Tyre drama: FIA summons Pirelli

2013-07-01 07:58

SILVERSTONE, England — Formula 1's governing body ordered tyre supplier Pirelli to attend a meeting after four cars were hit by dramatic tyre blow-outs at the 2013 British Grand Prix.

Lewis Hamilton was leading the race when the rear-left tyre of his Mercedes exploded. There were further blow-outs on the rear-left tyres for Ferrari's Felipe Massa, McLaren's Sergio Perez and Toro Rosso's Jean-Eric Vergne. The result of the tyre explosions left huge strips of rubber on the track.

The safety car was brought out twice during the 52-lap race eventually won by Hamilton's team mate Nico Rosberg.


Sauber's Esteban Gutierrez needed a replacement for his front-left tyre, while Perez had also been hit by a blowout during qualifying.

Pirelli has now been summoned to attend a meeting in Germany, ahead of the 2013 German Grand Prix at the Nurburgring, that was scheduled to involve only the ruling FIA (IAF - International Automobile Federation) and the sporting directors of F1 teams.

Pirelli could not say what caused the tyre issues.

Pirelli's motorsport director Paul Hembery said: "There have been obviously some issues with rear-left failures which we have not seen before.

"We are taking the situation very seriously and we are currently investigating all tyres to determine the cause as soon as possible ahead of the next grand prix in Germany."

The tyre trouble at Silverstone is only the latest controversy to hit Pirelli, which has come under fire over concerns its tyre are wearing down too quickly and leading to races being disrupted by too many pit stops. F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone has defended Pirelli, insisting the new tyre are making the races more exciting.

Pirelli and Mercedes were meanwhile reprimanded earlier in June 2013 by the federation after being found guilty of conducting an in-season test on the tyre.


After the race, several drivers warned of the possible dangers and demanded that something be done by the German Grand Prix.

McLaren's Martin Whitmarsh, who heads the F1 teams' association, said: "We had five tyre failures here. Lots of people have a lot of theories about what that is, whether it is fatigue failure or puncture caused by debris."

"In fairness, we have to work with Pirelli. We have to support them through this but we have to do something. I don't think now F1 couldn't possibly not respond to events this weekend. We have been lucky that no one has been hurt."

Before he dropped out of the race with mechanical problems, Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel was told over the radio it was unclear if the problems were linked to Pirelli or the curbs at Silverstone. They later cautioned him and team mate Mark Webber to be careful of the curbs and to watch their rear tyre.