because others can do the job.

Robert: "how do you avoid processional racing without forcing stops for tyres?"

Quade: Hunh?!!!

Sir, you are asking a question about a problem that does not exist in todays F1. DRS has taken care of overtaking to the extent that it has become so rampant that many are now asking that it be cut back. "Processional?" Anything, but.

Why are you interested in unecessary tyre gimmicks, instead of pure and proper racing?

How about we install flooding systems to water the place "real good" when tracks are dry? Or we introduce dice to determine the race winner?



@Quade -- what part of "forcing pitstops" did you not understand? I didn't say tyres helped overtaking, I said they forced pitstops, because that allows the order to change as much as overtaking. Which should be clear to someone that actually watches the sport.

And more importantly, I've noticed that YOU DID NOT HAVE AN ANSWER TO MY QUESTION - how do you avoid processional racing without forcing stops for tyres? See...right there...not a single constructive word on how to improve our sport, other than "get rid of Pirelli". Which does nothing per se to avoid processional racing.

And as for "not a show the World fancies", actually, viewership is through the roof, check the Neilsen ratings. Artificial or not, races are a lot more exciting over the past few years that Pirelli have been involved, and viewers have noticed. Even if it is filled with controversy, well, that controversy generates interest, and the public tunes in.

You have no answers, only [mod] complaints and criticisms. The FIA took the sport down this path for a reason - either show us another path that avoids snoozefests, or, frankly.



The tyres have played no part in making overtaking better. Rather we now hear drivers forced to drive to tyre-whispering deltas, even asking if they are allowed to fight to protect their positions or save tyres, a truly unfortunate situation that is completely antithetical to the word, race. We actually heard Lewis angrily resist this with, "I can't drive any slower." Incredible!

All the above was due to Pirelli's visible glee and overzealousness in providing wretched tyres for "the show." Tyres that dragged F1 into pits, the depths of which we can hardly fathom. Its F1 everywhere in the press for the wrong reasons, its the new joke in the pubs.

It was already a pathetic situation, only for the tyres began detonating. Its a "show" alright, but not one the World fancies. The sooner Pirelli walks the plank, the better for the sport. Sadly, they seem to be stuck to F1 like a horrid limpet, because the FIA's vague rules have created perfect conditions for the F1 swamp to widen and fester.


@Quade: This is very, very simple. Most people agree that 7 or 8 years ago Formula 1 had gotten terribly boring, a result of advanced aero rendering passing between nearly equal cars almost impossible. In many races, you knew the winner at the end of lap 1. Jarno Trulli became famous for qualifying well but lacking race pace, keeping the whole field behind him in a "Trulli Train" lap after lap after lap. F1 lost viewers and sponsors and networks complained. "Processional Racing" was the term.

Pitstops gave one way to allow cars to pass, so re-fuelling was permitted, and indeed mandated by limiting fuel tank size. But a few near-disasters with fires and concerns regarding safety at older tracks lead to that being banned.

So the FIA had a choice - either radically limit aero devices so that passing became easier in the slipstream, or find another way to force pitstops. If extreme aero is eliminated, then F1 cars would likely be no faster than Formula 2. So...it came down to tyres to become the limiting factor that would cause pitstops.

THAT IS WHERE WE ARE. See....there is nothing in that train of logic that doesn't make sense. There is also nothing in that train of logic that that avoids us ending up right where we are, with intentionally degradable tyres that are designed to fail after X number of laps. Bring back bullet-proof tyres, and you have to address one or more of the other issues. And no one has a good idea how to do that - except KERS, which does allow passing.

The trouble with KERS is that it doesn't work equally well on all tracks - witness Monaco and probably some others. Tyre stops work well everywhere. I have a hope that the enhanced KERS next year may make pitstops less of an issue. On the other hand, I find myself actually enjoying the strategy being played out with 2 or 3 pitstops per race as we currently have.

But until we see if the new engines can restore the ability to pass by themselves, we will have to rely upon tyres and forced pitstops. Unless you have some valid strategy that will both keep F1 viewership high, avoid pitlane fires, and keep F1 faster than F2. Seriously - let me know what you think works. But if you don't have a great idea, then I ask that you seriously reconsider your jihad against Pirelli, a company brave enough to what no one else wanted to do, so that WE could see racing this year. Not ideal racing, but racing none the less. (N.B. - I am having a set of "V" rated Pirelli Scorpion Zeros fitted to my SUV next week, at over £800 - that's how much I trust them after reading all the reviews of their tyres and watching what they have done this year, which I think has been mostly above board.)



You fix teams actions with the tyres by producing tyres that can cope. It was done in the past, so why is it now impossible for Pirelli?

Everything the teams do, they have done for decades now. Even more, they are allowed by the rules to do so. Swapping tyres, hopping kerbs etc will always be part of motor racing, and that will remain so today, tomorrow and forever. Pirelli cannot change that because their tyres are wretched. F1 existed before Pirelli and will exist after Pirelli.

The FIA alone has the remit to change F1's rules and practices. Pirelli signed a contract to produce tyres, not grenades or new rules.


To Robert. You fix it by putting the emphasis back on other areas, aero, engine, mechanical, operational, etc.

Right now 'understanding the tyres' is the biggest performance gain, hence boundaries get pushed. Pushing boundaries is the F1 way, but when it comes to tyres it's too risky. The tyres need to be a stable, reliable platform to avoid that temptation.

The alternative is Pirelli scrutineers being required to sign off on each car setup, giving permission for the car to go out on the circuit.


How do you "fix" teams mounting your tyres wrong way round, constantly underinflating them against specs, and using camber angles that you have advised them against? Or do you not know enough about mechanics to know how horrendous that would be to tyres that are designed to be bang on the edge intentionally?

It had to get to crisis levels for Pirelli to get the leverage over the teams they need to enforce their own design specs. Before Silverstone they couldn't even get the teams to accept safer tyres they said they could make. Now they can force it...


With respect your could have/ should haves ignore some important facts.

The initial failures were NOT as spectacular and were generally safe. It would have required specific permission by the FIA to be considered on safety grounds.

They did try to get the tyres changed outside of the Safety rule but the rules prevented that as it required unanimous agreement from the teams. Three teams voted it down.

In the Tribunal Pirelli stated that a test like the Private Barcelona test, involving all teams could not have been carried out until much later(September)in the year due logistics and team availability. Not withstanding they did try twice to test experimental tyres in FP1, but were undone by weather conditions.

The tyre war was finished years ago and is unlikely to occur again. Its a pointless proposition if all but two teams use one brand while all the rest use another.

Finally if the team have bee using the tyres outside of the guidelines of usage. They have a fair hunk of the blame to shoulder too.


The teams should be recieving a strong censure from the FIA regarding improper use of the tires. Very hypocritical on part of the teams to be crying safety. Suppose there is no need to speak up when the scapegoat is already in place.


Agreed. And their plight is hardly going to be a ringing endorsement of f1 above their good it can do for your brand. I've been surprised so far top read that Michilin has even mentioned that they would consider it.

I can't imagine the pitch at a board meeting: "Oh yea, it'll really have an effect on our image"


I agree that Pirelli have not received the favourable branding that they, in my opinion, have earned; it seems that they delivered a tire that they were asked to deliver.

Last season was perhaps the best season in twenty years, for the racing, and this season is mostly blighted by the massive propaganda campaign of the teams that are abusing the tires the most, and failed to design a car to use the previously published specifications(December 2012, wasn;t it, or was it earlier?)


Going back to 2012 tyres not a bad idea.

What irks me most about pirelli is didnt they use the excuse of safety at the international tribunal or did I hear them wrong?


Tyregate is FIA mess. They asked in the first place tyres with high degradation to improve the show. OK now's a show turned into drama. I hope the maFIA and short-sightedness of teams realize that drivers, marshals and public attending races are in danger for their greed. Now it seems everyone is to blame, but the sure thing is that F1 nowadays, is a shame.

PS. Bring back Michelin for 2015.


Tyregate is an FIA mess, yes they make the rules. But it is an even bigger Pirelli mess; that company seems to show lack of integrity at every turn in this tyre saga.

Pointedly, any top tyre company renowned for the 'excellence' of its product would very resolutely decline to produce substandard goods. It seems though that Pirelli will take a greasy buck to compromise its principles, the safety of the young men who drive the cars and that of trackside staff.

Again, Pirelli have been unable to shoulder their responsibilities and has felt the need to shift the blame to others, citing petty issues like the Silverstones kerbs and tyre pressures.

Quite clearly, they would rather play gruby politics than face up to responsibilty and provide a decent product that isn't life threatening.

If the FIA had its act together over the silly F1 rules, we wouldn't have Pirelli throwing rocks at everything in F1 like an errant chimpanzee. Sadly, we are stuck with them for at least another year.



Hey Quade,

Check this out:


Do the insides of these tires even have the Pirelli branding on them?


Well, now, who is SUE Pirelli? Is she part of the maFIA?

Thank you. 😉



I'm shocked at you. It's common knowledge that the 2013 Pirelli's are thin walled. Everyone knows this.

I now know where you get your F1 info... The pub!! 🙂

As for mounting on the rim, I was trying to get you to see that Pirelli was lying when they talked about outer and inner sidewalls. Swapping tyres from left to right and back again CANNOT change the outer sidewall to inner and vice versa. Sebee, don't you think that would require particularly strong voodoo to achieve? Lol!

Pirelli provided a failed product. Thats all.


So what makes a businessman special is that he knows that following a contract is more important than doing what's right? Sounds a bit like those German soldiers who were "only following orders".

The sooner we put engineers back in charge, the better.


You obviously must be a student or academic...every BUSINESSMAN knows that a contract is a contract, and you can bet your last dollar that FIA's to Pirellis gives the FIA ultimate control of specs. And if Pirelli doesn't follow them - they simply don't get paid, or get litigated. Pirelli have two factories and hundreds of people working on this venture...not getting paid is NOT an option.

This is the way business is...a supplier simply doesn't climb on their moral high horse and refuse performance. They may advise, they may lecture, they may argue with their client, but in the end they have to perform to contract to get paid. They will be protected by that contract too...if producing to spec, then they are spared legal liability - if they DON'T perform to spec, then they are liable.

So all of your "Pirelli has been unable to shoulder their responsibilities" is just bullpucky. Their responsibilities are to their contractual terms, because that is all that will protect them in court from liability. And that includes NON-PERFORMANCE LIABILITY. Can you GUESS how fast Bernie would SUE Pirelli for damages if the F1 season ground to a halt because they refused to produce tyres to FIA specs? And how costly that would be? With Bernie claiming damages from the commercial rights holder, hundreds of millions of dollars would be the MINIMUM he could claim...he could potentially put Pirelli out of business.

Your naivety is frankly shocking.



Mate, you have to stop spready misinformation.

Each of the failures was caused by one of or combination of the factors.

If the Pirelli is indeed thinner walled, there is nothing wrong with that. Obviously it can be, if used correctly. Everyone always wants to save unsprung weight. I'm not sure how you're surprised about it.

Last, stop with the mounting on the rim point. Unless you have specific proof that the keying of the rear wheels is different, I don't see how a RL can't be mounted on the RR. I'm sure teams would make the rims uniform for both sides to leave themselves the option of doing weird stuff with tires without needing Pirelli to mount them.

Really, you're beating a dead horse here. Team were given a high tech product with specifications and abused it. As a aresult it failed. End of story. If it was a TV we were talking about, and you decided to use it under water you know what SONY would tell you? WARRANTY VOID!


For some time, I've had the theory that resonance is the cause of ALL of this years tyre failures.

To understand the power of resonance, here it is destroying a concrete and steel bridge, due to light winds:


Notably, Pirelli brought a new thinner walled tyre for 2013. The thin walls were to create vibrations to enable easy overheating from their continuous flexing; while the steel belt was there to stiffen the contact patch and ensure that the vibrations remained in the sidewalls only, thus amplifying the overheating effect.

The thing with such a construction is that it encourages destructive resonance which is notoriously difficult to predict. You can note that all of this years tyre failures have come when a car has just exited a turn, because thats when the range of vibration frequencies in the sidewall are highest and so, most likely to hit destructive resonance.


My satisfaction on being right is tempered by the fact that it can be filed under 'the bleeding obvious'.


Yeah, I mean there's no reason to suspect Pirelli of being biased when saying the blame doesn't lie with...Pirelli.


+1 on the self congratulatory aspect. Though it's only "obvious" if people have any engineering background, and they can use them to come up with a reasonable hypothesis.

"By giving us the opinions of the uneducated, journalism keeps us in touch with the ignorance of the community." ― Oscar Wilde

"It is easier to be critical than correct." - Benjamin Disraeli


should read: Though it’s only “obvious” if people have an engineering background, and they can use facts to come up with a reasonable hypothesis.


Yup...check out the points.

Teams are inventing ways to try to get more out of the tire by mounting R on L and L on R side, and lowering the pressure to improve bite. As in biting into a nice edge of a kerb. Or angles.

Another words...I personally blame the teams. You give someone a Honda Civic and they go off-roading and brake it - who's fault it is? Use the tool as it's intended and there is no issue with the 2013 tire.


Forgive me if I am wrong but the whole mounting the tires differently than intended was public for a while. I thought it was what Ferrari and Lotus were doing to extend tire life. Probably wrong there.

Tornillo Amarillo


1. Why the F1 world has to change the regulations to help Pirellis not to explode?

2. Why a tire has to explode so dramatically if you put some less air in?


so the teams took the tyres racing?

Adrian Newey Jnr

Totally agree with your comments. In F1 teams are pushing the limits of all technology to gain every decreasing small advantages. This will lead to failures, be in gearboxes (Vettel) or tyres (others). Pirelli has no control over teams pushing their rubber beyond its technical boundaries in order to gain an advantage. The teams make these decisions and also have to take responsibility for the consequences.

I think that the fans have gotten too used to the concrete Bridgestone era or the improved car reliability over recent years. Reliability has always been part of motorsport and the 2013 tyres are no different.

Adrian Newey Jnr

@Quade - I think you'll find that the majority of the fans see the attacks on Pirelli as sensationalist.

Using your line of argument about going faster, we should rewind to the Schumacher dominance era where he used to lap the field and win with a massive lead over 2nd place. Most fans want close racing, not necessarily the fastest racing. There is a subtle difference that you seem to have missed.


Talk abou processional racing is neither here nor there, it is tired and futile. Pirelli's awful tyres don't make the cars go faster (its exactly the opposite).

The best races are always the ones in which the drivers can push to the limit.


Yeah, Quade, we need more processional racing...yawn. Nearly every race this year and last greatly exceed the era of racing on "concrete Bridgestones". And as a spectator sport, I even have to include Silverstone in that...


In that case, bring back the "concrete Bridgestone era."


The point surely is the way it breaks.

The teams have been misusing the tyres and for that they should have no complaints about the tyres failing.

However its the nature of the failures that are of most concern.

I have a lot of sympathy for Pirelli but surely first and foremost a tyre should fail in a safe way, not throw a huge heavy carpet of rubber into the air for a following car to slam into.

That shouldn't happen in any circumstances.


They are not meant to go spectacularly under any circumstances.

Such spectacular behaviour is only expected from counterfeit goods, not the high quality tyres that should go on an F1 car.


I think that's a lot easier to say than to do. Although they've frequently been described as "fragile" and now I'm seeing a lot of "exploding for no reason", these tyres are in fact very tough. It takes a lot to damage them but once they go, they go spectacularly. And they will go at moments of great stress, such as having 300hp put through them.

Think of a rope: if it's lying in a heap on the ground and you cut it, nothing much happens. But if you stretch it until it breaks the loose ends will whip around.


...which would be fine, but for the fact that Pirelli's explanation doesn't seem to account for why Gutierrez's front left tyre failed as it did. Or why Pirelli's choice of tyre evidently only had one side capable of standing up to the kerbs. Or why it let them do this in the first place knowing the risks inherent in doing so. I must confess, this smacks of a face-saving exercise to me.


Pirelli is just making silly excuses. Each of the explosions were quite different from the other. I don't believe Massa's (and several others) even occurred at turn 4.

Lewis tyre damage was on the inner side of the tyre, while the others were on the outer side; Gutierrez’s was on the front. Of all the explosions, only Lewis can be "explained" with the kerb excuse (only the inner side of the left tyre could bang against turn 4's kerb).

I recall a practice session in which all Jenson had to do was brake hard... And the rubbish tyre burst! From braking alone!

There's a huge problem with tyre quality and Pirelli must shoulder it.


Or even why Pirelli never until now protested about its tires being misused. If this was really true, and really related to the problem, Pirelli would have been screaming its head off long before now.


The front tire is covered by the statements about under inflation and extreme camber angles.

As for the rest it would seem that they went with a steel belted tire as part of the temperature regulation scheme for this year which what made the have 'handed ness' but they have no control over whether the teams mount them the other way around or not. All they can do is say this tire goes on the left side, that one goes on the right. If the teams don't do that what is Pirelli supposed to do?


1. Not ALL tire failures are equal

2. It's a clockwise circuit, inner wheels cut kerbs (as opposed to running over them)

3. They have no power to stop the teams from running the tires as they wanted - thats why they have asked for more oversight.

This is Pirelli finally sticking up for itself.


One aspect that has become apparent is that the tyre manufacturer can only make 'recommendations' to the teams. They have no powers to force tyre pressures or switching asymmetrical products.

Red bull have had tyre failures before for running excess camber (remember 2011 and Sebs retirement?). There is a wide open problem here - if engineers are allowed to use something beyond its tolerances they will put their drivers at risk to do so. No other aspect of the cars is so uncontrolled.

If the operating tyre pressures were mandatory as were maximum camber and correct placement then Pirelli are obviously saying these blowouts would not have occurred.

With some teams running pressures at 25% less than the manufacturers stated minimums you have to believe the teams shoulder some of the blame.


I think they've been clear in saying that they didn't KNOW that the swapping sides thing would create such risks and that they (Pirelli) need to do better.

If it's right that Turn 4 was basically the problem, that is only going to impact one side of the car.

Having said all that, the front left issue is still not totally clear...


I can't comment on the first few questions but as far as why they "let" them swap over the tyres, unless there's substantial cause for concern over tyre safety (of which there wasn't any before the race started) Pirelli has absolutely no power to tell the teams how to use the tyres provided. Thats been changed for this weekend alone for obvious reasons and Pirelli want the FIA to make it permanent.

Frankly I'm of the opinion that teams should be able to do what they want with them, but if they fail because of it they should own up to it instead of blaming Pirelli. Red Bull had this problem when they ran extremely aggressive cambers at Spa 2011 and tried to blame Pirelli for it then as well.




A key comment from Pirelli (as reported on Andrew Benson's BBC post): "The manufacturer also said all the failures happened on cars with the rear tyres mounted on opposite sides of the car from the one intended."


@Danny - you have it right - it IS only a problem when the tyre explodes. There is no hard evidence that it is unsafe until a number of those occurrences happen, even if "theoretically" Pirrelli can say that it isn't recommended. No tyre explosions - no problemo. Simples.

But given a handful of tyre explosions, the teams cannot escape culpability for using the tyres in ways they were not designed or recommended. The teams did it, and it is strictly their responsibility.

Danny Almonte

I knew about this before the tire failures. I have to believe that Pirelli also knew that teams were flipping the tires. It's only a problem when the tires explode? They had several earlier races to voice their 'safety' concerns.

The teams are trying to get the tires to work. Different angles and tire pressures has always been an integral part of auto racing. Pirelli are trying to overstep their bounds.


Thanks for,restoring my faith in this forum! Sense and logic at last.


Tyres are asymmetrical. Since when???

James, Surely if the tyres are asymmetrical, won't Pirelli have marked them to state which is which so that the teams don't put them on the wrong side?

Either they didn't in which why not, or they did, then some people need their eyesight checked.

Frankly I can't believe a whole load of mechanics across several teams put the wrong tyre on the wrong side of their car.


Marking an asymmetric the tyres with a prominent "L" and "R" as I have seen in previous seasons would alleviate this problem as the world would then be able to see who is being irresponsible.


@IJW "Tyres are asymmetrical. Since when???"

As I understand it, it's the construction that's not symmetrical - the inner and outer sidewalls have different properties.


I can believe it, especially if they have found they are faster that way or will last longer.....


Apparently (as reported by Adam Cooper a little while back) the teams were deliberately swapping the tyres because they found a performance advantage by doing so. How they ever worked this out in the first place, I can't imagine!

Also I thought the situation was suspicious when we heard the radio broadcast to Mark Webber telling him the tyre pressure had been increased which would make him slower but safer! I also thought it was interesting that Mark commented (On Slicks O 6?) that he enjoyed thrashing the car to the end.

The teams' responsibility/input into the negative press that Pirelli have been acquiring is hard to determine but seems to be building up into a pretty comprehensive picture. Good on Pirelli for biting back.


There was an excellent article by Gary Anderson on the BBC website about this. Many tyres are designed to be mounted in one direction over another. When at Jordan Gary was deliberately playing with this aspect to change the loading on tyres on some circuits. Sometimes tyres have a natural desire to deviate off a straight line. Gary found they could use this to advantage and mount the tyres to have their natural bias aligned for the most loaded corners.

The downside was that having made a request for their tyres to be swapped around Bridgestone deliberately waited until they had brought this to ferrari's attention and changed their tyres first.


Tyres are asymmetrical since the beginning of this season. There wasn't a mistake in putting the tyres to the reverse side, it was fully intentional swap.


James disappointingly failed to mention that teams were doing this on purpose because there was a performance advantage when doing so.

Low pressure and aggressive camber are also pure performance issues, so people should look at teams, before blaming Pirelli.

Everything the teams did, they did on their own and in pursuit of performance. They have clearly overstepped the line, but all those failures were simply the result of pushing the performance envelop too far, just like with engines, weight reduction in parts that turn out too weak and similar.

It would be interesting if Pirelli had all the realtime data for all the failures this year. I can bet that all of them happened on the cars that were running outside of safe perimeters.

But I do not have a problem with that. Teams always push their cars and sometimes cars fail, but that is all part of F1 and it has always been. Good F1 cars are usually fast, but fragile.

Remember how Red Bull kept suffering engine failures while they were perfecting the cold blowing for their engine blown diffuser?

Situation with the tires this year is the same, but F1 world is so lost at the moment that it can't even tie it's own shoes and is going for a nuclear option because they are in such a chaos that overreaction is taking over in every situation.


The teams have done it deliberately. I read an article about it a while ago, IIRC the teams have been doing it to even out the wear over the course of a weekend, but I could be wrong about that. In any event, it's been common knowledge for a while that teams have been doing this.


The new steel belt gave the tyres asymmetry. They are indicated by Pirelli which is left and right but the teams purposefully swap which side they are on to change the way the work and heat up etc


I'd prefer to say that the thin walls of the 2013 Pirelli's gave the tyres RESONANCE... And a "boom, boom" quality! 🙂


Teams did it actually. Lotus, Ferrari and Force India started it and gained good tyre performance and management from it, before other teams like RBR and Mercedes followed suit. I could remember Ted Kravitz mentioning the tyre usage trick in Monaco GP.


Switching tyres in this manner has been going on for years. Gary Anderson, in one of his BBC articles, claimed that he came up with the idea when he was at Jordan.


Not so, try Googling Nigel Mansell tyre blow out - 1986 🙂



Swapping tyres is not new....

What's new is the explosions.


Oo er missus 🙂


I've been rotating my tyres before GA was a twinkle in his dads eye 😉


hello.. the teams are deliberately flipping them for performance boost.

in the same vein where they use lower pressure, etc.


thy did it on purpose to get some speed advantage, of course the tyres are marked...oh man


It was intentional to swap tyres. As well as running lower than suitable tyre pressures or excessive camber.


Yup. And teams would flip them.

I hate to say it, but I TOLD YOU SO!

Storm in a tea-cup, all from teams trying to invent ways to get more out of the tire to overcome deficiencies in other areas of their car design then crying about it.

Meanwhile, who gets punished? Fans for having 2013 messed with through new tires, and teams who had a handle on these tires from day 1 and Pirelli. If I was FI I'd be fuming and blocking every effort to change the tires. Use the tires right, right pressures, right camber and we're good.

Run them under pressured, on beyond spec camber in reverse rotation and please don't come crying when your tires explode and you're taken out of the race. You deserved it!


Sebee, guess why Pirelli is changing the wretched tyres instead of screaming to the FIA about improper use (only after explosions, hmmmm!)?

If all the affected teams (below) swap tyres, then Pirelli is doing a poor job indeed:

Red Bull



Toro Rosso



...And God knows who else was lucky on Sunday.


Add Lotus and Force India to that list, plus the fact that ONLY Pirelli can swap the tyres inside out in the way Pirelli has described. You know why? Cos Pirelli and ONLY Pirelli mount the tyres on the rims.

"So swapping the tyres round has an effect on how they work in certain conditions. In particular, the external part is designed to cope with the very high loads that are generated while cornering at a circuit as demanding as Silverstone, with its rapid left-hand bends and some kerbs that are particularly aggressive."

-Paul Hembery (in a soon to be released novel called, "The art of shooting oneself in the foot").



They are switching them to make them dumb-proof.

Pirelli are making advanced tires for advanced sport. Teams are using them as a hammer. And so Pirelli will now make run-flat semetrical hammers for teams.


You tell 'em Sebee!


They are marked; teams put them on the wrong side to gain an advantage,


It's quite widely reported that the teams are swapping the tires to the wrong side on purpose to gain performance.


The inside and outside are marked, just like on the tyres on your road car. The case is that the teams deliberately put them on incorrectly to gain an advantage. Similar to deliberately running low pressures, or excessive camber.



The fact alone that their tires go faster when mounted the wrong way round is revealing Pirellis incompetence to build a proper tire; that is: A tire that is best when used according to the manufacturers specification.


If you read around on the issue, you'll find that it's been done long before Pirelli came along. Gary Anderson had a discussion about a month back of why he chose to mount tyres backwards when he was a chief (?) engineer.



Excuses, excuses and more excuses from Pirelli


In fairness you are not comparing eggs with eggs and appear to be confusing two issues - performance and safe operation. For example, my car has an engine rev' limiter. If I were to have the engine management altered and allow the engine to rev higher, I may well gain a performance advantage but it would be at the expense of the engine life. It's the same with the tyres, Pirelli have designed a tyre they say is safe to use so long as the teams pay heed to the manufacturers operating guidelines. They cannot complain if things go wrong when they do not.


Your definition of "best" may vary. I'd say the tyre that doesn't fall to bits on the kerbs is better. There are plenty of bits on the car that you could make lighter for outright speed but would be ruined over the course of a race if you did.


While I have no problems with most of your post, unless your road car from the early 60's with either the original or reproduction period tires they can be swapped around however you wish.


Skoda Octavia with 6 month old Michelin tyres. Clearly marked "inside" and "outside" on the tyre wall.... (And all mounted with "outside" showing!



Not true...modern road tyres are generally asymmetrical.


Err no many modern tyres are assymetrical with an inside and outside of the tyre.

You can't put the rim on the wrong way around.

They are swapping the tyres on the rim, not just the left rear with the right rear.


So, what is the technical advantage in swapping the tyres from left to right and vice-versa? Is it aerodynamic (in that tyres are shaped differently on either side) or is it different heat dissipation characteristics on either side of the asymmetric tyre, or something else?

Would love to understand the technical rationale. I'm probably way off!


Asymmetric tyres will not follow the same path under loading (say if rolled down a hill) and will heat up differently. It is both these things that are important to F1 teams as they directly impact tyre life.


You might find this article useful 🙂



Could someone explain about the tyres changing sides on the car. I imagined that the tyre if changed from left to right, would be rotating backwards, basically saying that the side wall on the inside always faces inside to the car. OR have the teams being swapping the tyres over but keeping the rotation direction the same??


see my reply above - then check out Gary Anderson's article.


It's about heat, usually helps warming up.


Circuit characteristics mean tyres wear out at different rates depending on which side they are on. For example at silverstone you have fast right corners wearing out left tyres more than the right, so if you have finished qualifying and the left tyre is more worn than the right you would swap them around for the race and this probably happened for used sets put on at the pitstops also.


They have limited tires for the race, etc. There are possibly utilizing a partially used (practice) right hand side tire as a "free" spare for the left hand side...


A couple of races back I notice the extreme camber that the teams were running. Now I might have this wrong, but I think it was toe out where the tyre leans in at the top therefore wearing the inside edge of the tyre more. By flipping them over you practically get a new tyre because the outside edge now becomes the inside on the opposite side. So, what the teams have most probably done is use the tyre in practise or even quali 1/2 and then flip them for the race.

I fully stand to be corrected by some who knows more than me, the simply lay person 😉


That's not correct at all. They don't flip them back and forth. They just run them flipped because they work better (performance, not safety obviously) that way. They simply use them as if the left is right and right is left. They don't use the same tire two times in a way you are suggesting.


Camber is expressed as being either positive or negative, toe in/out where the tires are either farther apart toward the front of the car or the rear.

The inside shoulder of the tire is the same no matter which side of the car you put it on unless you take it off the rim and mount it backwards. With the radial tires you have on your daily driver this can be done because the tires don't care which way you mount them. This is why tires can be made with white lettering on one side and without on the other and you can choose which you want to have visible when you get new ones.

The rear tires for this year have a bias to the design and is intended to have left and right hand tires, but the teams found some advantage to swapping them which inadvertently has been causing the problems.


@Paul jar man

I read it the same as you, giving themselves the opportunity to get more life from a set of tyres. But I believe the sidewall construction is different on the inside and outside of the tyre, so perhaps there's an advantage in heat dissipation too.

If it's to get more life from a set of tyres then, given talk of needing to get more running from the teams on Fridays etc, perhaps it's time the FIA considered allocating more tyres for free practice. I know this is already on the cards, but I'm thinking like four or five "free" sets, not one or two.


Sorry Paul jar man, but you don't have a correct understanding of the terminology. Camber refers to the amound of "lean" of the wheel - positive camber means the tops of a pair of wheels (with a pair being either the fronts OR the backs) are closer together than the bottoms of a pair of wheels (and I know there is no official "top" and "bottom" of a wheel but I am trying to keep this understandable). Negative camber means the bottoms of the pair of wheels is closer together than the tops. "Toe" refers to whether the pair of wheels are pointing exactly straight forward or whether they are pointing in slightly different directions. Toe in means that the left wheel is angled slightly to the right (i.e. inwards to the car and to the right of the direction of travel) with the right wheel angled slightly to the left. Toe out is the opposite, with the left wheel trying to drive the car left and the right wheel trying to drive the car right. Camber is used to reduce straight line rolling friction by having a smaller contact patch on the road and increase grip when using kerbs through the corners. On a normally suspended car it also increases the cornering contact patch as the car body rolls but F1 cars have minimal body roll. Toe is used to trade off between high speed stability and cornering bite. These two adjustments alone offer thousands of set up combinations that are complicated by the grip offered by the different track surfaces, the temperature and whether it is wet or dry.

As to "flipping them over", unless the teams physically remove the tyre from the wheel rim and re-seat them on the rim the other way round before placing the wheel on the opposite side of the car, you don't get that "new tread" benefit. I don't believe the teams do this as all tyres are fitted to the rims by Pirelli and I would like to think they wouldn't break their own rules on the use of tyres. I think they are just trying to take advantage of a softer, more flexible sidewall when the tyre is run in the reverse direction to get more grip through the corners.


Thanks for correcting that error Glennb - written in haste. And you are correct. I think they all run negative camber front and rear on pretty much anything that runs on tarmac apart from karts (front only as rear is a fixed axle).


Close. Neg camber is when the tops lean in, not out. All modern racing cars run with neg' camber.


If its not clear from the above..... The teams were doing this on purpose to gain extra wear from the tyres. Seems a lot of people have grabbed the wrong end of the stick on this


Or they can just use the 2012 tyres.

Stop making excuses Pirelli. You have an obligation to bring safe tyres. You cannot dictate what a team does with their car. You make sure your product survives the things the team wants to do with it on their car. Go start your own racing team if you want to dictate that.

Pirelli really thinks they are some kind of boss in Fl. For decades that was no problem for other tyre manufacturers, so why is it for Pirelli?

They turned the 2013 season into an utterly pathetic joke. No matter who wins the title, it will be hollow.


I find it hard to believe that you are serious.


So if a team wants to run 5 psi in their tyres, Pirelli has to make a product that copes with that? No way. Pirelli are within their rights (and I believe legislation around the world requires) that they provide guidelines for the safe and proper use of their product. If someone uses it outside of those guidelines then they do so accepting liability.


Pirelli are not 'making excuses'.

If they give the teams clear guidance on the minimum pressure nd maximum rates of camber at which the tyres can safely be run, it's somewhat perverse to blame them if the tems choose to run the tyres outside so the parameters.

I won't address the rest of your comment, as it makes even less sense.


The FIA gives the teams guidance, not Pirelli.


Pirelli can dictate because they have designed a product to operate within specified boundaries. It is the teams responsibility if they operate the tyres outside of the boundaries set out by the tyre manufacture.

This is normal practice in any industry. If you buy a product and operate it outside of its intended operating parameters and it fails then it is your fault.


Pirelli can dictate nada, because they don't make the rules. Rather Pirelli should make their tyres according to what F1's rules allow the teams to do, instead of making silly excuses.


The problem is Pirelli's "operating parameters" lie outside of what F1 requires. It's their fault for making tyres that are not fit for purpose.


You are right, of course. However, the broader implication relates to how much Pirelli are influencing the sport. Add to that, as mentioned in the article above, Pirelli now want 'enforcers' telling the teams how to set the cars up. Or rather, how *not* to set them up.


James - did the teams not know that the tyres were asymmetric? It sounds very odd that so many would mistakenly mix up the left and right rear tyres.


I recall reading an article either here by Mark Gillian or on the BBC F1 site by Gary Anderson that stated that the teams discovered that by using the asymmetric tyres on the opposite side of the car they could better control the graining that was costing them time.

It seems as if this tactic has now backfired and put Pirelli in an untenable position (even though they knew about it).

I wonder if people think that Michelin's idea of running an 18" wheel now makes more sense?


Your restraint and neutrality in this case with your articles is nothing short of amazing James. Really.


How the hell do they manage to mount asymmetric tyres the wrong way round. Been riding bikes for 35 years, tyres have a mark showing the direction of travel, higher end car tyres too. From what I have seen the tyre manufacturers do all the tyre mounting, so this would mean that either their tyre technicians fouled up, or the teams used tyres on the wrong corners of the cars. Either way this, it seems to me, is a fairly serious thing.


@noc rayner "From what I have seen the tyre manufacturers do all the tyre mounting, so this would mean that either their tyre technicians fouled up, or the teams used tyres on the wrong corners of the cars"

In their full statement Pirelli openly accept a share of responsibility for not appreciating the impact the "reverse mounting" would have. So I took this to mean that they had been reverse mounting the tyres as-and-when requested by the teams.



It supposedly give a performance benefit.


They've deliberately out them on the wrong way round to gain a slight advantage,


Will the 2012 style front tyres change the aerodynamic behaviour of the car?

I assume the main aim for the teams during the Young Drivers test will be to get to grips with the new tyres. It will be very tempting for them to gain insights from their race drivers' running as well.

Will the race drivers run on different days to the Young Drivers? Will all of them test the same 2012 style tyres to be used from Hungary onwards?


Who will be the winners and losers among the teams with the revised compounds?


Merc will be BIG winners. You have say that they could challenge for both titles now.


Personally I hope you are right. What puzzles me is how you can be so certain. I find it difficult to imagine Christian Horner petitioning so vociferously for a change that would advantage another team. Particularly, judging by his actions in the recent tyregate business, when he has identified that team (Mercedes) as a strong challenger to the Red Bull supremacy.

Anyhow, as I said, I do hope you're right and I'll be keeping my fingers and toes crossed 🙂


Lotus and Ferrari will suffer hugely..

Is that what is known as a win win? 😉


Tbh I think Red Bull will be winners too. Lotus and Ferrari will suffer hugely 🙁


Of course, not being present at the Silverstone test could also mean they end up one step behind everyone else on tyre management and back where they started the year.


Correct me if I'm wrong...but don't Pirelli staff mount/balance all the tires for the teams? If so, it looks like some people didn't get the memo about the new tires having an asymmetric structure. Or they need better markings on the tires.


Pirelli's statement says they didn't appreciate the potential impact of reverse-mounting the tyres and so accept their share of blame for the practice. I took this to mean that they had been putting whichever tyre on whichever hub the teams asked them to.


No, the tyres have an arrow indicating the direction of rotation. Pirelli have been putting the tyres on the hubs correctly, but the teams have been switching the hubs, putting the left wheel on the right corner and vice-versa.


Take a look at this photo, it clearly shows the Mercedes with the tyre on the wrong side.


Should Pirelli be holding their hands too?

Maybe that's harsh, but the markings are fine and the engineers / mechanics can read, but when they decide among themselves to put the L on the R and the R on the L, what can you do?


I tell you what Pirelli could have done. From the begining of the season Pirelli were saying they were looking into tyres and they were trying to fix the problem. Instead of saying that, I think they could have said after Barcelona or even before that teams deserved to have a blown out tyre for mounting them the wrong way.

Pirelli also blame the kerbs. As far as I know we had a race last year in Silverstone. We didn´t see blown out tyres.


I can't verify it off the top of my head, but I'm sure I've read that Pirelli have been advising the teams for some time about running their setup within the recommended parameters, but they had (and still have) no power to enforce it and the teams will do whatever they can to gain a fraction of a tenth or an extra lap with a set and all the while nobody listens until it all goes pear shaped.

Pirelli aren't blameless - they know that - and for that matter neither are the FIA or anyone else who was involved and knew what was going on, but the ultimately teams have to take at least some responsibility for the decisions they've made.

As for the kerbs, yeah I'm also dubious about how much they were a factor.


Does anybody know what construction the FRONT tyres will be from Hungary onwards, steel belt 2013 spec or the 2012 spec? .... not one website has actually talked about this.

It's confusing because they are only changing the rears for Germany and it doesn't say whether they are changing the rears only for Hungary


'It’s confusing'

Onionhead, you just summed up the 2013 tyre situation perfectly 🙂


I think is not a matter of "winners" and losers" . The fact that there is a problem with the tires, and it need to be changed, is a change that is fair (or unfair) for everybody. My point is that no team can base its competitive advantage on a tyre that is not safe (or wrong from the conception). Massa's tyre blow out too. Could be from Alonso... actually Alonso had a problem too, the case was just lucky because he was entering the pit already. Mercedes got a problem too, and Rosberg won (and he was lucky too). So, not a case of "competitive advantage", or "winners" and "losers", but everyone will need to adapt to a REAL tyre. Safe, and that the drivers can trust to race.


‘If these tyres pass muster, the new range will be made available from the Hungarian Grand Prix . . .’

So the German Grand Prix is going to be used as an old drivers test?

‘Kerbing that was particularly aggressive on fast corners’

Oh, the drivers studiously avoided them but the kerbs went into attack mode?

‘Rear tyres that were mounted the wrong way round’

O.K. – screw the fancy colour grading – just put a large ‘L’ on some and a large ‘R’ on the rest.

‘The new tyres will have a symmetrical structure, designed to guarantee maximum safety even without access to tyre data’

You didn’t tell the customers about the asymmetrical ‘L’ vs. ‘R’ factor?

Or maybe some of the customers found they gained a speed advantage by disregarding fitting instructions?

Daniel Spiller

Consider that if you bought new tyres for your car, and mounted them incorrectly according to the manufacturers instruction. Who's fault is it when you crash of the road because one blew out unexpectedly? I'm not saying the teams are absolutely to blame, but Pirelli know there stuff when it comes to tyre construction and, with all due respect, you are probably not a high performance tyre engineer.


Then again, if your tyre dealer fitted them on the wrong wheels for you, knowing that it was unsafe, and didn't say 'don't do that, as they may explode', then the blame falls back on the dealer. In Leftpondia, the land of the frivolous lawsuit, I suspect that the resulting lawsuit would be a relatively easy one for you to walk out of with a pig pile of cash.

I may be wrong, but my understanding is that Pirelli fit the tyres to the wheels, and an F1 car wheel has an obvious inside and outside edge, so it's a bit difficult for them to claim ignorance.

It also appears to be the case that they've known about the practice of swapping sides since at least the beginning of this season. If they considered it to be a safety risk, why didn't they protest the practice sooner, or refuse to fit the tyres that way round?

There is plenty of blame to share around in this one.


The point is that the so-called ‘high performance engineers’, whether of the tyre- or F1-team variety, are hell-bent on making a mockery of the sport by taking unnecessary risks in the name of ‘competitive advantage’ and then feeding the fans with misinformation and partial truths.

Anything that is issued to us by the F1 ‘inner circle of experts’ I now take with a grain of salt.


I think the teams did it on purpose. I think the reverse mounting allows more flex of external sideband in all sort of curves, both right and left, and therefore increases the grip. But as the outer band is weaker then the risk is increased.


How can Pirelli roll out a stream of excuses blaming everybody but themselves and then justify changing the tyres. Why have Pirelli being trying to change the tyre construction since before Canada if there was and still is nothing wrong?


@ David C: How can Pirelli roll out a stream of excuses blaming everybody but themselves…

They can because they have now looked at the real data from 12 teams, 24 cars and probably about 72+ sets of tyres and feel sufficiently confident with their conclusions to go into print and point the finger of blame at the teams for not reading the tyre fitting instructions. Given the litigious nature of F1 these days, they would not have done this unless they were VERY sure of their facts. I think you'll see some very meek team bosses walk out of tomorrow's FIA meeting… And they have some explaining to do to their drivers.

Michael Collins

You cut off the real meat of his question. He was asking how could Pirelli blame the teams for tire issues WHILE ALSO taking measures to alter the construction of the tires. If the teams are operating the tires outside of design parameters, it's a team problem, not a design problem.


But their actions don't match their words, if the tyres are fine why change them. It makes no sence at all.


@David C

Sir, your logic is impeccable.


+1000. Thank you!!! Pirelli never makes sense but you do.


Lewis Hamilton should man up and apologise for his outburst slagging off Pirelli on TV immediately after the British GP now that Pirelli have come up with the facts that show the fault was 100% with his team for using the tyres in a manner completely at odds with Pirelli's guidelines. As J Hancock observes above, this is a huge backward step for the sport: going back to 2012 construction and symmetrical structure clearly indicates Pirelli no longer see any merit in being at the (literally) 'bleeding edge' of Formula 1.


I don't see why he should, to be honest. Pirelli supplied a product which, for whatever reason, was not up to the demands placed upon it. Nothing from their statement suggests there was anything inherently dangerous in what the teams were doing, otherwise they would have clamped down on it much sooner. The kerbs have been installed at Silverstone in their current form since at least 2010, and the 2011 and 2012 Pirelli tyres coped with them just fine. Yes, the teams have pushed the limit - but that's what F1 has always done. I'm not usually one for drivers ranting after a race, but in this case I feel Lewis (and others such as Perez and Massa) were spot on.


Pirelli's tyres were never at the cutting edge....they were designed to degrade quicker to provide false racing based on tyre wear.

Bridgestone tyres were much closer to the cutting edge based on speed and durability.

Your analysis of Hamilton is also way off the mark. Perhaps all F1 drivers considering a boycott also need to man up.....exploding tyres is not a trivial matter.


This reads like it is all teams' fault (which is clearly not): too low pressures, too extreme camber angles, changing left with right... How is it even possible to change left and right rear tyre? Is this done by mistake or are some teams doing it on purpose? If it is on purpose, what is the thinking behind?


On purpose, for performance.

What is the thinking behind it?

F1 thinking:

We have a short term gain! Let's use it! 😀

Simple as that.


@Miha Bevc: This reads like it is all teams’ fault (which is clearly not): too low pressures, too extreme camber angles, changing left with right…

[mod] Are you seriously saying these things were not down to the teams? Do you think Pirelli manage all these things on behalf of the teams? Sorry, it clearly IS the teams' fault.


It IS teams' fault to use the tires in the 'wrong' way, but i'm sure they did that before and the tires were fine ...


Every thing is always fine until something goes wrong, and then everybody stands around with a stunned expression on their wondering why it happened.

A little thinking in foresight might be a nice switch from hindsight 🙂


1) Basically they are blaming teams and Silverstone track.

We can´t go anywhere when Pirelli is not admitting their own mistakes.

2) They are going to mix last year and this year kevlar and compounds.

I don´t know... It sounds like mixing Johnny Walker blue label with Vodka.

3) They talk about changing rear tyres only. Wouldn´t that create possible unbalance between front and rear axis or problems with the front tyres?


@Anne: Basically they are blaming teams and Silverstone track.

We can´t go anywhere when Pirelli is not admitting their own mistakes.

What mistakes by Pirelli? Are you saying their staff control all the teams' air hoses, set the camber angles and deliberately fit wrongly fit asymmetrical tyres in the pit lane?

What's clear from this is that the teams have been exploring unchartered territory that is well outside the specifications of the tyre supplier. The teams only have themselves to blame.


Pirelli has produced useless tyres, it is obvious to all and they know it.

If they hadn't caught their unfortunate denial disease, this years tyre shambles could have been deflected at a very early stage. They've always denied every last obvious fact, only to go on and produce something even more substandard to "fix" the previous wretched error.


The truth is drivel? Shock!


That's it, I'm out of here. You couldn't make some of this drivel up.


Teams didn´t ask Pirelli to switch from last year kevlar to this year steel. Pirelli is pointing out that teams do things they shouldn´t. Why now? It wasn´t the first race with problems. Paul Hembery has been in many press conferences and interviews. He never said a word about mounting tyres the wrong way or low pressure.


That's it I'm out of here.......


Part of the press release that was omitted above states "To stop these delaminations Pirelli found a solution by suggesting that the teams use the tyres that were tried out in Canada from Silverstone onwards. When this proposal was not accepted, Pirelli found another solution through laboratory testing, with a different bonding process to attach the tread to the carcass. So the problem of delamination has nothing at all to do with what was seen in Great Britain."

Doesn't this constitute a change in construction that was not approved by the relevant parties? Were they wrong to run this tire at Silverstone without such approval?


They didn't run it in Silverstone. And Bernie/FIA have let them make tyre changes without the agreement of all the teams...


Thanks for clarifying!

James Clayton

"There is a strengthened rear tyre for the German Grand Prix weekend"

I'd be interested in how you think this is even possible, James, considering lead times and logistics for producing new tyres from an *existing* range is just shy of a month, according to the article at http://jaonf1.wpengine.com/2013/04/pirelli-changes-tyres-for-bahrain-in-depth-look-at-how-the-race-will-pan-out/


They made them for Canada test

James Clayton

4 sets of both compounds for each team? Seems a bit excessive for a Friday morning test.


Something interesting from Gary Anderson last month regarding putting the tyres on the wrong way around



Thanks. Hadn't seen that before. Very interesting.


If the tyres are going to operate at a lower working temperature and be more conservative does that mean we will have more agressive choices for each track again? Medium and hard for Hungary is unheard of in any year that I can remember.


There have only been 2 hungarian GP since Pirelli started in F1, 2011 where theey ran soft and supersoft achiving a mix of two and three stoppers in the race and in 2012 (with revised tyres) they brought soft and medium tyres again producing a mix of two and three stoppers. Again in 2013 we have different tyres and different compound choices. Pirelli have 100 per cent filled their brief at Hungry in there 2 years in the sport ad I trust them to do it again.

The point is that Pirelli have anly being doing this for two years and each year they went one step harder on the tyres so Hard and Medium is to be expected. But as each year the tyres are not equvical comparing to previous years is not an acurate guide.

OPTION = 2011(supersoft), 2012(soft), 2012 (Medium)

PRIME = 2011(soft), 2012(Medium), 2012(Hard)

Anyway I guess they will revise their choice after the testing at Silverstone.


Maybe, but there cannot be any more failures like this (regardless of who's to blame) so I can't see Pirelli taking any risks from here.


So who's putting drivers under risk? Yup - Their own teams by sending them out there not following Tire Manufacturer Specs!

At least this has cleared up as to who drivers can sue in case they get hurt.

I hope it also clears up for you guys who were quick to jump on the knee jerk raction band wagon. Wait for facts. 2013 tires are fine, when used correctly.


“I’d like to re-emphasise the fact that the 2013 range of tyres, used in the correct way, is completely safe. What happened at Silverstone though has led us to ask for full access to real time tyre data to ensure the correct usage and development of tyres that have the sophistication we were asked to provide and extremely high performance that has lowered lap times by more than two seconds on average. While we wait for a change in the rules, we will introduce tyres that are easier to manage.”

OK, that's funny. Dumb-proof tires are coming up, since obviuosly previous tires with FL, FR, RL and RR markings were too complicated. Guess what else - disclamer tags on each tire handed to teams will now say "NOT SAFE FOR KIDS UNDER 5 YEARS". 🙂


Sebee, you are the only one I know who would spell tyre two different ways in one post - kudos and ta for the “NOT SAFE FOR KIDS UNDER 5 YEARS” - funny...and true 🙂


So you did. Your integrity is beyond question 🙂


I go tires.

Quote goes tyres.

I didn't change it to maintain integrity. 😉


So Pirelli are playing hard ball and are blaming the teams. Based on the evidence, from admittedly their own investigation, then rightly so. If the teams are knowingly using the tyres outside the parameters there are designed to operate in then the teams only have themselves to blame.

Pirelli understand the risks involved in running tyre pressures too low or using asymmetrical tyres on the incorrect side and by ignoring the parameters set out by Pirelli then the teams are taking on a risk and the burden of blame in the event of failure.

We all know it is a competitive sport but perhaps the teams are putting their own drivers at risk (remember Spa and the Red Bull camber angle farce) in pursuit of a performance advantage. Don't get me wrong we want teams to push the performance boundaries but not at the expense of safety, which is what Pirelli are saying here. According to an ex F1 driver (David Coulthard, see his BBC blog) tyre failures are known as 'driver killers', if the drivers have such a strong feeling about tyre failures why doesn't the FIA not ensure that teams are operating tyres within the boundaries set out by the tyre supplier this will reduce the risk.

Pirelli going back to the 2012 tyre is probably more to do with any damage limitation to the reputation of the company.


Teams have always done everything they did in the last race. Indeed, Gary Anderson has told a story about how he did it (and it became a cure for a safety issue) as far back as 1997.

Pirelli should have produced tyres that cope with existing F1 facts. It sisn't for them to try to gain more backdoor influence over the sport with lame and frankly, childish excuses; only the FIA can tell the teams what to do with the tyres. The FIA alone, govern the sport and Pirelli need to follow the rules and accepted practice.


Looks like Pirelli are getting fed up of being on the receiving end of criticism. They may not be entirely blameless but neither are they totally to blame.

For everyone blaming Pirelli/supporting teams, just remember that this is F1. Teams will go for every ounce of performance they can get. Teams are hypocritical and self centered. Pointing fingers is easy. Anyone remember how Red Bull was "concerned" at Spa 2011 because they were (deliberately) running low tire pressure? Newey said that they feared for their drivers. Now this weekend they say this tires are dangerous with drivers lucky to escape with their lives. I can almost see Vijay Mallya's point - they didn't have problems and yet are going to be forced to accept the changes, on grounds of safety.

I just picked Red Bull/Force India as an example. Such points are true for all teams. How these intelligent people can be so trite/unreasonable is amusing at times.

As James Allen said, F1 is dysfunctional at the moment!


How these intelligent people can be so trite/unreasonable is amusing at times...

Team principals are hard wired to make decisions that are most advantageous to their team. If they cannot make their car faster then, the obvious thing to do is, make the opposition slower. In some respects it's hard to blame them - would you agree to a change that would bring a disadvantage to yourself, whilst improving the position of a competitor, even though it was probably the right thing to do? There is a strong case to take the management of F1 away from the teams for this reason. But, as it's been bumbling along quite nicely for some time, I wouldn't hold your breath!


Red Bull and Force India were bad examples, as Red Bull have had zero tyre failures themselves thus far.


James, am I correct in thinking that if the tyres are stronger on the outer edge, then by swapping them around you get the stronger edge on the inside. Presumably if you then run the tyres with high camber angle with the stronger edge nearer the ground you increase the average rigidity of the area of the tyre in contact with the ground. Presumably this makes for a stronger and longer lasting race tyre?

I don't blame Pirelli if they exit at some point soon. I also don't blame the teams for exploring the tyres to get the maximum benefit, after all this is the way the sport has developed. I actually blame the lack of regulation. Surely the FIA knew that this element of the design would be the one that is explored the most, and we've had potential safety issues for a while now. Why didn't the FIA step in to scrutinise the usage of the tyres with a bit more rigour?


@James H

Mate.The teams are swapping the entire wheel assembly, tyre and rim, left for right. They are not fitting the tyre 'inside out' on the rim. Pirelli are fitting RH tyres onto RH rims and the teams are fitting them on the LHS of the vehicle.


@Glennb yep, I realise that, but I still think that it's the fault of the FIA for not regulating the use properly.


Pirelli helps the teams fit the tyres the wrong way. Don't forget that different tracks need the wheels on both sides balanced differently. Pirelly does that balancing for them.

The simple answer is for Pirelli to drop the funny excuses, keep away from politics and simply make tyres that can do the job.


F1 is not about tyre management. It is about who can drive fast without any bureaucracy and win a race; it is not about who can manage tyres well during a race.

Pirelli's task is to supply tyres. I agree that mounting the left tyre to the right is wrong but the teams should be able decide the tyre pressure, camber, temperature etc they want to use.

Pirelli needs to make sure their tyres are durable and race worthy and they shouldn't be dictating anything.

Also, it should not be Pirelli who should decide which type of tyres they should be bringing to a particular grand prix. This should be done probably by the FIA or someone else.


Yes, Pirelli just needs to settle down and do a proper job. The things they are pointing out as reasons for tyres exploding are things that have been standard F1 practice for as long as F1 has been in existence.

It is not Pirelli's duty (and will NEVER be) to tell the teams how to use their tyres; that is the job of the FIA and they are not the FIA. F1 has only one governing body.

It is for them to operate within the parameters the FIA has provided them and not try any silly "asymetric" experiments that endanger drivers lives. If they cannot operate within the provided bounds, but need to invent their own limits, then they are incapable and need to quit F1.

F1 teams have always swapped tyres and drivers have always hopped kerbs. I've never heard a sillier set of excuses than what Pirelli put out.


"the teams should be able decide the tyre pressure, camber, temperature etc they want to use"

...they can... within the suppliers guidelines...


And if the teams think they get a performance advantage from under fueling the car and it grinds to a halt is that then the engine manufacturers fault? No, the supplier gave a product designed for use within certain tolerances.

Your post makes no sense. You want Pirelli to produce high performance tyres that can be run beyond the physical maximums and NEVER fail? Try telling that to any manufacturer when you break an item by ignoring the instructions. If you don't follow the instructions and purposely misuse something then failure is your responsibility.


why this is happening? I understood Pireli was asked to react and introduce safety measures. This will be done. By completely changing compounds goes beyond just safety and it targeted to affect the outcome of the Championship. James, you might not know the new balance, but Pirelli has enough data to be clear how is this going to be.


For those commenting and asking why the teams were running the tyres on the wrong side, Gary Anderson gave a nice explanation of 'ply steer' in a recent column:


Which is one reason why mounting them on opposite sides can help performance.


Yep, it does help performance...right up until the tyre explodes, and then you'll notice a slight drop-off 😉


I think this is going to be in favour of Merc all the way..their qualifying is already good..hope that doesnt happen :)!!


I think people are confusing asymmetric with directional.

The Pirellis are (as I understand) designed to rotate in one direction but the teams have been running them backwards by simply putting the left rim on the right and vice versa. This is not the same as your car road tyre due to there being no water-dispersing tread where the tread can be asymmetric (an outer edge for grip and an inner edge to clear water) or directional (usually an arrow-shape tread pattern that works better one way). The Pirellis must have an internal structure that is different for braking and accelerating forces to the extent that when run the wrong way round it fails.

The left rear as an example could have a bespoke outer sidewall construction to cope with the loading from turning right (it will be the loaded edge at this point) whereas the inside sidewall will be of a construction that resists cuts from sliding over kerbs. The weave/construction could also be built up in such a way that if the tyre is correctly mounted it is very durable with regards to withstanding attacks from kerbs, debris etc coming towards it whereas if it is reversed in it's direction that structure can no longer protect itself and will fail after a few attacks. An extreme example is the tyres use don dragsters. They only have to cope with strong acceleration as the braking is primarily by parachute. Mount these tyres the wrong way ie what the F1 teams have been doing and they rip themselves apart.

Think of fish scales if you need to - rub along the fish front-to-back and it's smooth, do it back-to-front and all the scales lift up and tear off.


thanks for the explanation, i was trying to understand it. Is what you have described directional or asymmetric?

If the teams did swap the tyres around and the tyre was now running backwards wouldn't it mean that the inner side wall was still facing inwards, therefore the stronger side wall still on the outside??


The way I see it they are a combination of asymmetric and directional. The left rear tyre is designed only on the left rear, the rear right only there and so on. Bespoke tyre for each corner basically. Running the rear left on the rear right is the same as running a front tyre on the rear, it was not designed to be used by that so will not perform correctly/safely.

Yes the inside wall would be still on the inside when they switch the tyre from side to side as the rim design would mean the wheel would only fit this way unless Pirelli were to remount the tyre the wrong way round, which they would obviously not do!!

When thinking of this ignore the tyre markings stating direction, driver etc, these are added by the team after the tyres are mounted to be clearer for the mechanics at a glance. The team markings may well be stating a different operating direction to what Pirelli state, so the tyre is effectively doing a GP in reverse.


It would take a fantastically special effort to mount the tires the wrong way round... are the coloured markings even on both sides of the tire? Ive never really stopped and checked.

Quite what benefit to be gained from that practice is beyond me, and to suggest that 4 teams all managed to accidently swap tires over beggars belief.


I'm thinking that when you posted this there were no other posts for you to read...but now that there is take a squizz - they explain a lot 🙂


James, do you think this is a load of rubbish? Teams have been agressive in adjusting camber, PSI, and using the kerbs since the beginning of time and we never saw blowouts like this before 2013. The fault lies in the tire in my eyes. Previous tires were durable enough to withstand some abuse by the teams without disintegrating.



It's not that Pirelli hadn't had a chance to see how the teams are actually using their tires, it's not their first season in Formula-1, blaming the teams is the usual fingerpointing.

It's just that Pirelli are incapable of building proper tires that can take what Formula-1 is throwing at them.

Even worse: Pirelli engineers are working in the teams to prepare and mount the tires for them and it seems they never refused to mount the tires the other way round, nor has Pirelli ever openly criticized that practice, until now after the sh*t hit the fan.

And why is it that their tires are faster or more durable when used outside of the manufacturers specification? Should a tire not be built the way that they work best, when used like recommended by the manufacturer? Don't these guys know how to use their own tires?

Pirelli had long enough to get it right. But still their tires have a very narrow temperature window, they overheat quickly and don't come back, they have to be nursed even though they are changed 3 times. How many stops would we have, if the drivers were driving the cars to their full potential? Six or seven?

Pirelli are not worthy of Formula-1, let's get a proper tire manufacturer. The best long-term-solution would be to get rid of them alltogether.


I really find it incredible that people are blaming Pirelli. They can only be blamed for one thing:letting the idiotic Bernie and Fia, and the teams, dictate to them.

They should never have agreed to supply tyres that would degrade so quickly (as requested by Bernie, Fia etc). They should have made tyres that last the whole race, which of course they are well capable of doing.

Fast degrading tyres, re-fuelling pit stops... for decades now the bloody FIA has tries to artificially spice up things because in F1 there is not enough overtaking and not enough real racing.

As an old (not pretty dejected and disgusted) F1 fan I keep baning on the only "true" solution. Make on dammn rule, take away the wings. Stop letting teams build these stupid, ridiculous upside-down aeroplanes and force them to build CARS again. take away wings. put a tyre that lasts all the race, the thing will swing around like mad, and then only the best engines, and the best drivers, will shine through. The way it was. The way it should be.

If I wanna look at planes (and i love them more than F1 now) i can go to an airport. F1 is for cars, not upside down (ugly) planes.


Can I get an "amen"? Can I get an AMEN? CAN I GET AN AMEN? You're preaching a sermon I like.

Unfortunately, the FIA will never put that idea through. Mind you, there's no reason they can't, no reason they can't specify total wing area, position and number of elements - x total area with only a single plane front wing and single plane rear wing, barge boards and endplates prohibited. That kind of thing has been done with engines for years, where the FIA has specified maximum bore, number of valves, cylinder bank angle and so forth.

They have it the wrong way around: Clamp down on aero and open up the engine regs at bit. And diversify the permitted fuels while they're at it. Alcohol, diesel. You know, stuff that gets used on the road...

I'd take away pneumatic valvetrains (wholly irrelevant to road cars), and maintain the ban on things like boron. Otherwise, set a maximum displacement and have at it. If someone wants to run an unsupercharged ceramic V12, let them. If someone wants to use a V4 turbo-hybrid, let them. If someone want's to use an alcohol fueled V8 2-stroke? A diesel V6? Let them. Heck, to my ear, the best sounding F1 engine EVER was the supercharged BRM V16 (actually, every BRM sounded stirring). Bring in an updated version.

Aero fixation has contaminated other series - even Formula Ford. Aero emphasis has put F1 in the "we have to look road relevant so let's mandate a hybrid drivetrain" fix (and let's have DRS and pre-arranged pit stops and spec tires to spice up the show) that it's in now. Don't get me wrong; you can get frankly boring races under ANY formula. But racers, the drivers and the cars, were and are spectacular without having to be ground effect planes. It would be an interesting engineering challenge for the teams to build wingless (or minimally wingless) cars. And it would probably entice new teams to participate.

We need a new formula, one in which the rubber meets the road without wings. Modern tires, engines and chassis would give every opportunity for fast, spectacular racing.


Absolutely love your comment. Specially with regards with engine diversification. Now the only thing that differs on these cars are the design and number of "winglets" Who gives a flying **** about winglets? Now if there was the engine freedom you are talking about, THAT would truly be interesting, and useful for road cars as well maybe.

So... Amen to the Amen!

But are we preaching in the desert?

Maybe, when Bernie brings F1 to empty desert race tracks, when the european fans leave the sport, maybe then they will learn something. Too late probably.


Sorry about the typos, I think the comment posted is still understandable.


One more thing.


All of you who bum-rushed with blame at Pirelli, you're welcome to reply to this post with your apology now that you know the teams is where the blame lies. Yeah, don't blame Apple that your iPad doesn't work inside the oven at 200C, and don't blame Pirelli for all the improper ways the tires were used - that's 100% right down to teams.

And so...you know who you are, and you're welcome to clear your conscience for jumping to conclusions quickly.

I myself didn't. James will probably get an email offering me a set of new 18" 215/45 All Season Pirellis. In all good conscience, I won't be able to refuse them. 🙂

Wayne, once again - I'm still good if 2013 tires are left absolutely unchanged. I can't believe how right I've been on this one.

Scuderia McLaren

Hi Sebee. Are you referring to me? If so I just would like to point out that while I was disgusted with the tyre blow outs, and vocal about the drivers plight, and still am, in many posts I blamed the teams and said I feel sorry for Pirelli's plight. I never blamed Pirelli, I blamed the teams essentially for vetoing the better tyre. In 3 different articles here, I said, and I paraphrase, "I feel sorry for Pirelli and this stupid teams are putting the drivers lives at risk for their own gain. They don't drive the cars, and they don't care!"


Not at all Scuderia. My intention was not to single anyone out. Simply to point out how everyone blamed a contributing partner to the sport we enjoy, without having facts and without being properly informed. There are probably no less than 10K comments here that would count toward Pirelli bashing in past 30 days alone. I'm not trying to protect some coorporation, but I don't see this type of outrage against Renault when Vettel's car stops on the track for example.

Why are fans so quick to completely and without proper information say uninformed things about one product that fails, while treating another without any concern? Things have been failing in F1 for as long as I remember. In fact, I said a few times that I don't think failure of hardware has been happening nearly enough - and it's dramatic when it happens. We talked about it some time ago of the days when you could count the cars that finished a GP on your fingers.

Suddenly everything has to last for ever? Really? Let's be reasonable and accept that we're watching a sport in which prototyping of everything is the name of the game. Things will fail, reasons for the failure will be discovered, corrective measures taken.

To me it appears that the necessary corrective measure here for 2013 is teams following product specification, not changing the tire mid way through the season. I mean how dense can they be? Do you see a team put hydraulic fluid in the fuel tank and wonder why the car isn't going? How is this different?


Apology? I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

There's some ignorance here that does'nt realise that Pirelli has people in every garage. These Pirelli people help balance the tyres etc for whichever side the teams choose, including (in almost 100% of cases) the wrong side.

Sebee, you are just being sarcastic or cracking a boring joke, aint you?

By the way, what decent manufacturer makes things that last longer and perform miles better when used outside directions? Don't they know what they are doing? Hahaha!



Are you one of those people who tries to freeze ice in the crisper box and wonders why it won't solidify?

What are you talking about man? The world is full of products that have fine tolerances and limits. In fact, everything does. Imagine that even on Star Trek the magical imagined things have limits.

What are you saying? That Pirelli should be making a limitless product not a high performance product? If that's the case why does F1 need special tires at all? They should just go to local Mom & Pop Tire and Laundramat and buy tires off the shelf.

Do you understand product design and choices as they relate to features? Maybe you care to give me an example of a product that has no limits? I'd love to hear it, please go ahead.

Let me just tell you this - you're on your own with your view, and you're going down with the ship fast. The explanations given are not only logical, they are the most reasonable things I've heard through this whole episode. But there are always people that refuse to accept the logical. I'm known for a fun conspiracy theory or two, but really...this one - you can give it up.


As I agreed with you, I too await the apologies of those concerned. Please feel free to use this thread rather than start a new one 😉


Amazing how no one feels they were wrong, ain't it?


The teams blame Pirelli and you don't buy it but when Pirelli blame the teams you accept that at face value. We should wait for the teams to respond. If Pirelli think the tyres are fine why have they being trying so hard to change them, why did they try to bring in changes at Canada. If the tyres are fine and Pirelli are confident that the teams can run these tyres safely they should not change the tyres. Without the failures on Sunday the race would have been perfect with excellent compound selection as people were racing and it would have been a mix of 2-3 stops. If the tyres can be ran as they are I would be happy to keep them and let people get back to complaining about compound selection (even though we are getting 2-3 stops in the races). Maybe for next year Pirelli need a wider range of compounds as in some tracks to cant provide 2-3 stops such as Monaco, Spain and Bahrain.


Maybe Pirelli wanted to change because they could see the teams were not taking any notice of their guidelines and were mis-using their tyres. So in that case, the only safe solution would be to change the tyre itself.


The FIA alone, has the power to give the teams rules and guidelines.

Pirelli can talk to the FIA, but not the teams. There is a clearly delineated line of authority in F1.

If Pirelli cannot play within the limits laid down by the FIA, then they need to get out for the benefit of the sport.


Maybe Pirelli could have said loud and clear a lot earlier that teams were ignoring their guidelines. And not wait until now if that was the case. All Pirelli did was to say were analising tyres to fix the problem. All of a suden the teams are the problem. Please!!!


So, tyre/tire abuse is nothing new, Horner has been despicable in his commentary and supremely hypocritical when you consider the antics of his team and others, as reported by this website back in August and September of 2011 (see link below). I wouldn't blame Pirelli in the least if they elected not to continue in 2014 and beyond. RedBull have, for once, been found wanting in performance and they protest most vehemently and people lap it up; I'm sorry but the teams know what they're doing and have made the risk-benefit decision, live with it, and Lewis you are compelled to apologise to Pirelli and F1 for your statement made to the delectable BBC 1 reporter (who should be presenting the show). I for one had no issue with the happenings at the weekend on track, the teams make the call and the drivers get on with it (accepting ££££/$$$$/€€€€ in exchange for "risking our lives"), and those are the choices - get off the back of Pirelli, it's not remotely similar to when a certain tyre/tire manufacturer withdrew at Indianapolis! James - I shared an elevator with you and the Wiliams guys in the Friday small hours at the hotel (InterContinental) in Singapore in 2012 and wanted to say hi but you looked cream-crackered and I had just arrived from a 23 hour flight from Minneapolis for the Grand Prix so didn't want to bug you; love the site, love your commentary, great job!



I'd like to se that apology! Also, Vettel, Alonso....a collective letter signed by all drivers who complained. That would be something special.


Oh man...so that's why my iPad stopped working 🙁

You're right Sebee: Apologies to Apple.

Seriously though, kudos. You were one of the few who didn't jump on the jump on Pirelli bandwagon, but I hope you're not holding your breath while waiting for all those apologies to roll in 🙂


Funny, but kind of sad at the same time.


Has someone put together the F1 scandal list 2000 and onwards?Just want to know how creative and consistent F1 scandals have been over the years. A summary would be nice.

2000, 2001, 2002...:-)



Only two?

Goferet will handle it as he always handles it - with style and aplomb 😉


Tim, Random, if goferet does the list - let's be honest, it is certain to make one heck of a funny read! Wonder how goferet will handle the years where there were 2 scandals?!


I'm with Tim, goferet was my first thought also 🙂

Whoever does it, I hope they have a hell of of a lot of time on their hands 'cause it's going to take a while 😉


Sounds like the sort of thing goforet might be up for.


it's so simple to nip it in the bud by accepting responsibility. cutting flesh to patch a wound simply prolongs the pain.

f1 teams have used the same practices to race on the same tracks for so many years and have never witnessed this. the onlyu factor which has changed is the tyre so blame can only be placed at the tyre, nothing else. that's why pirelli has decided to strengthen the tyres for the next race.

sounds as if they are confused.


This is not correct...Pirelli have produced tyres to a(n) FIA/FOM specification not seen in F1 before and teams have had to adapt new strategies as a result of this...Pirelli are not confused...this is the way F1 works..teams constantly looking at any way to improve performance...except when it practically explodes in your face, some won't except responsibility and blame a third party..


Well, for the record, I have a BSc in Applied Physics and a B Eng in Mechanical Engineering plus I have actually raced on the current Silverstone G.P. circuit. I'm not suggesting anything here just trying to explain just how things work. Things don't break..we break them!...tyres no different..GET IT?


are you sure of what you're suggesting? why has pirelli denied blaming f1 teams for the tyre failures and presented proposals to make the tyres safer then? do you have another of those strange proposals? the truth is always simple. the only independent variable which resulted in the tyre failure is pirelli shortcomings. they failed to dictate to the teams that they had to change the tyres because they were unsafe, may be they couldn't be sure they were unsafe due to the test restrictions but hamilton same solutions were found to improve safety, instead they too the decision making process through democracy.

not complicated at all.


Pirelli is trying to build tires for this specification for how many kilometers now?


Teams have always swapped tyres and hopped kerbs, from the beginning of F1 to date without having exploding tyre issues. These days, they seem to have four IED's connected to their cars.

Whats that spec Pirelli have been trying to design tyres to again? Is it nuclear physics, a weapons course or what?


Pirelli knows pretty well what teams do to their tires, don't they? They've seen that for quite some time now. So you want to tell us that they deliberately built tires that would not stand the pressures and camber angles that they have seen applied by the teams since day one? I can't believe that this is deliberate. Now if that is not deliberate, it is by ignorance or incompetence.


If you study road traffic accident data, the highest single influencing factor is...under inflated tyres. This of course isn't deliberate just a lack of maintenance etc but it shows what happens when correctly designed and manufactured products..tyres...are used outside their recommended parameters..they fail. Motor racing is no different..even components that teams have full control over..design & manufacture..have to be very carefully "lived" to prevent premature failure.


This has turned into a very strange and unsavory situation for all really. The FIA have the drivers complaining to them. They then want answers from PirellI, who are working to the brief given to them by the FIA and it would seem are being shafted by the teams who aren't using the types as specified.

Pirelli would probably love to walk away at the end of the season but would take another bashing for leaving the sport in the proverbial mire whilst also thinking that the only way to claw any positive image back is to provide a solid tyre next year and possibly beyond


I guess that teams could deliberately swap tires to balance wear/thermal degradation since often it is a particular side (left at Silverstone) that encounters maximal loading. Can James or someone else more knowledgeable than me confirm?

The teams will attempt to use the tires in a way to maximize performance (recall Red Bull has a unique camber issue at Spa '11), often pushing things to the limit of safety. 'Twas always thus in F1. I can imagine that it is very hard to determine the probability of failure which seems to depend on so many variables. If one cannot stomach this prospect, then one could build highly conservative tires, exposing oneself to opposite the criticism of having made f1 boring. Hence Pirelli was caught between a rock and a hard place. No longer. After these failures, no one can argue that safety is not an issue, so the solution will likely be more conservative.

Intrigued about how this alters the balance of the title race. As entertaining as the final laps and comeback drives were I would have liked to see a race long head to head at the front at Silverstone (similar to the races we had at Austin/Silverstone last year). Clearly the failures we saw were the kind that drivers did not have much control over, without the benefit of hindsight.


James, there is a story on a couple of media sites that "Kevlar shards" were found on the track near where the tyre issues occurred.

Do you know if there is any truth to that story?


Asymmetric tyres.

Looks like NO ONE here has watched Gary Anderson's talk on tyres....?

Yes, everybody KNEW the tyres are asymmetric and marked so, but also that they are combination of cross ply and radial construction, i.e. some of the belts in construction are laid in DIAGONAL fashion, but only in one direction.

Some old hands remembered that in the past, mounting them wrong way affected their heating / graining and performance, so they tried it out.

And for some teams it worked, that was obviously noted by other teams. All was well until Silverstone. Pirelli mounts all the tyres, but have no control on which side the teams fit the wheels !Pirelli states that ALL the tyres that failed, were fitted to the 'wrong' side of the car.




This "trick" was hinted at in comments last year by a very well known now retired designer/engineer!


Reminds me of the iPhone fiasco a few years ago with no signals. Steve Jobs said "You are not holding it properly, don't put your thumb on the side of the case".

Pirelli is now saying "you are using our tyres wrong even though what you do is legal and logical and makes you go faster."

Great defense.


No... you need to read it all again...


difference is that it's not just a thumb. you are looking at a layer of lead blocking the signal.

it's not rocket science, is it. they are made for certain parameters and if the teams decide to be clever and use it differently, then they should bear the responsibility.

f1 isn't about racing. it's about exploiting every loophole and finding the extra edge by taking things to the extreme. then complain about others doing something else they haven't thought of to get it banned or changed, whilst blaming everyone but themselves if things go wrong.

take tyres. they can't design a car that use them properly. so they nudge for a change in the tyres. what better way to do it but to abuse the current one to make it look unsafe?


It is up to the teams how they set up their cars, tyres etc....how can Pirelli have any control over this...closely guarded secrets!

Teams have been warned by Pirelli regarding running outside known parameters but it is the teams' decision as to how they run their cars.


and therefore it is the team's fault if the blown tyre kills one of their drivers!


Yes, exactly..run at your own risk!


Holding your finger on a phone incorrectly is not liable to kill you.

Swapping L and R tyres?

Legal? Maybe, but I suspect not for long 😉

Logical? I'll just go ask Spock, see what he says...


Good!!! You ask Spock. I´ll ask Darth Vader



Nice. Pick a guy who's suit is made of Vulcan-ized rubber.


Just remember to take your anti-choke neck guard 😉

colin grayson

I run assymetric tyres on my car like many others ; if I had an accident and was found to have run these tyres the wrong way around , and underinflated , not only would my insurance company refuse to pay out but I would be in court for driving a dangerous vehicle

the reality seems to be that all parties are to blame here ...pirelli KNEW the teams were running tyres the wrong way round but didn't realise how dangerous it was ; certain teams were running cars with tyre pressures below the minimum recommended by pirelli and with camber angles beyond the design range , so the teams share the blame

in addition pirelli are not permitted to ensure that the tyres are operated within design parameters , FIA rules wrong again

in other words , normal F1 situation ...SNAFU


It's not Pirelli's fault that teams mounted the tyres the wrong way round. However, they surely know that F1 teams will do whatever it takes to win, and that sadly they will cut corners on safety if they have to. There is a long and shameful history of this in the sport.

To some extent then, we are all relying on Pirelli to save the teams from themselves (and to save F1 from disaster) by making robust tyres that won't explode if (and when) they are used improperly.


That's the problem!...some of the teams don't want to change the tyres because they know how to gain an advantage by using them "improperly"...if you introduce new specification tyres, you are starting from scratch in terms of setup and optimization, which some teams are reluctant to accept and are therefore obstructive..


This rare tyre swap trick has been practiced since the beginning of the season at least by Lotus, Ferrari and Force India. Mercedes started swapping rare tyres from Monaco as Ted Kravitz revealed during Monaco GP. Ted suspected that teams were practicing it because of better performance and good tyre management.

Pirelli has been aware of this tyre swapping of a thing since the beginning of the season or so, but did not advise against it. They are blowing the alarm now that it has come to hunt them.


Reading the Pirelli statement, is it not the case that what Pirelli are saying is, not that the left and right tyre are swapped (ie. the left wheel/tyre becomes the right or vice-versa), but the left and right side of an individual tyre is swapped?

So, the outside sidewall becomes the inside or vice-versa, thus fundamentally changing the way the tyre behaves if it has been designed to handle specific loads on the internal and external sidewalks.

Could be wrong, obviously..


Actually, even I now think I am wrong..


You'll never be a politician George, but a saint? Yeah...I'd vote for you 🙂


Again, a silmulation game after all. We all knew teams were swapping the tyres to gain some sort of performance, at least since monaco, where we all saw pictures of cars running them. So pirelli knew, the teams knew, no-one said a word. It is only now that it's become a safety issue that Pirelli is bringing the subject up. And rightly so!


I do wish the army of armchair experts would gain some perspective and realise that they are not commenting from a position of knowledge. The tyres and their interaction with the cars are so complex many of the top teams and drivers in the world cannot understand it with all of the resources at their disposal. How people who read a few web pages (often written by people the other side of the world from an F1 paddock) think that they know better than this, but don't manage to read enough to know that the tyres have been used the wrong way round for months is beyond me.

Pirelli (I believe) have a very narrow, moving window to operate in technically, a PR message that is hard to get across due to the narrow minded ness of half of the public and are in a sport that politically is the piranha club. They make an agressive tyre at the start of the year, get to test it in unrepresentative cold conditions, attempt to make changes but then cannot due to the teams/FIA and can't give a representative press release out as it appears most of the general public haven't worked out that the £1500 set of F1 Tyres aren't actually the same as their mate Rob fits onto their Focus at KwikFit.

Michelin (Indy 2005), Bridgestone (every other race in 2005 where they were off the pace, and they had their own tyre failures that defined championships) and Goodyear (having to make an emergency shipment of tyres to Barcelona 1991 on the eve of the race) all made mistakes in their time in F1 so it is not like Pirelli are forging a new path of incompetence.

Enjoy F1 for what it is. There's some great racing going on this season which is fundamentally the reason why we all enjoy the sport. Is continually complaining about element you don't like actually adding to your enjoyment of F1? Making an ill informed judgement that the tyres are unsafe and then ranting about this on a blog isn't anyones job here (unless I've missed a post by Bernie or Charlie Whiting, but I think that's unlikely) and isn't going to achieve anything other than most likely annoying the host of the blog to the point that comments are shut down.


"...it is not like Pirelli are forging a new path of incompetence"

Lol! Thats true, the are forging a new path of incompetence after incompetence after incompetence.

Enough has gone on this year for them to make sensible changes. Its not like F1 ran on anything different from tyres before Pirelli "exploded" on the scene.


Thumbs up Phil, that's the most sensible post I've read here.


+1. Well said.


I'm not enjoying F1 this year, specifically because of the tyres. I ditched the extra Package I had to sign up to this year to get NBCSN for the GPs after about 5 races. I'll watch the few free to air races, and watch the news websites to see if it's improved. The latest tyre debacle shows that it seems to be getting even worse.

Nothing I'm reading, and nothing I've seen on the two free to air races I've watched since then has convinced me to pay anything extra to watch more of them.

Pirelli have made a crappy product this year. The teams have tried every trick they can to get decent performance out of them. They've probably gone beyond what was safe in that regard, but Pirelli haven't stopped them, so they're equally culpable.

Bring back real racing with tyres that can be run on the limit, so that the top drivers and top cars win. F1 is a bad joke this year.


I'm intrigued as to who isn't a top driver out of Raikonnen, Alonso, Vettel, Rosberg, and similarly which isn't a top team out of Lotus, Ferrari, Red Bull and Mercedes?


people who are dedicated F1 followers are fully entitled to an opinion albeit right/wrong or simply misinformed.

of course people who post here, in the main, are most likely not professionally competent to make a detailed and accurate summation of the problems involved but they do comment re 'published' punditry.

my basic problem with the status quo is that the 'trick' tyres which have been introduced are another artificial element that was totally uncalled for. these 'degradable' tyres were not needed. this quest for the 'spectacle' is a low rent approach to what is marketed as the 'pinnacle' of motorsport!! what a joke. i have followed F1 since inception and prior to that the GP events back to the '60's. artificiality has degraded the concept. i derive immense enjoyment out of racing and technical engineering excellence combined with innovation.

it is time to reinstate a 'quality' approach to F1 and leave the 'spectacle' to those who crave it.


To be honest its the bloggers I'm complaining about more than making a point of the quality of the racing. In some ways I agree with you regarding the spectacle, mainly as regards DRS as that makes it an unbalanced race in my view.

The tyres are the same for everyone though. That Vettel and others can master them better than others is part of the sport, in the same way that Senna was softer on his tyres the Berger in the McLaren. There has to be some variation/randomness involved as unfortunately with all the computing/simulation power the teams have now, you'll end up with identical cars doing identical strategies, with the fastest in qualifying slowly pulling away from the rest. It'll be an exercise in field spread.


How do Pirelli know the tyre pressures were to low? From used tyres?

About the swapping of tyres, if you swap left and right tyres, then isn't the outer wall of the tryre still on the outside, and the inner wall still on the inside? I thought it is only the rotation direction that is wrong this way?

Only if were to mount them the wrong way on the rim, then the outer wall would be on the inside, I am not sure if that is possible.

Also, in that case, any arrow indicating the rotation direction would again "point" in the right direction, however I think I actually remember seeing a pic of a Merc in Monaco where you could see such an arrow on a left rear that was pointing in the wrong directon.


Re pressures...they can tell by measuring tread depths across the tyre and wear patterns...also have spotters in pits monitoring pressures...Gary Anderson picked this up during the broadcast mentioned some teams using only 15psi, which is below minimum recommended pressures..re sapping...if you do a direct swop.left to right and maintain same direction...inside left wall then becomes outside right... longitudinal stresses remain same but lateral stresses swop over...teams using this to even out wear..


To all the posters asking about the tyre swapping.

Pirelli has been clear that the tyres are assymetric and all tyres are marked.

Teams have been deliberately swapping tyres because they get an advantage.




On the 9th June i wrote the following to you.

"Slightly off the above topic I know but relevant to recent events and probably forthcoming ones.

Yesterday Christian Horner confirmed that they had been approached by Pirelli to test and they had refused. That in itself is not that surprising although it must have added to Pirelli’s frustration and ability to resolve an obvious and high profile issue when Red Bull was screaming the loudest that there was a problem.

What I found very interesting was when CH was pressed on what Mercedes could have learned in the test he said (I Think) that they found that if the turned the tyre around it reduced wear.

Did I hear him correctly. Is this the Ply Steer effect that Gary Anderson referred to on the Good Years which was resolved at the Canada GP in 1997? The effect is fully described by GA on the BBC F1 web-site.

Have Mercedes adopted this different method of fitting. Presumably they and others would need Pirelli approval. If it has, have other teams including Red Bull discovered this and are, or are going to adopt it.

Thanks for all of the insights into the wonderful and complex world of F1."

Given todays announcement it seems incredible that there was not a greater understanding of what has been going on.

It is totally beyond belief particularly when drivers, marshalls, spectators well being was at risk.



I am sure Gary Anderson explained the rational for mounting tyres on the wrong side a couple of races ago. I didnt follow the logic but it was to reduce the heating problems and hence improve wear.


I have to be honest and say that I think Pirelli are being used as scapegoats. Yes the tyres are failing, no they should not fail, nor should the teams run them outside of the designed parameters.

Since the teams are penalised when gearboxes or engines fail surely the rules should say that the teams get penalties when when they run tyres the wrong way round/cambers out of spec/pressures out of spec.

The teams really should start taking responsibility for using tyres incorrectly if they have been given operational specs by Pirelli.


I think we might well see that idea coming into effect at some point.


It has been stated that the tyres are asymmetrical, and NOT that they are Directional. This is NOT the same thing, and the same asymmetrical tyre CAN be used on either the left OR the right side of the car, if it is not directional. What the problem has been is that the tyres have a designated OUTSIDE and an INSIDE, and it is this that is being ignored by some teams it would seem, gong by the info from Pirelli (as the refer to internal and external sides) Having said that, they are also making comments about left hand tyre mounted where right hand tyre should be, so they are either dumbing down the explanation or not understanding themselves!


Pirelli fits the tyres to the rims, not the teams. So, they are squarely to blame if inside and outsides are mixed on the teams request.


some interesting comments for further thought there, but i come back to the primary cause as that is where i see the detonation genesis.

why change the tyres in the first place. the latter '12 tyres were a known constant and performed quite well as opposed to the 'tricked up' '13 models.

my interpretation of 'degradation' is 'weakened/less robust/rapid wearing' and it seems as though all those conditions have been met.

pirelli are solely reponsible for the chemical composition and construction of the tyres and therefore they cannot blame others for what appears to be, prima facie, an attempt to weasel out accepting the blame.pirelli signed up to the 'spectacle'of their own free accord. they could well have simply said 'no' to junk compounds.

yes, maybe some teams did change the running parameters. pirelli has oversight in the all the pit garages plus total control of tyre/rim fittings by their own dedicated personnel. they would've been fully aware of what the teams were doing vis-a vis the settings. pirelli tyre people are on the spot whenever wheels are changed.

it seems to me that this world wide wrestling adjunct has gone on for too long and too far.this entire episode has been lurking for a while now and it is high time it was rectified. pirelli simply need to make a tyre that will endure the rigours of a fast and furious F1 race. end of story.


These tyres they're bringing to Germany are the same ones they already tested on the Mercedes in Barcelona, correct?

That should help Merc to another victory ...


Can someone tell me which teams are swapping the left and right rear tires, what do they gain, and how the new tyre changes will influence that?


If it is true that Right Rear tyres are being reused as a Left Rear due to wear issues then more tyres need to be made available to the teams per grand prix weekend.

If as Pirelli claim that the tyres are safe, then why are they changing the specs?


How quickly can the teams change the tyres from left to right? Could be quite handy in qualifying essentially getting an extra set of tyres. Use same tyres Q1 + Q2 leaving two option tyres untouched for Q3. Also helps with full allocation of prime tyres for the race.


Oh my God, what planet are Pirelli living on, talk about PR disaster upon PR disaster!

If the teams were using the tyres the wrong way around, of course Pirelli knew this and yet they went along with it and continued to supply tyres. Maybe it was in the course of the Barcelona test that Mercedes learned to use the tyres in this way.

It beggars belief that Pirelli had no means or mechanism under the terms of their contract or in law to prevent the teams from using its product dangerously and releasing tonight's statement is just an insult to people's intelligence. It's a poorly judged and lame attempt to recover credibility after the complete marketing and brand fiasco for Pirelli, that was the British Grand Prix.

Pirelli truly don't appear to know what they doing, and I am sorry to say that their next clue, will be their first one.

Craig in Manila

Whilst the reasons detailed in the Pirelli press-release sound plausible, I still have trouble believing them. After all, it's in their financial interests to blame other parties and not themselves. Just saying.

I note that "debris" has not been mentioned even though this was stated as being the cause for some previous delaminations ? Has that cause now been retracted and replaced by these new ones ?

Did Pirelli, at any stage, advise the Teams that the swapping of tyres could lead to structural failures ?

Aliaksei Kandratsenka

Hm. So everyone will have a chance to learn and adapt for newer tyres during Silvestone test except Mercedes ?

Looks a bit excessively harsh as punishment for tyre-gate IMHO.



Excessively harsh?

After a secret and illegal test?

I'm glad I don't live on the same planet as you.


Way to go Pirelli

After Silverstone I was angry by what happened to Hamilton, but decided to wait for a proper investigation whereas almost everyone turned their hammer on Pirelli.

Even if I can understand critics from driver's, I cannot accept the immediate public lynching done by most teams on Pirelli, especially Horner. Only Ross Brawn, team boss of the most affected team by the events, had the good sense of not jumping into conclusions

It's sad to see a brand that worked hard to bring something new to the sport, being bashed on every chance anyone gets

I guess some people miss the times where racing was over after the first corner!!!

This reminds me of a great quote from the film Lawrence of Arabia

"So long as the Arabs fight tribe against tribe, so long will they be a little people, a silly people - greedy, barbarous, and cruel, as you are"


Another fantastic article James - thanks.


Looks like now it's the teams and not the tyres who might be under pressure.


Regardless of what the teams did with pressures & Camber (Nothing new with them pushing the limits), If Pirelli had not changed the tyres so drastically for 2013 I doubt we would have seen any of the problems we have seen this year.

They made all the compounds softer, Changed the entire construction, Went with squarer sidewalls, Introduced the steel belt & changed the bonding process.

The steel belt means the tyres run at higher temperatures & are more prone to overheating. It also makes the tyre structure more rigid which is perhaps why the 2013 tyres to date have been more prone to suffering damage.

As far as I can tell there was never any need to make a move to a steel belt, There was nothing wrong with the 2011/2012 tyres so was never any reason to make the significant changes Pirelli decided to make.

We have seen problems with the 2013 tyres all year, Be it extreme degredation creating 'tyre management' races, The delaminations, An increase in cut tyres & the issues at Silverstone.

Pirelli should know about teams running low PSI & high camber rates (Been doing it forever, Remember Spa 2011?) & should design tyres with tolerances taking this into account. Pirelli will also know what the teams are doing, They could have easily stepped in & changed there recommendations (Again they did Post Spa 2011).

Tyre swapping, Its been no secret & I gather Pirelli themselfs tried it during there Mercedes test, Pirelli could have stopped this if they felt it was an issue.

Silverstone kurbs, Been there since 2009 & have never caused problems in any category apart from F1 2013.


All done as per FIA request...



The changes made to the 2013 tyres were 100% down to Pirelli, They were never asked or told to make the changes.

The steel belt, Softer compounds, Different construction/sidewall design were things Pirelli decided to do, Not something they were asked or told to do.


Maybe its about time we stopped making tires designed to wear purely for 'the show' & went back to making tires that were actually the best they could be.

This is afterall supposed to be the pinnacle of motorsport, We certainly have not had the pinnacle of tire technology in F1 since Pirelli came in.

The whole 'High degredation' 'spice up the show' era of F1 tires has been a complete farce, Especially in 2013 where clearly Pirelli took things way too extreme.


"Especially in 2013 where clearly Pirelli took things way too extreme."

Under instruction from the FIA.



The FIA never asked Pirelli to change anything for 2013, All the changes to the 2013 tyres were made solely by Pirelli.