Pirelli has released its much-awaited findings into the cause of Sebastian Vettel’s tyre failure during the Belgian Grand Prix, confirming that the tyre in question failed as a result of damage by track debris and ‘prolonged use of the tyres’.
Vettel lost a potential podium finish as a result of the tyre failure and promptly launched an expletive-laden attack against Pirelli in the open post-race media sessions, describing the incident as “completely unacceptable”.
Pirelli’s entire statement of its findings was released on Thursday afternoon in the lead-up to this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix at Monza and can be read below (click on the image to enlarge):
Its announcement was swiftly followed by a press release from Formula 1’s governing body, the FIA, which declared that it was “satisfied with the thoroughness of the investigation and Pirelli’s conclusions [and] is willing to consider any safety recommendations made … for the Italian GP and the remainder of the season”.
Then came a more extraordinary step, with Formula One Management – presumably authored by Bernie Ecclestone – issuing its own strongly-worded statement in clear support of Formula 1’s official tyre supplier.
“Pirelli has been a first class partner of Formula One during the five seasons in which it has been the Official Supplier of Tyres to the FIA Formula One World Championship and we continue to have full confidence in the safety, quality and suitability of its tyres … Pirelli provides strong guidance to competitors about any performance limitations of the tyres supplied. Competitors should heed Pirelli’s expert advice when setting their race strategy and tactics, and if they do not, it is at their own risk.” – FOM statement
That FOM chose to get involved underscores Pirelli’s fury at having its name once again dragged through the mud, and can very much be read as a slap for Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel, who has a history of instigating bad press for the Italian company.
Rewind two years ago to when the German was with Red Bull Racing and the team wanted the tyres changed to suit its cars. A number of blowouts at that year’s British Grand Prix – caused by drivers damaging their tyres over a kerb – forced Pirelli’s hand and it reverted to a 2012-spec construction. Red Bull Racing went on to win every race (bar one) for the remainder of the season and swept to a fourth successive Drivers/Constructors Championship rout.
The statement also served to remind everyone of what Pirelli was tasked with doing to improve the races when it returned to Formula 1 in 2011, following repeated criticism of Bridgestone during the final years of its tenure when it was the sole tyre supplier.
“Within the constraints of safety considerations, which are always paramount, Formula One encourages Pirelli to provide tyre compounds with performance limitations because tyre degradation contributes to the challenge and entertainment of a Formula One race … Pirelli has offered to provide to each car a single set of tyres to last for an entire Event. While we know that they would be very capable of it, a race with no pit stops would be less exciting.”
Image via XPB Images