Despite Pirelli’s recent announcement that it will equip the field with its Kevlar-belted tyres at this weekend’s German Grand Prix, the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association has taken the unusual step of issuing a press release indicating its membership has “deepest concerns about the events that took place at Silverstone”.
The group – which comprises most of the drivers in the field and which serves to push for safety changes on their behalf – has threatened that its members could withdraw from the Grand Prix if similar tyre failures to those seen last weekend were to reappear.
“We trust that the changes made to the tyres will have the desired results and that similar problems will not occur during the German GP weekend. We are ready to drive our cars to the limit, as we always do, and as it is expected by our teams, sponsors and fans,” its statement reads.
“However, the drivers have decided that, if similar problems should manifest themselves during the German GP, we shall immediately withdraw from the event, as this avoidable problem with the tyres endangers again the lives of drivers, marshals and fans.”
The statement is particularly interesting. Its wording also does not indicate if they would withdraw from the race alone, or the entire Grand Prix weekend.
It’s unusual and rare that a group of drivers has taken such a stand, and ultimately it would appear to be a largely empty threat, albeit one designed to put Pirelli on notice. The commercial implications of a withdrawal would be massive to say the least.
But as Pirelli has already indicated, its analysis apportioned much of the blame in the direction of the teams, stating that one of the triggers for the multitude of tyre failures seen at Silverstone was due to running overly aggressive camber and tyre pressures, as well as not fitting the tyres to the correct side of the cars.
Let’s hope the mechanics and engineers and can master left from right this weekend…