TYRE BLOW-OUTS ALREADY? Pirelli, F1's official tyre supplier, is already raising eyebrows about its 2014 tyres after Mercedes' Nico Rosberg suffered a tyre blow-out during testing. Image: AFP
BAHRAIN, Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg escaped unhurt after a blow-out during Formula 1 tyre testing in Bahrain in December 2013.
Rosberg said in a tweet that was later deleted: "Just spun at full speed 320km/h on Bahrain straight cause my tyre blew up without warning.
"Thanks to that (I) need to get some toilet paper now.."
SAFER TYRESPirelli assured F1 teams that 2014's tyres would be safe after Rosberg's high-speed incident during private testing.
Four of the 11 teams are taking part in a three-day test with tyre supplier Pirelli, following changes to sporting regulations on safety grounds, to test prototypes for the 2014 season.
While regular testing is banned until next year 2014 under current rules, Pirelli had called for a dispensation so they could collect more data about the tyres with representative machinery.
Pirelli is keen to avoid any repeat of 2013's British Grand Prix blowouts that threw the sport into crisis and forced Pirelli to revise their tyre construction.
The DPA news agency said Mercedes, alongside Red Bull, Ferrari and Toro Rosso wrapped up its activities in Bahrain in the wake of the failure.
According to France's autohebdo.fr, Pirelli did not immediately want to divulge any details, insisting the testing is "private" and the information "confidential".
The tyre marque did confirm however, that "incidents can occur" during testing.
Later, as the news about the latest exploded Pirelli spread throughout the F1 world, Pirelli said the offending tyre had been a "prototype".
Pirelli added that the tyre on Rosberg's car had only previously been tested "in the laboratory", and "will not be proposed again".
F1's official supplier added in a media statement: "Thus, the safety of the tyres which will be supplied for the 2014 championship is not in question,"
In fairness to Pirelli, its tyres are having to be vastly different to those supplied to teams in 2013, due to the high-torque demands of the new turbo engines.
'TYRES WON'T WORK'
Jenson Button, now the most experienced driver on the F1 grid, thinks all the changes are going to make official testing in January "hilarious".
Button said: "It will be cold, the tyres aren't going to work, the cars probably won't work either."
Some teams, however, are relishing the F1 revolution, after Red Bull utterly dominated the now-concluded era where V8 engines were frozen and aerodynamic development was key.
Ferrari's new technical director James Allison said at the launch of the team's new V6 'power unit" in Maranello: "Being able to build the engine and chassis together is definitely a nice advantage.
"Other teams cannot do the same and in 2014, like never before, installing the new power unit in the car's chassis will be a complex operation."
Allison is referring to the contrast between teams like Ferrari and Mercedes, who are both chassis and engine manufacturers, and 'customer' outfits like his former employer Lotus, who simply buy an engine from Renault.
Allison added: "I've got direct experience of that from my time at Lotus: it's true the engine supplier tries to meet your demands, but it's never the same thing as happens here, where there is a historical culture relating to a common task of defining and developing the design of the new car."