F1 Winter Break
A dramatic day for Mercedes on several levels
Posted By:   |  19 Dec 2013   |  1:38 pm GMT  |  265 comments

Mercedes have had quite a day’ first they announce the exciting news that they are to add two big names from main rivals Red Bull to their ever-growing roster of technical staff by employing Mark Ellis and Giles Wood.

Then Nico Rosberg suffered a Pirelli tyre failure at 320km/h on the final day of the three day Bahrain test, ending Mercedes’ activity at the test.

Rosberg was moved to Tweet about it: “Just spun at full speed 320km/h on Bahrain straight cause my tyre blew up without warning,” he wrote. “Thanks to that need to get some toilet paper now”

However he was clearly asked to take the Tweet down soon afterwards. Nevertheless it had been screen-grabbed and is widely in circulation.

Pirelli issued a statement some hours later saying that the tyres being tested in Bahrain were “prototypes” and adding, “Nico Rosberg’s Mercedes was fitted with one of these prototypes, a tyre which had only been tested in the laboratory and which will not be proposed again.

Thus, the safety of the tyres which will be supplied for the next Championship is not in question.”

The signing of Ellis and Wood, who are contracted to Red Bull until June 2014 adds to the list of significant engineering players to leave the Milton Keynes squad, following chief aerodynamicist Peter Prodromou, who has agreed to join McLaren in 2015.

Red Bull has dominated the sport since 2010, with design and aerodynamics being at the forefront of their success.

For Ellis, Red Bull’s head of vehicle dynamics, the move is a return to familiar ground after previously working as chief engineer for BAR Honda up to 2008 – having input on the 2009 Brawn. He returns to Brackley as Performance Director, working alongside Bob Bell, Geoff Willis, Aldo Costa. Paddy Lowe takes over one half of the team; the technical and racing side of the operation with the departure of Ross Brawn.

Wood, meanwhile, has been chief engineer of simulation and analysis since a switch from McLaren in 2010, and he takes up the role of chief engineer for simulation and development.

The appointments are the first under the new leadership of Lowe and Toto Wolff, who have a difficult task ahead of them. Lowe’s commitments as Executive Director will require him to fill the boots of Ross Brawn and the responsibilities that come with that.

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Pirelli have to get on top of the blowouts ... we can't have another season with them front and centre.


@ Elie, what I know about airplane tires is beyond your scrutiny, much the same goes for what your bro told you. We all got some aeronautical 'insider" in the family. I am reacting to your here say stories and imagined authority. Pirelli failed F1 badly, that is the bottom line.


@Kartrace for f/k sake - I agree with you on Pirelli- read my other posts on the subject. I don't agree with you on the comparison of aeroplane tyres!- who are you to question what I can or can't scrutinise .not only has my "bro" as you pointedly put it-worked on plane tyres and I figure they would know better than ANYONE. I've been in the transport & logistics industry for over 30 years and have in depth knowledge on the matter.

Before you throw sarcastic pointless comments why don't you tell us what is your qualification and expertise in the subject and stop wasting people's time ? No one is saying they Aeronautical geniuses -- unless of course that's you-- do you work for NASA genius ?And if so your wasting your time talking about tyres


@Kartrace - READ THE POST
- Im not an aeronautical genius - I was asking sarcastically asking if you were. !My background is transport and logistics which relevant to your initial plane tyre comment
-I did not take second hand info & twist it to my advantage- I simple stated that plane tyre failures are far more common.( unsurprisingly) - Known facts from someone in the plane industry and me!.
- this forum adds great insight / perspective to F1- we should all use our knowledge to add value/ accuracy to any perspective.



[mod]. If you are highly specialized aeronautical professional then go and find some other specialized forum. It is your rite to agree or disagree on any matter here. The point is that you are taking second hand info and abusing buy bending it for your own purpose. Which is a blatant here say. The fact that my uncle is a nuclear physicist doesn't qualify me for that vocation. If I mentioned airplane tires doesn't mean that I am stupid and imply that they are of the same design, properties and application, far from that. Still there is a way to bench test F1 tires for stress and durability before they hit the testing ground exposing drivers to unexpected blowouts. Same goes for the aircraft tires. Unlike you I do not use my qualification and expertise as the "authority shield" here. I do that only where it matters. Chill out.


To be fair to Pirelli, these sessions are for tyre development so they have time to fix it.

However I heard that the loads on the tyres from the 2014 cars are going to much, much higher than to 2013 cars. So if the current construction is blowing up with the lower loads of the 2013 cars, they have a LOT of work to do over the next... month!


Oh come on, it was obviously debris on the track that caused it 😉


Haha...well said!


If the teams can stop bickering like six year old children and let Pirelli design and develop the tyres properly, then perhaps 2014 won't be a season with them front and centre.

It seems many fans are uninformed and unaware that Pirelli have been instructed to design tyres that would not last long - so when Pirelli *do what they are told* they are accused of not being able to design tyres that last long.

I think Pirelli should be allowed to design tyres that last an enter race distance and leave it up to the teams to design their cars and strategies around them. Any teams that aren't up to the task: tough.


Rosberg could very easily have died, then where would your argument about Pirelli doing what they've been told be?

They are incompetent, that's all.


Ha Sebee! maybe I'll hold you to that drink one day. 🙂

I'm not sure how many engines Mark Webber used, but thats where I'd look. He was on the edge, yet never ran out of engines.



One day we will sit down in a pub and talk. We seem to misunderstanding each other.

My point to you is that the tire didn't just explode. It was being subjected to constant forces. It didn't explode sitting in a garage.

As for engines being tough cookies, would you care to tell me how many went for 4 GPs and how many 3 weekend engines we've seen fail on Friday free practice?

Again, we have to agree to disagree.


Lol Sebee, you are missing the point. Tyres and helmets are designed for absolutely different purposes; helmets to cushion and mitigate head impacts, tyres for traction/suspension. So, you can't put a helmet through the rigours you would put a tyre.

In the same way, you won't expect a tyre to protect a head. You mentioned Scghumacher's accident (and Massa's) above as an examples of helmets failing. I would point out those accidents as examples of helmets doing a stellar job, because both men would not be with us if not for their helmets; we have had helmets softening the devastation of accidents exactly according to design and safety factor. This is quite unlike the case of tyres exploding and actually causing the accident.

As an aside, do you know that there are people at F1 Technical who are of the opinion that an F1 tyre manufagturer working with a safety margin of not 3 or 4, but 10 is incompetent? The people who use F1 Technical tend to be engineers, aero guys, race drivers etc, some of whom are (or have been) in F1 or similar sports.

As for engines, think about it; no team has ever run out of their seasons quota of engines no matter how many times a car has crashed (think Grosjean, think Maldonado). Its because the engines a tough cookies that can go much farther than is written on the tin, due to the safety factor.


Oh, and I was wrong. 2013 behind us, I put the rules out of my mind, but with 8 engines per driver, most engines were used only for 2 weekends, with a few for 3 weekends.

Meaning the life of an engine is likely 3.5 or 3.8 weekends by design, or perhaps 4GPs distance absolutely maximum. And it likely also depends what kind of GPs.

As we know certain power circuits drivers prefer to have fresh engines, and likely no single engine is used on two power circuits throughout the year. I'm sure they monitor use, forces, distance, quite closely and based on that look at the engine without braking seals and decide if it can go a 3rd weekend, as some engines need to over the season.

I actually wonder if any team used any engine more than thrice during this 8 engine per season rule.


Yes Quade, I decided that we won't. Reason is simple, your rule of 3 or 4 times safety margin is not realistic for all things and yet you insist on it.

Also, in our exchange of examples in your final point here you choose two items that may as well be like comparinge eggs to snow. Helmet is a non wear component that is needed on occasion only, is designed for single impact and is less effective after that initial impact. Tire is subject to constant heavy wear, friction, full engine and breaking loads on by the second basis. Subject a helmet to those same forces tires live with at those same intervals and the helmet would absolutely explode way before reaching end of sector 1 on lap 1.

I believe I have illustrated that your rule ot 3 of 4 times safety doesn't apply in F1 and doesn't apply in real world as some things are beyond safety margins. Even on the point that you think an F1 engine would do 3 times the 4 GP distance I can't agree with you. We have seen engines used for 4 GPs fail in Friday practice. No team would put a 4GPs used engine in 2013 on the grid for fear of DNF and performance disadvantage.


Hmmmmmmm! I have never ever heard of any F1 (or ski) helmets spontaneously exploding, causing danger to life and causing an accident, while the wearer was going about harmless routine motions.

That is what happened to Rosberg. The tyres were a direct danger to his life, not a mitigating factor in accident as in the cases you mentioned, BUT THE CAUSE of the accident.

That's why its incompetence, but you've decided we will never agree, so I guess your mind is made up.


Oh and let me just be clear Quade. I enjoyed our exchange and I do respect your view. Simply it differs from mine and I accept we have to disagree on this one after putting the reasons for our views forward.

Honestly, I've said this again and again. It's one of the things that makes F1 enjoyable and great conversation topic among the knowledgable fans. There are many ways to see things. As many fans as there are around the world, I bet you no fan feels exactly the same way about all the subjects/issues.




I can see we won't see eye to eye.

As for an establishment that's engaged in quackery and voodoo I offer to you...NASA. Yes, the agency that brought us space exploration mirracles I assure you has often pushed the limits of possible and clearly deployed systems that did not meet your requirement of 3 or 4 times safety margin to deliver to us knowledge which otherwise could not be achieved. Where is their safety margin now, as they recruit people for a one way trip to Mars?

Helmets in most cases motorcycle, F1 or otherwise cannot sustain the forces we think they may. You think a human head can sustain a direct impact at 200km/h just because it's helmetted? Look at what a little spring did to Massa? Look at Schumi's situation. Massa hit a spring which was light and while slowing was traveling forward still in same direction as he was, so there was a differential in speed but he did not hit a stationary object. Schumi was traveling at 50km/h at most and hit a stationary object. Where is the margin of safety in these helmets designed for 30km/h or 40km impacts. You can clearly see a benfit of helmets, but you don't see them eliminating injury in what I would expect should be avoidable injuries. Massa's incident in my view should have been scenario where he should have taken off the helmet with no injuries. Schumi should have a bump at most. I'm sure we could design a helmet that would eliminate injury completely. Where is that helmet? Why isn't it here? Where is the 3 or 4 times safety margin in a safety device?

Anyhow, as I said, we won't see eye to eye here and you see the balance of safety differently. You don't see that risk is part of the appeal. You don't see that going too far on safety and PC views is going to turn F1 into Professional Pillow Fighting League.


That F1 engine you think can last only 4.5 or 4.8 weekends, will surely do at least 3 times that amount if put to the test. That's the safety margin and the reason we do not see regular engine blow-ups. Brakes are built to last only one race, I can similarly assure you that they can safely do 3 or four. Again, that's the safety margin. It is the same with the monocoque. helmets race suits worn by pit crews, drivers etc.

Secondly, no sport is a prototype sport. Human life cannot be treated with such a cavalier attitude. With Roman gladiators in Roman times, yes. But not in 2013, we are not cavemen or something of the sort.

All engineering implements safety factors. If you find any establishment that doesn't, you can safely conclude that they are engaged in quackery with more to do with voodoo than physics or chemistry. Needless to say, such an establishment is dangerously clueless (as is Pirelli), incompetent and should be stopped as a matter of urgency for safety reasons.



I looked it up.

May I ask you remember what I said to Bernt, that F1 is a prototype sport. It is not intended to be subject to the same industrial standards you quote. It is subject to one thing, and one thing only - delivering a fastest lap time around a circuit. That is it's goal. Not to have factors of safety.

That's why an engine designed in F1 to last 4 race weekends last 4.5 or 4.8 weekends, not 16 or 20 weekends as your margin of safety or industrial standards would dictate. That's why tires last 20 or 30 lap, not 80 or 100.

You're choosing to see things through glasses that don't represent what F1 is about. Lightest, fastest. You want safest with plenty of margin, perhaps I can suggest watching Professional Pillow Fighting?

Man...I really needed that chuckle after all this Schumi stress. That's for taking one on the chin Quade.


Sebee, look up "factor of safety."

It is an industrial standard thats usually 4:1 or 5:1. In other words, the product should continue delivering when the stresses are continuously 4 to 5 times above normal working expectations.

It is IMPOSSIBLE to exceed safety margins through normal use. If that happens, then the manufacturer is incompetent.


You saw where I was going. And perhaps my question made a point.

To your response, I agree that you have to build in safety margin. But you also have to recognize that on an F1 tire, safety margin means basically "more laps" in the tire. So do you think teams will respect the safety margin and change tire before reaching that margin OR will they push well into that margin to try and gain an advantage under racing conditions?

You see? This heavy wear component is always going to be abused. As Paul gently indicated that his partner teams did. When millions are on the line for a point scored they will take every single lap out of a tire. Unless they know failure and DNF or crash is the result of pushing into that margin. But in F1, even when they do push there they have someone convenient to blame.


That's a really weird question.

Firstly, Rosberg was driving in a straight (emphasis - "straight") line and not going beyond any limits.

Secondly, it is empirical fact that we do not have test drivers crashing or test cars exploding - the reason being that they have been properly engineered with wide enough safety and performance margins.

Those margins are an engineering principle (more like dogma) and are built into every product in such a way that they are BEYOND the capability of the operator to breach. That is why you can have a bridge built for normal traffic able to handle nose to bumper traffic of heavy goods trucks or even military tanks, it is also why you don't get stuck in the lift everyday, or a recklessly driven car does not explode due to its highly volatile load of petrol.

If an operator can breach safety or performance limits, then the engineers responsible are incompetent, as is the case with Pirelli whose tyres explode when driven in a straight line.


Interesting retort.

May I ask you then Quade, if you would blame the car if the driver pushed it past that limit and crashed?


Perhaps you also expect test drivers of new cars to regularly crash, because they are testing the limits?

Bringing it back to F1; how many crashes do we see when drivers are testing their new cars at the beginning of the season? Yet, these machines are orders of magnitude more complex than a tyre.

Be real. Pirelli is incompetent.


Incompetent? Because it is the first time they are testing with some of these variables? And there tests showed them where the limits are?

If they don't do that, then they are poor tests.


Pirelli have to test to failure IF the FIA is mandating that tyres are still a limiting factor in F1. As they have not changed that, then it is hard to understand what would be a successful test besides finding the limits.


I hope he realizes this every time he puts on a helmet. Because it's the reality.


It looks to me that most people defending Pirelli here are the associates of the rubber mafia. Pirelli is guilty of accepting to design and produce something that clearly either isn't possible or they are short of ideas. Anyhow they are overly opportunistic at someone else expense. Even life possibly. Is it worth anyone's life. I'd say NO !


"It seems many fans are uninformed and unaware that Pirelli have been instructed to design tyres that would not last long"

It seems you are uninformed and unaware that Pirelli have not been instructed to build tyres that fail unexpectedly, have a letterbox-size tempereture window and are faster when conserved over a whole stint than thrashed around the corners and I don't think anyone orderes tyres that would transform in so many marbles that a tad of the racing line you will shoot rubber bullets at the drivers following you.


/“It seems many fans are uninformed and unaware that Pirelli have been instructed to design tyres that would not last long”

It seems you are uninformed and unaware that Pirelli have not been instructed to build tyres that fail unexpectedly/

It seems you are uninformed and unaware that Pirelli were not allowed to test the tyres properly with current cars before the season started, and there have been no serious incidents with these not properly tested tyres unless teams used them contrary to recommendations.


Pirelli has to go before they get someone killed... It is just a matter of time, rest assured it will happen.


Why can't we have blowouts KRB? Tires are a heavy wear component. No matter how tough you make them, you run them long enough - they will blowout.

The tweet wasn't necessary, I agree. This is a private Pirelli test. How can Pirelli know the failure point of a proposed construction/compound, unless they push them to point of failure?


My interest in F1 has reached its lowest mainly because of the silly gimmicks and incompetence injected into the sport to make it a show. It seems the gimmicks will keep flowing.


Well, you know how it is Quade. You see things through your own glasses.

But I have to say, it's funny that you say I'm being inventive and that you don't recall the press and fans talk about no passing in F1. I say funny because they redesigned tracks like Hungary and Monaco, plus others and introduced DRS and took away winglets and played with tires because of the complaints.

And I think many here would agree Quade, qualifying for Monaco is most exciting, and the race itself can on occassion offer entertainment. Otherwise, Sunday @ Monaco is mostly really a formality.

OK, we have to agree to disagree. In light of track redesigns, DRS, other factual things that happened that you're choosing to ignore in this conversation I don't think I can have a logical discussion with you.



I certainly do not recall such. So I think you might be inventive. I have been an ardent F1 fan for a pretty long time now.

Fans were never bitter about the absence of overtakes, that was invented by the FIA and Bernie. Real fans understand the nature of the sport and are not bothered by show style racing.

In fact, Monte Carlo which is the most boring race to the new footie style fan plaguing F1, is one of the most exciting races on the calendar to the genuine fan.


I think your memory may be selective. I clearly remember endless complaints about how things are being taken out of driver's hands with all the technology.

Are tou saying fans were happy? May I remind you that the "there is no passing in F1" and FIA surveys where fans complained about no oassing started when Schumi was in red?


You know any arguments about Schumi's time and gimmicks would be pedantic.

The only complaints people have from that era are about the FIA and Mad Max. I would rather have those any day than have my IQ lowered by WWF style gimmicks, but I guess its different strokes.


I hear you.

But even today, with all of the gimmicks races can be "boring". And when they are, you don't hear the admiration of the spectacle. You hear...boring! Turned it off. Which is why they put these things in. It's a response to all those who find things boring.

You know, we could argue that during Schumi's time, rules many seem to long after (V10s, no KERS, no DRS, Bridgestone, etc.) people were complaining about driver aids, gimmicks at the time, aero, etc. Seems we are always unhappy. No matter what.


Bridgestone was able to handle all of it. Even Indianapolis banking. No one is bench testing tires for the loads in straight line only, where did you get that ?


Square wide edges of Michelin were the reason they couldn't handle the indi banked.


I guess what concerns me is that it was on the straight (i.e. under less load). Bahrain doesn't have any high-speed corners, but imagine this happening at Barcelona in T3?!? Torque is going up from 350 lb-ft to 600 lb-ft!! Pirelli said they were going conservative this year ... not conservative enough looks like.


Blowouts are not good – people can die.

All F1 components have a designed-in safety margin, albeit much lower than their commercial counterparts. Your argument suggests there should be more high-speed monocoque and suspension failures in order to find their respective limits, thereby ‘refining’ the cars’ performances via weight-reduction of critical components – increased ballast enabling more flexible circuit set-ups.

Suggest you discuss your philosophy with Jackie Stewart – he might disagree.



Obviously, you don’t have a technical background.

No matter, F1 is all about ‘entertainment’ now -

So your subjective ‘insights’ are also welcome.



Do you understand that F1 is a prototype series?

That means many if not most of the things done are experimental. If you grasp this, you begin to understand how amazing the reliability level achieved in today's F1 is. Go back to GPs where 5 cars would finish, and guaranteed 5 mechanical failures per GP to remember how we take that reliablity for granted.

I would really love for you to explain to us all here how exactly does a tire maker construct a rig for testing of tires that applies the loads the F1 car is subjected to on constant basis?

Have you figured it out yet? If not, here is the hint for you Bernt. That rig looks a lot like this:


Can we at least come together Brent and find ourselves on the same page now?



No, I don't find it rude suggesting I 'read over my old notes from school'.

Sadly, it confirms my suspicions that you are living in the past as those notes would obviously not include the vast technological strides made in the last four decades - not only on the digital simulation front but also regarding mechanical test rigs where components can be tested to destruction - tyres included.

What you fail to understand is that when a tyre disintegrates prior to the driver sensing the grip-level is beginning to drop below acceptable levels then the issue is serious.



I appreciate your credentials and experience. Thank you for listing them.

I hope you don't find it rude I suggest you read over your old notes from school. When you're comparing tires that wear by the lap or by sector to monocoque that fatigues minimally and lasts a season for sake of your point, how can we have a logical discussion?

And yes, these tires put the risk firmly into driver's hands. That's why he has a radio button on his steering wheel, to call to the wall and request a pit if needed.



I’ve followed F1 for 50 years and have a background in science so understand it well enough – there’s a huge difference between component failure which causes the car to slow or stop and a catastrophic failure which turns it into a potentially lethal projectile at maximum speed.

The risk should be firmly in the driver’s hands regarding testing the intact vehicles’ limits.

Once again, your hyperbolic style suggests an emotional rather than logical bias.

If you interpret the cold, clear light of reason as ‘pointless bashing’ that is your prerogative.


I'm not crash and burn. And I'm certainly not 25 years behind.

Simply a guy who has seen enough motor racing to understand that things break. They are supposed to if we're pushing to go faster. And tires fail everywhere.

I'm not saying 20% blowouts rate is acceptable. But clearly your view of 0% is even more out to lunch than that I feel. Everyone here needs to accept the reality that 1 to 2% of tires made for the season will fail or be pushed to fail due to strategy.

The sooner we come to understand this reality, the sooner well stop this pointless bashing of Pirelli.


@ Sebee. Proof is in the pudding. Bridgestone seldom had troubles, howz that for you ?



Not sure if you’re an old-school ‘crash-and-burn’ advocate or just trolling for a laugh.

Either way your patronising style and anachronistic logic are around 25yrs. behind the times.



Again you are living in a padded wall room.

Yes, blowouts are dangerous. That's why FIA has standards about run-off, track safety, car safety. F1 is dangerous, wheels can touch, tires lock, cars can fly, and statistically it will happen one day where someone gets hurt. Schumi almost did.

Monocoque is not a wear component like tires. Don't compare apples to oranges. But I assure you, there are weak points in the monocoque, and one accident will find that weak point eventually. Technology, reasearch, crash testing has resulted in constant improvements to the survival cell of that components, but it still has a giant opening at the top, and as I said, statistically one day something may happen that exposes either that weakness or another we are not yet aware of.

Best we can do is come up with ideas on how to prevent it before it happens. But the balancing act of wear/strategy/safety/durability is one that Pirelli must do all the time. If you don't understant that changes in one variable impact all others you need to give it some more thought. If you think Pireli is not capable of making a tire that last an entire weekend, you need to adjust your thinking all together.

Pirelli are trying to find a knife's edge balance point of many variables. And for 2014 they are doing it without even knowing the car their tires will go onto.


Yes they can, like aircraft tires that are tested. Bench test them till destruction. Imagine if they test tires like this in the aircraft industry. I really do not get anymore what's going on. We never had those kind a news in Bridgestone time. Blow out at 320 is no joke. Toilet paper ? better option is dippers.


Very selective memory.


"Read my other comment. Proof is in the pudding when Bridgestone had traction control helping the tires survive longer from what, 2001 to 2008? Or had full race tire rule saving their butt. Even with that clear rule I remember failures"

Only God and you know what you wanted to say with the above. Those Pirelli condoms wouldn't survive even with TC. Counting apples and pears isn't a good proposition. Bridgestone responded adequately and professionally( in its time) producing tires for those day formula of the highest standard and quality. I am sure that they would produce adequate rubber for today F1 specs as well. Unfortunately we could not say the same for Pirelli. To many opportunistic people involved at Pirelli, looks like it.


@sebee The main reason aircraft have multiple tires is the concentration of loads on the pavement. Maybe there's some redundancy to blowouts factored in the design, but you can roughly estimate the number of tires of a commercial aircraft based on the maximum takeoff weight.


@Kartrace if all your referring to is F1 racing tyres !- then Don't to refer to airplane tyres if you know nothing of the subject . These are diametrically opposed industries and Im just trying to give a more accurate perspective.( btw Goodrich fit other brands tyres/ brakes to planes not just supply)...

Hey there's a laugh let Pirelli source Michelin compounds for F1 if they can't make it themselves lol


Read my other comment. Proof is in the pudding when Bridgestone had traction control helping the tires survive longer from what, 2001 to 2008? Or had full race tire rule saving their butt. Even with that clear rule I remember failures

I'd love to see Bridgestone deal with no TC and these two compound rules.


Bench testing tyres isn't as accurate. When people (drivers) are involved its a diff story, some cut kerbs, some turn on kerbs, every driver is diff and they put diff loads on tyres.

Landing gears are used at full speed only in a straight line. they are never on kerbs in a corner with possibly being under inflated or over inflated


That is why Goodrich never supplied any meaningful formula with race tires. Before we start listening to 2nd hand "my bro" stories all I am saying we never had such history of serious tire failures with Bridgestone. That's all I am interested to debate.


My brother worked at Goodrich who maintain wheels and brakes on airplanes and I can tell you the no. of tyre blowouts/ failures, brake failures basic landing gear issues would make Pirelli look rock solid.. I'm not saying Pirelli is acceptable as they are-Im very much against engineered entertainment, but this a very poor comparison.


Concorde tires ? Concorde tire was object damaged, nothing to do with tire failure on its own. Do you realize the mass of the aircraft and loads on the touch down ? Tire issue of this kind never existed in F1 before Pirelli moved in. Simple as that.



Remind me again please how those aircraft tires do out there in the real world after all that bench testing. They never ever blow out, right? Is that one of the reasons why each landing gear has 4, 6, 8 or even more tires?

And since this is F1, let's look at that high performance aircraft that's no longer in service. How many tire blowout incidents on the Concorde? Michelin only made a serious redesign to the tire after 4590.


I'm sure they do all of that, but you can only know for sure if a part is up to the job by track testing it.

Frank Williams once observed that you think your engine is bullet proof and then you fit it into an F1 car with a Keke Rosberg at the other end and THAT is when you find out how tough it is.


Agreed, the tweet just starts a series of suspicions that the sport does not need.

Testing is Testing and if an Engine Blows in January will any safety comments be made re Massa and parts flying off.... no... we expect it.


Its Pirelli again.


Interesting that a seemingly negative tweet about the 2014 tyres has emerged from a driver of the exam rumoured to want them as hard as possible....


Did you read the article? His tyres blew up.....


Pirelli are a bunch of amateurs, just the worst.


Here is something else for you to think about bearforce1.

Did Ferrari have a blowout in this test? RBR? STR? Nope. Just Mercedes.

And who had that blowout at Silverstone?

Oh yes...Mercedes.

And who's pictures did we see with the rear tires in wrong direction? Ummmmm...yup, Mercedes.

And who had to do that secret test with black helmets...ahhh, never mind.

Perhaps it is something in the Mercedes 2013 design that wears these tires excesively, and it just showed up again in this test.

See, it's not all black and white, and not at all clear. You know what they say about those who assume...


Ah you are a tin foil hat kinda guy which is cool - each to their own. Let us stick to what actually happened.

Your argument above about tyres is wrong. When tyres go off they become unusable, you lose so much time that you stop using them. They never get to the point of exploding.

At the end of the day Pirelli have produced the most woeful of tyres. Pirelli tyres explode. Pirelli tyres have are a lottery performance wise. Not even Pirelli understand or know what their tyres are doing.


Yes, I'm tin foil. That's your comeback from obvious sequence of tire problems on the Mercedes and with Mercedes really having the lion's share of tire problems for 3 years with Schumi and now trying the kitche sink in 2013.

My argument is wrong? How many times have you seen praises everywhere when a driver takes tires 20 laps further? How much into the safety margin of the compound thickness do you think that wears? And how hard is it for instant failure at that point under a Monza breaking load?

Likely less than 0.1% of tires made in 2013 failed. That means 99.9% reliability. I see no problem here.


The tyres are proof of shocking incompetence.

God forbid that a driver dies one day, then these weird arguments about Pirelli being ordered to make bad tyres (which is a lie) will fizzle out in one huge lawsuit.


I think you, like many others, are confused about the situation. Pirelli are *under instructions* to make the tyres degrade quickly and that's exactly what they have done. It's the teams unwillingness to co-operate and let Pirelli do their job properly that leads to blow-outs.

The amateurs are "fans" who don't realise this and the teams that can't see beyond their own self-interest.


Please give me proof of this instruction to make garbage tires? Nobody asked for fast degrading tyres. They only asked to create races like Canada 2009/2010 (forgot which one). Nobody asked for fast degrading tyres.

If so please provide proof instead of an opinion.


I hear this argument time and time again...

If I contract you to create a new ladder for builders which is *designed* to only with hold a certain amount of uses, do you think you would be exempt from manslaughter charges when an injury occurred? Do you think "I was only following instructions" is a suitable defence in the eyes of the law?

No, you are at LEAST equally accountable for what happens as they are, because you KNOWINGLY designed a dangerous product.

In Perelli's it could even be argued that they are more than 50% responsible - because they were the ONLY manufacturer willing to produce a substandard product. If they hadn't been agreed to such a ludicrous suggestion then the FIA would have had to back track.


No You don't understand.

Pirelli were asked to produce two types of tyres:

1. Fast tyres that degrade fast and go off quickly and become slow. Not explode.


2. A slower tyre that lasts longer.

Pirelli failed to produce tyres that didn't explode. The most basic implication for any tyre or tyre manufacturer is that the tyres don't fail or explode. Remember the cars are going pretty fast so failures kinda suck and worse pose a small safety risk.

Pirelli also failed to produce the two types of tyres that would have allowed differing race strategy. Even Pirelli couldn't predict how their own tyres would perform. Pirelli hopeless and woeful.

Pirelli attitude was ridiculous blaming everything and anything other than Pirelli themselves and their crappy tyres for the the exploding nightmare tyres.

Pirelli changed the tyres over and again and still now today can't make a tyre that doesn't explode.

Pirelli fail over and over again.


Pirelli designed and produced a harder tire that has a life cycle of 25 or 30 laps, and teams push it to 45 or 50 laps on a 1 stop strategy, while using it with wrong pressure in wrong direction, with excessive camber and then when a mic is stuck in their face they scratch their heads and say "Tires are no good."


Could I invite you to a time share sales seminar? Free blender if you attend.

For the record. Pole times were about 1s faster in 2013 than 2012. With flexi and blown defusers gone in 2013 where did that 1s come from? Bet you a good part from sticky softer tires.

Race times, even with extra stops were same or faster than 2012, again with many key performance toys taken away for 2013. Even with the extra pit stops. Again, where did at least 1/2 of that speed gain come from tires I bet.

Come on bearforce1, don't make an issue with many shades of gray into a black and white issue. I know we as humans want black and white, but tires are anything but a simple black and white issue. Tires in today's F1 are a very very complicated issue.

Here is something for you to think about, how many of the Bridgestone years were traction control years? You think TC helps reduce tire wear? You think you hold some high praise for those tires while conveniently forgetting the operating environment at that time was different. And let's talk about tracks...we all know some are harder on tires than others. Imagine how no one pointed out that kerbs are not part of the race track. And how kerb design at Silverstone may have contributed to the tire failures. Everyone just pointed the finger at tires, because the holy kerms at Silverstone couldn't possibly be a contributing factor to a failure.


There are two very distinct things here. Firstly there are the failures in 2013 - which weren't there in 2011 or 2012 - and Paul Hembry's response as the media contact. The second is the selection of tyre compounds.

In terms of the failures your point is valid based on the information available. I feel the comment on strategic choices is naive.

Bridgestone was bringing specific compounds to every track, while Pirelli was told it could only have four compounds for the season. Of these the supersoft was only viable at a few tracks. So the tyres compounds are compromised and need to be relatively different. Strategic variation will always come from the teams. There will always be only one fastest way for each car and the cars are fundamentally quite similar.

Pirelli was generally accurate on the number of stops in a race, so it was hardly incompetent in analysing the performance of the cars. The approach of high degradation rather than wear has its limitations for the racing, but does have advantages for safety. The steel belts were intended to help the tyre's integrity in certain situations, but it had unintended consequences. I don't know enough about tyre testing to know what can be done in the lab, but we all hope for better.


I don't think the 2014 Pirellis will be fast degrading, I think they'll end up being conservative


Quite right James, i would imagine Pirelli will take the the advertising and make a tyre that is good to showcase with, i.e an everlasting one! I can hear those same fans now saying " but the tyres are just too good so we always just get two stop" blah blah. What i don't understand is how people seem totally unaware of what f1 asked of them, yet despite a distinct lack of baseline knowledge of the sport still choose to come and comment on posts like this? How is that possible? A fanatic who knows very little about what they're fanatic about, makes no sense at all to me?


Are you sure about that?

I remember you saying the same thing in Austin this year, when the tyres lasted longer than usual, but were degrading all the same forcing everyone to manage them and drive quite conservatively.

So, a tyre lasting half a distance, but in need of constant management and driving to a set target time is NOT the same as tyre lasting half a distance which you could push all you could for the 4/5 of its life span.


It's all relevant isn't it, we'll likely see the low degradation but fast wearing due to the new power trains.

If I may guess, torque control could be the absolute key to car development, maybe as much as aerodynamics played a part this year.


I hope so. Tyre management, to a point, is part of racing. But tyre management deciding Formula One Grand Prix and ultimately championships is pretty shit.



Tyre strategy has made the last 4 seasons watchable...


What have Goodyear been up to all these years? We never heard of any of these problems back then in the day


You've obviously forgotten the blowouts at Adelaide in 1986, I believe the tyres were Goodyear


Considering your user name, I would have thought you would have been very aware of Goodyear having instant tyre failures 🙂


Goodyear - Australia 1986?!

And in Bridgestone's day I recall several Hockenheim tyre blowouts - notably Mika Hakkinen.

But yeah there do seem more from Pirelli than one my expect.


Three decades ago almost! Seems amazing that Goodyear left in 1998 which was 15 years ago!!! Time flies.


Wow 1986.. this is almost two decades ago, comparable performance in terms of horse power (even more so in qualifying) and a turbo that was kicking in brutally and they had to cope with more gravel than nowadays. Technology has advanced since then you might think. Still Pirelli's tyres don't seem to be more stable than they were back in the days.


I'd have thought your name would mean you know all about Goodyear tyre blowouts!


No because they were not asked to design tyres which wear fast. In fact, they designed hard compound tyres which lasted all race and Schumacher ran off into the distance in F1's snore-fest days.


I invite you to do better.

While Pirelli are out there doing, trying, contributing, some devalue their work and contribution by calling them names. Necessary?

Why can't you guys understand that teams pushed the tires beyond spec last year. Wrong direction. Wrong camber. Wrong pressures.

What Kubica said about Alonso/Ferrari trying extraordinary things to beat RBR applies to all teams with tires. Teams were trying extraordinary things with the tires to gain some performance, go further, one more lap, two more laps, etc. to try and beat RBR.

It's also a wear component. They need to have a defined life, otherwise teams will never change tires. If there wasn't a 2 compound rule, you would never see a pitstop again if teams could have it their way.

Is that what you want? No strategy? No thinking? No responding to a chaning variable? F1 car is a living thing it changes, it get lighter, tires wear out, etc. etc.

For the record, I have nothing to do with Pirelli, or any tire company. I simply see how committed Pirelli is to F1 and I recognize their contribution. Do you know that if you...let say are shooting a movie, and want your star to drive an Audi, you have to get permission to crash the Audi from Audi? You have to get permission to show a damaged Audi on film from Audi? Meanwhile, Pirelli has layed it's brand bare in the name of adding to the show and doing what the powers of F1 asked. They put their brand and company on the line to help and contribute to the sport we enjoy. And best you can do is call them amateurs?

Come on bearforce1, man up, recognize the contribution. And recognize that RBR did magical things with these tires that left the rest scratching their heads.


The issue we have here is that Pirelli did put its reputation on the line and damaged it for the sake of engineered entertainment. So whilst it was honourable in terms of it's dealings with Mr Ecclestone & co. Did it show integrity for its brand and all round purpose of a racing tyre - probably not.

This is why Michellin and Bridgestone probably will not come in unless some credible position by F1 management was taken.

In terms of blow outs- I think many people are overlooking or undervaluing the impact of debris, along with incorrect suspension and pressure settings. I was really shocked at why the Marshall's did not push for a safety car several times this year. Each time carbon fibre was dropped in the track tyres popped only a lap or two later.!


Bang on the money Elie! People seem to have all the answers as to why it's all Pirelli's fault yet there is nothing whatsoever to compare them to. Basically tyres ARE the car, it really isn't that easy to sort out especially when your mission is to make them borderline as a priority. Before, the tyre war was an unfair advantage for some teams then that led to indestructible Bridgestones and now we have Pirelli tyres that "fall to pieces". ALL tyre manufacturers should stay well away from F1 and it's fickle followers. I also fail to understand why it's ok to say anything you want about Pirelli (unfounded or not) yet as soon as I mention that some people might not be very well informed I'm accused of being "mean".

It's ok for you to state your opinion about Pirelli but I should never ever share my opinion about you and yours??? Hypocrisy of the highest order, maybe?


"Come on bearforce1, man up, recognize the contribution. And recognize that RBR did magical things with these tires that left the rest scratching their heads."

I was slightly coming around to seeing your perspective with regard to brand perception and it's inherent risks until this little nugget neatly summed up your argument as nothing more then your trademark RB bias.


Mostly in the 2nd 1/2 of the season, once the tires where “adjusted” to RBR Infinity liking. Before that Dr. Helmut M. was all over Mr. Hembery. Only God knows(what)how much Mr. Hembery was promised. Yes you are right, after tires being tweaked Seb was unstoppable. Remember MS days when Bridgestone produced for him 1/2″ wider front tires. Afterwards no one could touch the German. Only 1/2 inch ? Was this year repetition of the same “little adjustment” phenomenon ? maybe just a pure coincidence.



I don't believe in magic.

And you spend so much time tying to justify what can't be justified that only adds more exceptisism.

Bridgestone for a change never went through such a thing as jeopardizing the integrity of pilots.

No company would risk their name doing on purpose things that would lad in a bad publicity sort of position on a worldwide stage.

Their stock is grounded at less than €12.5 for the last two years and seems to go nowhere high.


See my point in this post about the fact that Bridgestone memories you have are from mostly Traction Control allowed Era. Don't fool yourself into believing that TC doesn't help tires live longer - that's what Bridgestone had in their corner for most of their F1 life - TC!!!!


"Why can’t you guys understand that teams pushed the tires beyond spec last year. Wrong direction. Wrong camber. Wrong pressures."

Why don't you understand that in each team there are Pirelli engineers who were consulted and who did agree on the "beyond spec" settings (actually they weren't specs, but recommendations back in the days).

And why is it that tires blew even when they were driven according to Pirelli's recommendations?


Totally agree.

This is the test for Pirelli to push things to find their limits and to test out different prototype constructions.

It's comparable to Schumacher back in his day pushing the limits and spinning off in free practice 1.


It’s comparable to Schumacher back in his day pushing the limits and spinning off in free practice 1....

With respect it's not quite the same. When MSC was pushing to find the limits he was expecting to exceed them at some point and was ready for it. On the straight at 200+mph and minding your own business, as it where, and the tyre going pop is not quite the same thing.

I appreciate this was a test and of course when testing new compounds/construction etc there will be failures, but this was not anticipated or desirable - hence the tweet.


Except drivers aren't crash test dummies. Someone could die or worse be suffer permanent injury at 300km an hour at the wrong place with a Pirelli exploding tyre/blow out.


Agreed Sebee, reading the majority of these uninformed comments from so-called F1 fans leaves me thinking the general consensus is that people actually think Pirelli are incompetent. If i was running Pirelli i would tell F1 to do one. Seriously they must loose more than they gain from all the idiots who seem not to understand anything about the subtleties of f1 yet call themselves 'fans'. Invite them to do better by all means, but some people just like to criticise from a position of ignorance i'm afraid 🙁


@James Clayton December 20th, 2013 at 3:39 My sentiments exactly !


bearforce1, so you're asking us to go easy on you when you call people that actually contribute to F1 in a huge way amateurs?


Fair enough, so Pirelli should leave the sport and no one should replace them because anyone who does must be incompetent to do what F1 wants them to do. I think I can just about follow that. Seems awfully convoluted just to keep the majority of the blame at Pirelli's door. Personally I think FOM/FIA were right to ask for 'more' fragile tyres to spice up the action but it's obviously quite a fine balance. Has any other tyre manufacturer actually attempted to deliberately make their tyres fragile in the past in F1?

How do we know Pirelli haven't done a brilliant job compared to what others could have come up with? I accept maybe Paul is not the best guy but no other tyre boss has been put in his position- again seems a little harsh!

I feel they have had about 10x the flak they actually deserve. The route cause is with FOM/FIA imo.


"so-called F1 fans leaves me thinking the general consensus is that people actually think Pirelli are incompetent."

They do (think Pirelli is incompetent) and they think it because...

" If i was running Pirelli i would tell F1 to do one."

...they didn't (tell F1 to do one). Bridgestone told F1 to do one when F1 asked for degrading tyres. See? *That's* competence.


Oh be nice you guys. Calling people "ignorant" or telling them to "man up" "so called fans" because they have different opinions to yourselves if pretty lame.

I agree with you on one point. Pirelli have lost hard because they produced crappy tyres and have been unable to fix their crappy tyres even to this day.

Here is a great post from a guy on Autosport:

Some have already mentioned how unprofessional Pirelli management (that would be Paul Hembery) is. And I completely agree with it. In my view, it is unacceptable to come with biased comments about different drivers and Pirelli's role as a vital factor in relative performance. Last year Hembery said they wouldn't interfere in the championship in the last 8 races or so, which resulted in conservative compound choices and thereby one stops and Red Bull victories. Alan Permane has stated this odd and ironic as well.

The problem in the last years lies in Pirelli's power to choose compounds at every race instead of predetermined choices at all races before the season starts. With this before mentioned power follows lobbying from top teams and politics (perhaps much more than us fans even realize). Hembery is clearly useless at politics and lacks flair for PR. FIA is also partly to blame as they instructed Pirelli to make high degrading tyres.

Regarding Pirelli's abilities to make a tyre, I think it's clear that they failed miserably this year until Hungary/Germany when tyres were changed. They were asked to make a certain type of tyre but Pirelli made tyres that were completely unsafe and fragile in every way. If Pirelli had done their job well enough (as they should) in the first place the tyres would not had been changed mid season (well, at least not by safety grounds). Again, to Pirelli's defence, current state of affairs with no in season testing, FIA demands and no proper tyre testing in general, didn't helped Pirelli either.

Returning to Hembery, I also find it unprofessional and narrow minded to blame everything except the tyre itself for all these delaminations, punctures, and explosions. In hindsight, his comments post-race after tyre controversy has often been incorrect and plain wrong. The cause for the failures were not camber angels, pressure, kerbs or whatever but an ill-constructed tyre.

On a further note, Button mentioned the "randomness" of different sets of tyres on same compounds that behaved differently; a slight evidence showing that Pirelli at one occasion at least haven't been able to build identical sets of tyres.

All this is more than enough (for me) to question the abilities of Pirelli - both technical and ability to asses and respond to a problem (tyre blow up). Therefore I, too, am slightly concerned about this blowout on Rosberg's Mercedes and it's completely understandable - given former pirelli history - if some people (over)reacts to these news. T

I am glad this happened at a test and this accident strongly underlines the need there has been for a proper tyre test - seen from Pirelli's perspective. Since nobody knows about the exact details of the accident it's pointless to discuss further (we simply don't know what caused it). My point is, it is no wonder and no coincidence people react strongly to a tyre blow up and history shows Pirelli is at fault on many occasions this year. As said before, that may not be the case today.

What matters now, is first and foremost that Rosberg is okay and wasn't hurt, and Pirelli learn from this, and fix it for 2014 - if they were at fault. The abilities to asses, admit, learn, and fix have mostly been missing from Pirelli's repertoire this year. I just hope that won't be the case next year and tyres won't be changed mid season and thereby alter the grid order.

Ideally, Pirelli is forced to nominate compounds for all 19 races before Australia. That is the most fair decision and politics/lobbying will be avoided. The flaw is if they make s*** tyres from the beginning but it would still be better than the farce we experienced this year.


Just to chime in, Rosberg's tweet said the magic word, "unexpectedly". That rules out excessive wear and I doubt they did anything crazy with the tire setup, since well... it's a tire test.

You can't put tires out that blow up unexpectedly, not even at a tire test.


I love Vettel and RBR. But even they both, RBR and Vettel, were leading the series and had the best of the tyres out of everyone they still argued that Pirelli had made a complete mess of the tyres and that they needed to be changed.

Pirelli still today at this very latest test, can't produce a non exploding tyre. Pirelli = Fail.

There is an implication that tyres do not explode same as there is an implication that the tyres will be round/circular.

See my reply below to Athlander.


Sebee, nice work on presenting a balanced comment.

Poorly performing tyres is nothing new, remember the Bridgestone vs Michelin days? Normally the top five cars would be one one make of tyre, then there was the year the Michelin tyres couldn't race at Indy.

Give Pirelli a break, and get stuck into the guys making the dumb rules.



Now you're getting close to the truth my friend!

And what happens do you gather will occur when you push those sticky super soft tires past their distance rating (which you well know is subject to type of use as well)? You think Michelin would be shocked if you called them and said, yeah, I bought your Super Soft Sport tire for my bike, and i've done 5000km at a track and it exploded.

Guess what they would say? Yup. "You got 5000km out of it of agressive track riding? Well done bearforce1!"

Type of compound contributes to speed and wear. And if you use that tire past that point it will fail, sometimes in dramatic ways that look super cool on slo-mo replays. Nothing to do with tire construction. Everything to do with the fact that everything fails at some point.


Why do you confuse a faster vs softer compound with an exploding unsafe tyre structure.

I can buy michelin tyres for my sports bikes. I have two options:

1. I can buy super soft sticky tyres that grip better, brake harder but don't last very long.

2. Hard tyres that don't have as much grip and don't brake as well but they last a long time.

Neither of these tyres explode. They just last longer or less depending.


I agree with every last syllable of that. We need tyre manufacturers in F1. Its become a poisoned chalice because the FIA have asked Pirelli to design tyres which wear fast to improve the show but it so doing, Pirelli have endangered their reputation. They have designed tyres in an era of no in-season testing (or precious little) and have had, in the main, nothing but abuse.


When they talk about wear they mean become slower not explode.

Why do you think its impossible to make a tyre that loses its grip fast but doesn't lose its structural integrity.

From all the tyre manufacturers I can buy fast tyres that wear out more quickly or hard slow tyres that last longer for my sports bike.

Why do you think its ok for Pirelli to get a pass for exploding tyres.

Bridgstone would be able to provide exactly what was needed easy peasy.


If they continue like that they will have 10 levels deep hierarchies in no time and all bad that comes with it: Too many Chiefs commanding too few indians, endless games of Chinese whispers from top to bottom and back, endless blame games with sweet tit for tat topping, slow reaction times and a general administration nightmare. I have seen no company working efficiently with too many directors and managers.

Well, maybe they'll be hired as figureheads whose sole purpose is not to work for someone else, who knows. But I do sense that Merc may be overshooting the mark in their hiring spree.


I tend to think the same, but you can't argue with the results so far.


Two things:

At first, I dont care who stops the bulls, as long as they are stopped.

Secondly,as a fan of Hamilton, I was shocked at first to hear him going to Mercedes. That feeling is completely gone by now.

Really looking forward to 2014, even with the stupid new rules on their way.


Apparently in 2012 Mercedes became the second biggest spending team after Red Bull. That flowed through into the 2013 car. I suspect money will talk again for next year.


interesting to see the level of attrition in RedBull, are we witnessing the end of one era?

Vettel at Ferrari in 2016?


Just when we thought the Pirelli dramas were over. Maybe Paul Hembrey had a quite word to Toto about removing the tweet as payback for testgate !

I would hate to be Mercedes financial controller with all these top names on the payroll..its like a whos who of Hollywood list in engineering names. What are they doing? tossing coins with Dietrich Matesitzch over who can have who now that hes got 4 titles.

Just imagine if we had budget caps.."We want you but we can only pay you 5 lollipops a week"..."" Nah its ok Im getting a handful of smarties and freddo frog already."




Ahh, the good old days in F1 🙂


Why would they ask Rosberg to remove his comments? Are they incorrect? I doubt it - he doesn't seem like the kind of guy who would just tweet something like that just for laughs.

So if it's true, asking him to remove it just makes Pirelli look bad / worried / guilty: Take your pick.


I'll go with 'guilty'


I'll pick all three.


Don't understand this either. He just said what happened


Yeah, on a basic level, Rosberg's tweet was telling it like it happened, short and sweet. Nothing wrong with that. If it's Merc/Pirelli/F1 PR gone mad and getting it removed then that's one of the things that is so wrong with the current, characterless, fake image, boardroom decisions F1.

On a more complex level, maybe putting it up could be convenient for a team that wishes hard durable rubber. Taking it down emphasises the point even more, looking like someone is hiding the problem, hence getting it in the media even more. Pressure applied to not happen again.

I wish they could separate delamination issues with how soft/hard the tyres are. I guess that's a wish for mid 2013 though! What they really need is no deaminations but soft rubber that allows pushing but still wears eventually giving close mixed strategies.

If it's a prototype tyre that Pirelli are testing then perhaps there's an argument to use the reserve drivers from a risk point of view!


Interesting plot device, however it seems like the supposed new coke 'conspiracy' of the 80's. Mercedes are "not that dumb and they're not that smart".


So a reserve driver is more expendable than a main driver?


You heard it here first: Reserve drivers are expendable! 😉


It's more likely Mercedes didn't want any bad blood between them and the sole tyre manufacturer. Always pays to be friendly in public.


Without putting the blame on anyone, I think that if Rosberg had hit a wall and been seriously injured then there would have been plenty of bad blood between them.


Good point Aura (Dec. 20 2013 12:32pm)


You'd be surprised at how ruthlessly pragmatic global corporations can be about employee deaths. It's not likely that rosbergs tweet was deleted at the behest of a team engineer - this would have been Mercedes corporate PR.


Asking him to remove it makes it look like it's none of our business.

It's a private Pirelli test.

We don't know the conditions under which the blowout happened. Perhaps they went to Bahrain for the wide run-offs to allow F1 car to run these tires to failure point. What if Rosberg reached the feailure point and tweets that a tire failed?

Well, what if that was the goal? To see how much punishment the tire could take? That is why this tweet wasn't necessary, and adds nothing of value to anyone.

Must everything in F1 be everyone's business? Must we know everything? No one reported on the failed Mercedes engine that required the fire department to pay Mercedes factory a visit. You read that and you may think new Mercedes engine sucks because it fails. But if you think about it further, wouldn't you want to push it to failure point to see how reliable your product is? Perhaps that's all that Mercedes was doing when their engine required the fire departmetn to shut it down. Perhaps that's what Pirelli was doing with the tire test here - evaluting failure points as well as compounds.

We're so knee jerk, jump to conclusion. I'd figure someone who's willing to wait 6 months to see the only F1 movie of the year would not jump to fast conclusions.


Peter Windsor had something interesting to say about this: He thinks Formula-1 should open up and commercialize tests too. And there is a lot of truth in it. Why wouldn't Formula one gain from public testing with driver interviews, pit walks and alike. It would make an interesting build up to the season to get honest first driver impressions. Formula 1 has become paranoid beyond any sanity.


Hold up:

First, it's Nico that's saying it. If it was Lewis it would just be another day, but in Nico's case it must have have been a pretty hairy experience - it's not like he was tweeting that he was just heading down to the shop to get some ice cream.

Second, I'm sure you're right about the drivers pushing these tyres to the limit so I'd expect one or two blowouts as a matter of course, but then why go to the trouble of trying (unsuccessfully) to hide it?

Third, I wasn't the one that reported it: I just read about it. If it wasn't news it wouldn't be news.

Fourth, I wasn't willing to wait to see it, but circumstances at the time meant I had to miss it and no-one was more disappointed about that than me.

Fifth, I wasn't jumping to a conclusion, but just making an observation and asking a question. For examples of jumping to a conclusion check out some comments others have written on this page.


OK, that was harsh. I put you on trial. But you're defending yourself like your guilty! 🙂

Check out my little point about Mercedes chain of events above. Over reaction with recognizing missing facts/data is a perfect way to stick foot in mouth. I'm quilty of it too, but the jumping to conclusions about tires and sensitivity to blowouts is going to make Pirelli leave. And after reading the forums and comments no other tire maker will want to risk their brand in the name of F1 entertainment and trying to educate fans about tires.

I think as part of the first race, there should be a 15 minute Tires 101 segment with Paul so he can put foward a few points to the fans to make them more educated. I think many of the comments are knee jerk, uneducated comments where a little bit of explanation would go a long way. The fans would benefit, and so would F1. On air presenters should talk about it during a GP as well. I think all too often it was about issues with the tires, without explaining the challanges of making a high perfomrance tires.

I remember DC doing a race in a car vs. a PS3 player. I saw that and DC came out, look at the car, the tires and said that his best chance was to nail the best timed lap on the first attempt, because the tires would be no good after that first lap. This was a production car with prodution tires that would likely have no problems putting in 40,000km or more on the roads under daily use. But when they gave that car with those tires to DC, he was able to take 1 hot lap out of those tires. That more than anything else I've seen illustrated to me the forces, wear and demand placed on a tire under high perforamance applications. I think you all would benefit from going to YouTube and finding that video to see for yourselves how tires that are made for 40,000km drop off after 1 scorching lap in DCs hands.


Its interesting that other than this tweet from nico no one has covered this test, it has been described in a number of places as a private test, it would not surprise me if the teams were under a non disclosure agreement hence nico taking down the tweet shortly after the blow out happening, in pirellis eyes they will want to save face in 2014 after what has been a dreadful 2013 for them

Personally i can only see pirelli being very conservative next year - I hope this is the case - as a ham fan i admit lewis is probably one of the faster drivers who does look so comfortable managing the 2013 tyres - he just wants to drive flat out start to finish


A non-disclosure agreement would have made sense - and probably Nico should have known better in the first place - but pulling the tweet after it was posted is just locking the barn door after the horse has done the bolt.

There's no doubt that Lewis and the previous Pirelli tyres did not get along, but if they do produce more durable compounds for 2014 he should be in his element which will nice to see again.


Honestly, it's the perfect time for RBR to shed some members who are not with the team till the end.

Sure they know what RBR "did" in the past, but that legacy knowledge will likely not fully applicable to the next generation car, thus not as valuable.

I suspect a little bit that Mercedes throwing money around may have got some people to dip their toe in their wallet, but are they getting value? Is this legacy knowledge Mercedes is buying as valuable as they preceive it to be? I guess soon we will see.

In the mean time, RBR has one heck of a team to work on the design of their HQ front lawn.


I think you missed the point Seebee.

I agree with you that its important to loose people when they can't take a lot of knowledge with them but the development of the 2014 car started atleast 2 years ago and such prominent engineers will have a good knowledge of what is going on there even if they are not directly in that team.

What it also says that they are joining mid of 2014 and beginning of 2015 for Prodromou to Macca. All of them will have ample time to get to know the next years car even if Redbull confines their future tasks.


Oh no, I'm not blind to this reality. Simply as an RBR fan I'm hopeful that it's not the case. But I agree with you Spoo, my hopes are just that. Reality may be exactly as you state it.

As I've said over and over again, it's one thing to get to the top of the mountain. It's a whole other "peak" to stay there for as long as RBR has. Now, can they stay there one more season with the new realities of 2014 F1? We will see.


Did this fun exchange ever go off the rails for some reason.

F1 is not football or Olympics. Teams are bought and sold, drivers come and go. There is little stability, and fans recognize this and adopt.

27 steps is not a set amount. But let me give you a scenario. Vettel leaves - as a fan I likely leave RBR camp as well. But if they keep as is but have a tough season, I see no need to buy a new kit. However, I also see no reason why I can't enjoy Kimi's success at Ferrari. In GP there should usually be plenty of pleasing results beside your chosen horse to keep a fan happy.



At no point have I criticised you or expressed an interest in your rationale. Yet you feel the need to justify yourself. Interesting!

All I did was point out your concern for RBR and the likelihood of their future dominance was somewhat disingenuous, given the fickle nature of your support.

With regard to your cheering for Irvine and Jaguar, I'm indifferent. Maybe you should ask yourself if it makes you feel better?

Incidentally, if RBR do slip off their peak, how long do you give them before cheering for the new top team? How many races does 27 steps equate too?


Got it. Let's be honest NFNLNE, it always makes things more enjoyable when you're cheering on the winning camp. I don't want to be one of those suffering Minardi fans crying on the sofa when they score a lucky P5.

I understand that some fans like to go 40 years through the desert and suffer with the team because the fruit (should it ever come) will taste much sweeter. Personally, I can't walk 40 years through the desert. I am only able to walk through a short distance of sand...I'm thinking beach, where the water is but 27 steps away.

Would it make you feel any better about my RBR support if I told you I did cheer for Irvine @ Jaguar back in the day?


I didn't say it was wrong, or broke any rules, that was your comment! I was remarking on your concern that RBR might slip off the top, and pointing out that shouldn't present a problem as you can just move onto the next top team, as usual.



So now it's wrong to back a driver or like a team? Or jump wagons? I liked Schumi, now he's gone. Did I break a rule of some sort by looking at another driver and/or team? It's only permitted to change teams for Lewis fans?


If RBR do fall off their 'peak', I wouldn't have thought it would matter much to you. Won't you just switch allegiance and jump onto the bandwagon of the next top team, like you did when RBR came along?


One wise man once told me "You are only as good as the people you work with".

So if these people are leaving, people which created an amazing team which dominated the sport for 4 years, then logically that team becomes weaker and weaker. Unless they recruit someone in their place which proves to be just as good and can work in harmony with the rest of the team.


Also, we will see if at RBR it is Newey the genius, or Newey the "credit taker" for other's contribution...won't we.

How deep is your design team RBR? How good is Newey Solo? We will know soon enough. Ha...Newey Solo...has to build a new RedBull Alliance!


And we all can't wait for the Newey Solo minigame dance to hit our game consoles...


Newey Solo or his team had a hand in that GT6 update that just came out.

By the way, the Red Bull pack for GT6 is FREE! Grab it ASAP.


Adrian Newey's comfort zone of familiar staff around him is diminishing rapidly. He better get the design together in 2014 while the familiar team is still around him, because it is all change in 2015 and that is sure to unbalance him for a time. Best option for RBR, get new staff in there ASAP so he can get comfortable with them while the old staff are still present. But the team dynamics will not be the same and it is a team not one person. But that one person cant shine without the right support.


Looks like it's the best option for the other teams like McLaren, Merc and Ferrari. They can't engineer a better solution for their cars, so may as well also try and 'engineer' Newey back into a more uncomfortable working environment hoping he slips up.

It could well be the one Red Bull weakness, allowing Newey to take all of the credit when the underlings are looking to make their own mark?

Doubt it'll work but they've nothing to lose, plus gain a very knowlegable new recruit. Pity he could reveal how exhaust blowing and high rake cars really work the year they are banned!


about time pirelli were shown the door.

or at the very least other tyre suppliers were allowed to enter F1 so that we had the best tyres possible rather than tyres that fall to bits, get cut far too much & explode a lot.

i cannot ever remember any time in f1's history where we saw so many tyre problems over a season.

i get what pirelli were asked to do, however they clearly made the tyres far too fragile this year & deserve all the bad publicity they got.

if we see the same issues in 2014 then what excuse will pirelli give us then considering they are getting extra testing now?


What about the Engleberts used by Ferrari in the late 1950s? There were a number of embarrassing moments back then.


There's a slogan if ever there was one: "Pirelli - 1950's technology today" 😀


I'm almost certain I saw that sign in a concourse while blazing my way through Rapture hunting spider splicers...


Congratulations James for winning the best blog award! Merry Christmas!


Mark Ellis, Bob Bell, Geoff Willis, Aldo Costa, Paddy Lowe... they might as well steal Pat Symonds, Alan Permane, James Key while they are at it. Gathering of great minds might equal success and it might equal losing more than you've gained....oh that's right that already happened. Be interesting to see how this turns out.


Is Adrian Newey going to end up sat in a deserted office with no lights on going, 'hello? can anybody help me with this CFD please? Ive drawn a lovely shape with my pen and paper...'

Will Christian Horner get the same flack as Martin Whitmarsh for having all his staff eager to leave?

Most commentators have suggested that engineers are the new stars, and like drivers, they want to go where the winning is to be had and it's not about money. I think this mass poaching/exodus from RBR over the next two years goes to show that winning is great, but a bloody massive pay rise still tends to motivate people...


Why did he have to delete the tweet? Not that i understand Twiter or Facebook, but there was nothing bad in that comment in my eyes


"Why did he have to delete the tweet?"

Pirelli will silence critics where possible.


...and I have to say they've done a stellar job with you 😉

I can't say I agree with everything you say, but I do admire your tenacity.


I said "where possible" 🙂



Given RedBulls dominant success, can you please give insight as too why any of their technical staff would want to switch teams? The only reason I could see is money and MAYBE a fresh challenge with a new team? but it's like taking a step backwards.

As always thanks for your great articles.


Challenge is called "The money". Winning teams tend to forget where the success comes from. So over the success years teams tend to pay less then what staff perceive to be fair. Owners believe that it is enough to give them the honor of being part of the winning team. It is a common occurrence over, and over.


It seems that Ferrari and Red Bull are not two of those teams that don't pay their employees enough money. Red Bull's £10,000 (it was pounds, wasn't it?) bonus for the championship for each employee was quite generous!

I think the reason RBR is losing important members of their personnel is firstly, because they may want a new challenge and secondly, because they want part of the credit Newey gets, IMHO.

It always struck me as quite odd that Newey is the only person that gets the credit in the papers, social media, everywhere. Sure they do let many members of the team collect the Constructors' trophy every time Vettel is on the podium, but they never quite get the credit they deserve. Mark Ellis, Paul Monaghan, Rob Marshall, Peter Prodromou, they are ALL contributing greatly at RBR, but you rarely hear about them when reading about RBR's success and RBR have never tried to do something about this!!


KARTRACE, in what world do YOU live in?? I hope you're joking!!

Also, what's wrong with regular bicycles??


KARTRACE, you'd turn down your £10,000 then?!?! Beyond ridiculous.


10K British pounds you call a generous bonus, are you kidding me ? How much 10K pounds get t you today. Not even a decent high tech electric bicycle. In what world do you live ?


Thanks for the insight! Makes sense!


Winning will be done by the ones with a better battery pack, who can extract more from braking and the turbo, this is the largest area for development, looks like RB don't care too much for the aero right now and gave them up, rightfully so!


Good new direction in the motivation: everyone is disproportionately focused on emulating RB's latest successful approach, LOADED aero team; everybody else is loading up; but now the differentiator will be in a different area.

Your theory would really get legs if we found out the RB had been quietly picking up the very best expertise to develop that technology.

I bet your right, and the evidence is there!


Well I think we have good new and bad news about the Nico´s incident. The bad news of course is the tyre blew without warning. The good news is nothing bad happened to Nico. And the incident is going to force Pirelli to fix the tyres before the season begins.


I'm keeping an eye on my Inbox - expecting an offer from Brackley any moment now.

On a serious note...


1. I take it we will see a much weaker RBR in 2015 as the late signings will most likely not have an effect on the first half of 2014.

2. Are these guys leaving cause they are tired of being in Newey's shadow?


I was waiting for somebody to say it.

I wonder how many big successful ideas were penned by Neweys support staff only for the credit to go to the design boss.


Jo Ramirez, one of McLaren's very important former engineers, provides a very "different" and "interesting" picture of Newey in his book.

He doesn't for a second doubt his genius and talent, but he discusses the frustration caused by the Jaguar-Newey saga in 2001-2002 and is critical of Newey in that after it all finished, he didn't even try and talk to the team and ensure them that he was 100% dedicated to McLaren.

I'd quote more, but I am currently away, and don't have the book with me.


Interesting to see how much this will dent Red Bull's ability to improve the car in-season next year, as the staff leaving are much less likely to be allowed to make significant design input that they may then take to serious direct competitors.


I dunno ..?

Did his tyre blowout cause the spin


Did his tyre blow out 'cos he spun?


I'm pretty sure it's imposible to spin at 200mph without something going wrong..


OMG!!! Pirelli makes the news even during the off season, seriously the company needs to bring in new people because the current bunch don't know their trade.

Anyway glad Rosberg wasn't hurt though was obviously scared to death at least the Pirellis are safe in a way that they usually explode whilst a driver is in a straight line.

Regards the other matter, surely the Red Bull empire as we knew won't last very long with all these defections that aren't getting replaced.

These kind of moves leave one wondering whether the team itself will remain in the sport and hence everybody is looking for alternative work.

As for Mercedes, they clearly mean business and at the moment they're the most talented team in terms of personnel.


Why does this pop up every time about Redbull leaving the sport is that people can think or are blind to see?

Redbull entered F1 by sponsoring Sauber moved on to buy 50% of Toro Rosso who has won just 1 race since its existence but people and journalists somehow seem to think that the team that has won the last four WDC and WCC are about leaving the sport?


@ Rockie

We're just speculating you understand.

The thing is the team is a new and usually involved in publicity adventures.


More high speed tire blow outs. Time for Pirelli to exit stage left please. And this on a 2013 car.

Interesting signings from Red Bull. Are they the only team to lose staff at the moment or is it just more high profile because they're the champions?

Mike from Colombia

Shape of things to come for next year.

Pirelli should throw in the towel. They should also concentrate on making better road tyres.


The stupid distasteful drivel from drivers continues; while I never intend puns, I can see that the sandal fits here.

In terms of goofiest tweets and what not, Lewis has been the standout champion of all time, for some time, only rivalled by his former teammate, Jenson Button, who typically lets zingers go, at irregular intervals.

But we can now all see that Nico R is serious about joining the top-tier of at least something in the F1 drivers championship.

I'm hoping the 2014 Mercedes blows; (though it wouldn't be at all surprising if it blows foul air).

Mod - I couldn't resist.


Wonder how much RBR will be able to improve their car in 2014. Pretty much every year they had some insane upgrades in the 2nd half of the season.


They would cope every year people leave Redbull its more hope and wishful thinking that makes it news worthy!


Considering that the public is aware of the failure, will this motivate Parelli to release a failure analysis or is this strictly confidential?


Not directly related to the comment included above, except one wonders what is it about twitter and facebook and 'social media in general' that makes folks want to put so much information of a pesonal nature out there? Does anyone really care what someone is waiting in line at the drive-up to have for lunch - or what the heck else in the way of private 'activities'are under way, including the pictures?

For example, a bunch of teenagers were in the process of trashing someone's estate in Florida and they were posting pictures of the carnage while under way - made the NBC and CBS National News Broadcasts last night here in the States, anyway.


I think you just answered your own question 😉


"He was clearly asked to take the Tweet down"

This annoys me so much. The tweet was a harmless joke, not saying anything against another company or anything. Why on earth does it need to be taken down? Is anything which isn't PR talk banned now?


Pirelli are protected, even if driver safety isn't.


Nice one. Comment of the day for me.


A lot of Red Bull talent is leaving the nest to make names for themselves. To be expected and can only be good for the sport - not to weaken Red Bull but to strengthen the other teams.


But funny thing people miss out on this signings is that Redbull actually signed them from the teams they are going back to!

Its not like this guys were manufactured by Redbull!


Either way, it's a talent and capability exodus. The only way these high level movings don't hurt RBR is IF RBR were running inefficient and had significant fat in their departments in terms of human capital. That's unlikely. So the reality is there is a flow out, a flow out that will need replacement. Either in doubling up on existing people, which if RBR were efficient may not be possible anyway, or they go head hunting themselves. Either way, the extra attention to detail RBR are lauded for May start to suffer first. That's the parts Newey didn't really have a strength in, detail and nitty gritty of concept to manufacturers to testing to race.



as proposed above by another contributor, though aero has been the prime differentiator, and where RB has clearly excelled, they've excelled everywhere.

While teams snap up aero engineers hoping to emulate RB's success in aero, maybe at RB they've figured out the the prime differentiator in the new formula will be at different technologies and expertise, and are contracting their aero departments to make way for electro-engineers to maximize energy recovery for exploitation in speed AND efficiency (fuel economy!?!)


It does not look good for the Red Bull when

the personnel of thier aerodynamics which

was a corner stone of thair success thus far

all but deserted,is't the beginning of the

end?.One hope not F1 grid need them.

As for Mercedes F1 they have pouched just

about anyone with some knowledge in F1. A

definitely very much top heavy, one could say

to many cheifs and not enough Indians,that

said one have to question Mercedes beating

the drum 2014 being the year of three pointed

star,everything is possible but a question

mark have to be added to.


I remembered Paul Hembrey said that F1 fans knows that the tyres for F1 racing is different to road cars.

So the F1 version degrades quickly which is intentional. But also gives unfair advantage to some teams and drivers, and explodes whenever it feels like.

I sincerely hope that it does not do any of that on road tyres. But still, it can't be good for their marketing.

I prefer the Pirelli calendar as marketing heaps more than going into F1 as marketing. LOL


Why Pirelli ever agreed to this - or were interested in the first place - is a mystery to me. How does deliberately making quick-degrading tyres translate into good publicity?


Yes that was just plain dumb from Pirelli's side.

Messing up ur core product at will.


why haven't the testing times been revealed?


"Red Bull has dominated the sport since 2010, with design and aerodynamics being at the forefront of their success."

Take that Seb.


Was it a front or rear tire that "expired" at 320 km/h? Glad Nico is alright despite having to change his drivers suit!

As for the ongoing poaching by AMG- Mercedes: Part of this met be to ensure others don't hire these individuals, basically taking them off the market giving them an advantage.

As for making use of them, considering the resource restriction that will be coming in 2015, these new signings will be twiddling their thumbs, because they won't have the "resources" at their disposal to be creative and actually produce something...


Those making anti-Pirelli comments might keep in mind that in past times, *testing was possible*.

They're essentially being asked to come up with a durable (but not too durable) set of 4 tyres, covering all racetrack dynamics.

You're comparing them to manufacturers that had years of essentially unlimited testing allowed during the no-cost-constraints era of F1.

Unfortunately, the switch in supplier at the same time as the ban on testing has meant that *surprise!* the tyres might not work awesomely in all conditions.

Not like the old days when Bridgestone used to produce "the Ferrari tyres" and then "everyone else's", by testing for millions of KMs around Maranello.

Have a little perspective, folks.


As someone put it: If you test tires for an expensive airliner, you have test rigs and only if they give you the confidence that it will work on the real machine, you put them on, because you don't want to risk the lives of the test pilot, the crew on the ground and the expensive airliner.

And it's the same with cars - should be (at least).

Now every year there is a new car, this hasn't been different back in the days. The first time the new cars exit the pits the tires must be able to take the beating, so tires are always constructed in advance, based on experience, estimations, safety margins and lab tests. Today there are pre season tests too, like back in the days. And nowadays science is much more advanced, they have more sensors, they have thermal imaging, computerized modelling and simulation, they have more experience and knowledge about materials and production methods, and way more data than ever - they should be able to do much better even with less testing. But they don't.

Pirelli has numerous years of experience with recent cars now, tens of thousands of kilometers each year, they check their tires before and after each stint, in training, qualifying and race, they have access to setup data and all the good stuff - meanwhile they should have a pretty good idea what kind of load these cars can produce, still 2013 was a disaster. And what really baffles me: How can it be that you build a 2014 tire that is supposed take more punishment than a 2013 model, that already disintegrates on the 2013 car? Honstly: something at Pirelli must be very wrong.



out of interest, for how long would RBR have known that the two engineers are on their way out? For example, will they have intimate knowledge of the latest developments for the 2014 RBR car?


Yes, would have thought so.

Sometimes these things take a month or two to sort out before they are announced, sometimes less.

The 2014 designs have been clear for many months now


Yes, but does any team allow everyone to see the entire concept of the car, or just their area? Even having 90% of the picture might not be good enough in those cases.

I wonder about Promodou ... he must be on gardening leave, surely, but he could curtail his contract if he wanted, with the Newey 6-mos precedent. Just not sure what he would have to do/file, in order to do that. I can't imagine he can go on vacation, at least not a long one, lest RBR call him in "just 'cos".


MoWs, the Newey case put that retention limit at 6 mos ... That is, if the employee files papers. F1 teams cannot keep an employee out of their field against their will, for longer than 6 mos.


Those contracts usually contain a retention period, so when the new hire can actually start working, he will be too late to the party and of course the moment someone is linked to a competitor there is no way they will let him or her near the latest developments. They're probably already on PTO.


Wow, a part failure during testing! Really, truly, shocking.

Isn't this the whole point of the exercise; to develop the tires to perform reliably once racing...and car testing...begins?

The story for me is what Rosberg's presence at these tests demonstrates; he is going to search out and grab every opportunity to find an edge for 2014. This is a motivated driver.


Yes and no. Different compounds are tested to determine the direction for the real 2014 tires. But you don't bring tires to the test that fail catastrophically. Formula 1 tire supplier should have enough science behind their tires that they can guarantee that. Otherwise they don't belong to F1.


Red Bull has the largest or second largest buget in F1; they have the most functional depth. People forecasting the demise of RB, seem to fail to notice the pattern of Adrian Newey, regardless of where he has gone, regardless of the people around him.

In Christian Horner, love him or hate him, he's done a top notch job, and maybe a little blood-letting will actually be good for the team. I feel it likely that they have a fairly robust succession management system; the new blood, having waited in the wings for the top spots of departments will now get their chance, and as is the case with all mid-sized corporations, some will fly and some will crash; but it's the same everywhere. Look at Merc, at how long, and how much money, already, they've spend, and their results to date don't look all that good.

I think we could get surprises where you might overlook, because of their perrenial success and their recent dip in form, obviously Ferrari and McLaren are not going to stay off the top of the mountain for ever; I think they will both be running at a much higher level next year, and I hope for a close, unpredictable battle in which driver contributions, over the entire season, becomes the decisive factor.

Mercedes is almost a parody of the corporate megalmanical approach to buying up everything in sight; high burn rate does not necessarily equate to getting the job done, in fact, reality is usually the opposite.


Interesting that the main beneficiaries of the cost war in F1 appear to be high profile engineers (and team managers). No wonder no one is in a hurry to introduce cost caps.


Mercedes will have problems with cost caps. They are hiring everyone in F1 so 70% or their budget will be the salarys lol.


For me, the most disturbing part of this story is the censorship of tweets.

F1 seems to be increasingly frightened of reality.


they were testing. some part of testing involves pushing a tyre to see what happens. Just like the chassis components everything is shaved to the limit . The days gone past where schumi pounded round the test track at ferrari hq all day every day are long gone. The limited testing puts pirelli in a no win situation. They should double what they charge for tyres to compensate for the stitch up they have to endure.


Why are those days long gone? are headed back to the stone age with tyres made of crumbly stuff?


Why are those days long gone? Are we headed back to the stone age with tyres made of crumbly stuff?


Don't want the upcoming season to be dominated by tyres _again_. I don't want pirelli *manufacturing* a level playing field between cars. I want them to produce safe tyres that drivers can have confidence to go racing on. I want them to *not* prevent racing beyond the midway point of a grand prix due to their gross + wasteful shredding of rubber littering the racing track.

I want something like the Bridgestone 2010 tyres.

Can't remember recall any exploding tyres and we had some cracking races. I put Bridgestone tyres on my own car too, never bought Pirelli, don't think I ever will.


Check out Brian Redman's lower right front wishbone failure in 1968 @ Spa. That'd really jack up the request for toilet paper!


I do not understand people talking about which team has this or that engineer after Rosberg has a tyre blown at 320 km/h. Are we going to wait for a driver to kill himself just for TV ratings ? If I were a driver I would have a bunch of lawyers getting ready to sue Bernie and Pirelli for all they have. This situation is getting equivalent to sending people on parachutes that have cords that are just in the limit to break, if somebody falls to death the comment woulD be " He did not know how to manage his cords " ARE WE ALL INSANE?????


Formula 1 cars these days just spin around, then come to a stop when there is a tire failure. A couple of decades back it may cause a car to flip or roll, but not now. It's not hugely life threatening (although terrifying no doubt) unless there is no runoff.

Improvements in track safety have in my opinion been the major contributing factor in the effort to reduce the dangers of the sport.

I maintain that simply continuing to hold a race at Monaco is far more dangerous than tire blowouts. The Monaco track will be the cause of the next driver death in Formula 1 before anything else is, such have been the improvements in so many other areas. I was genuinely concerned regarding the Massa and Maldonado crashes this year at Monte Carlo. Even with the energy absorbent barriers, it still made me cringe.


Formula 1 cars just spin around? Incredible!


Please, don't take it that I was being condescending. I did read every comment on the page, including yours.

It is wrong to say F1 cars just spin round and come to a stop these days. The drivers threatened a boycott at Silverstone, because they feared that the tyres would soon take a life.

"Someone could've crashed. I was thinking behind the safety car that it's only when someone gets hurt that something will be done about it."

- Lewis Hamilton

"It was not dangerous this time because it happened on the straight but it could have been really serious," he said. "We are risking our lives and if something like this happens again, we don't want one of us to be killed."

-Sergio Perez

'It's not a very safe thing racing on the same track with the same tyres. I don't have the feeling I want to go. But if the team wants me to go...'

-Fernando Alonso

"The most important thing is to make it for dinner at home on Sunday. I was lucky... It (the piece of tyre) could have hit my helmet. It would have been like a bullet."

-Fernando Alonso

"If something like this happens again, we don't want one of us to be killed"

-Filipe Massa

These are quotes from people who actually drive the cars, so it seems really uncaring to imply that nowadays, the cars simply spin round and stop safely when their tyres explode.

However, the blame for that falls squarely on Pirelli's shoulders. They have always come up with very irresponsible excuses for their unsafe tyre failures; so much so that newer fans and those who might not be technically adept begin to swallow and propagate. Its a dangerous thing.


I would appreciate a decent explanation to back up your condescending comment. On it's own it makes you appear to have read merely the first five words, then written a comment.


The fastest I have been in a car is around 200 km/h, on an ordinary motorway,in an american mid size sedan , I can not imagine a tyre blowing up at 200 least at 320 ,the noise from metal parts, the sparks,the fast as light spins. No I can not take it for granted that a tyre blown will not kill somebody at Formula 1 speeds even with the cars they use, I hope I am wrong .


Here is a quote from David Coulthard on the subject of tyre blowouts - it would appear that he doesn't share your opinion.

David Coulthard

BBC F1 co-commentator

"In the racing fraternity, tyre failures are known as driver killers.

"That is why the problems seen at the British Grand Prix, where four drivers suffered severe blowouts, caused such a concern.

"There are few issues that are more serious than that. And tyre failures - like brake failures - are right up there as being as bad as it can get."


Four tire failures in one race and in each instance the cars did not flip or roll or even come close to doing that. This was my point about the stability of the cars these days. I do however have concerns regarding flying debris from a tire blowout. This debris can seriously injure or kill a driver in another car. This factor is where the main danger lies with regards to tire blowouts.


It's incredible how many people are criticizing Pirelli. Here's a tire maker who could have very easily made bulletproof tires that could drive from Shanghai to Silverstone (like the previous bridgestones) but as per the commercial rights holder have "attempted" to create a racier tire to give us race fans more of what we want. Granted, they haven't gotten it right but how has F1 helped them? No testing and they're supposed to be able to create compounds that will make cars stop 2-3 times a race? Pirelli certainly doesn't want failures as it does nothing for their brand so I think they should be commended for sticking it when they could be making bomb proof tires.



Slightly off topic, has Lotus announced what power units they will be using next year?


No, but working on Renaults. Things are quite difficult there now, however


How have they designed the car without knowing what engine unit will be going in it? They are just hoping they will end up with a Renault? Pretty risky considering what's at stake.


What a damn shame. A top 5 WCC regular. Sign if the times. Maybe Mr Lopez can sell an ivory back scratcher... Joke! Don't fret Gerard. We know you are doing what you can.


Pirelli along with DRS are the 2 worst things that has happened to F1 in the last 10 to 15 years. They are simply killing the sport. Sport? what am I talking about? WWE wresting more like it.

Also, the only reason Pirelli are in the sport is because they are the only cheap manufacturer that would agree to manufacture tyres on the cheap and with cheap material so that Eclestone and CVC bottonline could be boosted. Eclestone is not ready to pay good tyre manufacturers like Bridgestone or Michelin hence they left the sport.

Mike from Colombia

Absolutely agree.

Formula Dumb is becoming ridiculous.


All this flak on Pirelli... I understand everybody's frustration, but honestly, I highly doubt replacing Pirelli with another manufacturer would make much of a difference. Just a layman here, but I suspect it's not only that they've been asked to do something that's the opposite of what they'd normally do (i.e. fast degrading tyres instead of durable ones). Couldn't there be something in the regulations regarding other aspects of the car that somehow favours this kind of accidents?

Also, I started watching F1 in the early 80's (side note: I remember Piquet's first title in 81, he was a phenomenal driver, at least pre-Imola 87 - better than Senna and Prost IMO, not to mention a much more interesting character), and there were tyre problems all the time, which added to the spectacle, there was always the unpredictable... and drivers had to understand a lot more about their cars (hence why Piquet was one of the very best, along with his friend Lauda and his idol Brabham). In sum, the periods in which we had few tyre problems were the exception, not the rule.


Jeez, some of you people... They were testing a prototype and it blew. That's what happens when you test a sports prototype. Prototypes fail sometimes, that's kind of why they;re prototypes. Would all the Pirelli bashers be going as mad if a teams monocoque failed it's first front-impact test, saying they were putting lives/the sport at risk? No, they'd say strengthen it and do it again.

Do these same people go crazy when brakes/wishbones/take your pick fail in the race? No. That's racing, it's what it's like. It's top-level motorsport and INSANITY level engineering, things fail sometimes. Like it or not, that's the game. Get over it, folks.


What's the point of having a twitter account if a driver's personal insights/views are going to be scrutinized like press releases spewing out the corporate line, or potentially censored by management? What's so controversial about having a failure and explaining to fans (in a somewhat colourful way) that he was scared at having an incident at 320km/hr.

Perhaps N.Rosberg may wish to explain the basis of removing the tweet.

James - why not ask him about him why he removed it?

Can't imagine one M.Webber doing so.


All this Pirelli bashing for a single blowout in three whole days of testing for prototype tyres without even knowing the resons behind the failure just feels as if the new age F1 fans have forgotten what testing is really all about.

I don't blame Pirelli for having a non disclosure agreement with the participating teams which made Nico delete the tweet after all the negative publicity they have been through this year. They knew that many would fail to grab the basic point that this is called 'Testing of Prototypes'. The reactions on this forum, which I find to be the best informed among the many that I follow, just proves them right.

Don't get me wrong as I was NOT a fan of 2013 Pirellis but the blame needs to lie on FIA and the (non existent)FOCA


When will this tyre issue end? My thoughts With this years tyre, it was obvious there was a delamination or construction problem very early in the season. Tyre Safety should not be a political issue and to put your own teams agenda, before that of safety is beyond belief.

Those that have followed the sport for many years can remember Mark Donohue being killed in an accident in Austria in 1975 along with a track marshal after a rear tyre blow out on his Penske. His widow later sued Goodyear and in 1984 won a major settlement from the tyre company.Is history going to repeat itself before somthing is done? there has been some close calls this season....


Widow was the only beneficiary, wasn't she. So from no one we could call Pirelli. "The widow makers"


'only been tested in the laboratory and which will not be proposed again'

Looks more like Pirelli is trying to eliminate certain drivers since the are probably not in a position to chance the tires again next season. 😉

Apparently Lewis is the smarter one and Nico more the crash test dummy with balls. 🙂


These tyres have not improved f1,theyve made it worse, bring back tyres that drivers can push and really race on, bring back refuelling too.


people who keep throwing the bombs at Pirelli continue to completely miss the plot here.

I have no allegiance to any corporation, but this was a set up from the start, and people, ignorantly, keeping on shooting the messenger, Pirelli, from their comfy little spot on the bandwagon, without even looking a single layer beyond the most obvious scapegoating.

Many of the cozy crew, sniping indiscriminately, from the caravan, refer to 'better daze' of other tire companies, in seeming total lack of acknowledgement of the downside and the different operating conditions of the times.

For example, do you really think it was okay that the champion got his own specification of tire, customized for his car and style; is that okay?!?

That's just one of the things that was going on, besides the boredom equal to the second half of the season, after the unwarranted specification change destroyed the sport of it?!?

2012 was a high water mark for competitiveness and sporting excitement in F1.

But the manipulators got their way, and it was so incredibly tedious from the summer onwards.


Why can't Pirelli have they're own car to test with so they can sort out the Lemons in their bunch of prototypes before real F1 testing?


...a Pirelli test car, ...and di Resta is back in the game. 😉


I disagree, the tweet was refreshingly honest telling it how it was with a pinch of humour.

He pointed out that the tyre gave no warning before the blow out but did not state that all of the new tyres were unsafe.

Long live some driver honesty.


It is clear by now, that tweets' immediacy mean they can be sent due to or as an emotional release, and I don't have a problem with that.

Even if I was Nico's advisor on such things, I'd be: "Well, let's look at the criteria; anything momentous happen prompt this? Oh, your tyre exploded while you were doing 200mph? **** it, send it."


The FIA / BE agreed to ask Pirelli to make "marginal" or "weak" tires to promote racing, so did they meet their goals? If they did, with some issues, which to be fair was due to a company engineering their product in a opposite direction, which must have been hard to get your head around. We all work to improve performance and effeciency for ourselves/products etc yet they had to make them worse, which they did and maybe too much in the end. It just isn't right they are blamed when it wasn't their idea in the first place, they were in essence just following orders and we all know that means a COC, buck always stops at the top, step up FIA. Tire companies strive to produce quality, reliable and long lasting tires for every other vehicle in the world, this bodged experiment won't be repeated, no other manufacturer is that short sighted. My feeling now is Pirelli will cover it's arse bigtime, hence why someone, somewhere proposed mandatory pitstops, did someone get some inside info?


Some simple facts :-

1. Pirelli have been in F1 for 4 years

2. Pirelli have raced at Bahrain for 4 years now

3. Pirelli have investigated tyres failures from several teams now over the last 2 years now

4. Pirelli has data available from 22 teams for

4 years now

5. Pirelli has conducted secret tests ( sorry private tests)

On a number of occasions

6. Pirelli have been granted more authority to the proper

Running of the tyres- why they did not discover / voice

Even demand better management of their product sooner is ridiculous.

7. Pirelli has not taken a strong enough stand on the incidence of track debris and cleaning as on many occasions tyres popped after debris was left in track - Bahrain is one of many examples

8. Pirelli have substantially effected the outcome of the 2013 season by changing the compounds mid season as a result of their failures.

The commercial rights holders are as much to blame for this debacle than Pirelli because they allowed-in fact determined the requirements. But the simple fact remains and I've been saying it for 2 years. " You cannot engineer tyres to such a narrow operating range with such dramatic drop off in tyre performance whilst still maintaining tyre integrity and safety" !I can honestly say this view has proven accurate this whole time.

Pirelli have failed because they have not stood their ground and respected their integrity and purpose of racing tyres. Certainly they have failed to react it read situations. quickly enough to make responsible adjustments. The fact that they are still in F1 says that the commercial rights holders puttheir priorities ahead of driver safety, the sport of racing and the supplier themself. Anyone that compromises their brand to these levels is not reputable and not worth having at the pinnacle of Motorsport.

Bring in 2015 and 2 reputable brands that aren't joined at the hip to a ringmaster that should be pit out to Pasteur years ago.!


Those round things that sit on the rims are made to surprise us. But they are of such a quality that sometimes they are to much of a surprise.


* put out to pasture*


Pirelli were asked to build shyte tyres and they built shyte tyres. In that respect their work as a spectacular success.

The one thing that is unacceptable is using F1 drivers as guinea pigs. A tyre should be bench tested to make sure that it can withstand any possible force it may be subjected to. That cleary wasn't done with the prototype with which theyx tried to kill Nico Rosberg.


Ouch, please do not go there. There is no bench testing for F1 tires, didn't you know? It's forbidden as it is not permissible by @Elie. He will "shred" you for the tire bench test wish.


This looks like something that sums up issues in the correct way and in a positive attitude: "The failure on Rosberg's car raises serious concerns, not just because it happened at speed but because of the year Pirelli has endured and the fact it is the sole tyre supplier. In an exclusive arrangement there is little need to push the envelope in terms of development. It is only competing against itself while standing alone centre stage - there is no opportunity to succeed, but plenty to fail. Pirelli can afford to be conservative with its development - it should be conservative with its development - because there is simply nothing to be gained and legal precedent as a result of Donohue's crash if it gets it wrong.

So why did the company feel the need to develop a tyre in the laboratory and bolt it on to Rosberg's Mercedes? What was it hoping to gain? Perhaps, when presented with the opportunity to test with current-spec cars, Pirelli became like a child in a candy store and lost sight of the bigger picture.

The failure on Rosberg's car was a PR disaster, reinforcing the perception which was unfairly created during the year that Pirelli doesn't produce a good product. It was presented, by way of the Bahrain test, an ideal opportunity to gain some positive media coverage. Instead Nico Rosberg had a tyre failure at 200 mph."

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