LONDON, England, July 3 – Pirelli is to strengthen its tyres for the German Grand Prix after a series of dangerous blow-outs at Silverstone led to calls for urgent action, the Italian manufacturer announced on Tuesday.
Safety concerns were expressed after Sunday’s British Grand Prix when Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes, Jean-Eric Vergne of Toro Rosso and Sergio Perez of McLaren all suffered blow-outs.
In response, Pirelli said they would make the rear tyres’ internal belt with the high-strength synthetic fibre Kevlar instead of the usual steel to reduce temperatures and the risk of punctures.
Formula One teams, Pirelli and motorsport’s world governing body, the International Automobile Federation (FIA), will meet to discuss the matter at Nurburgring on Wednesday.
Only the rear tyres will be changed for Sunday’s race, although a complete change will be introduced for the Hungarian Grand Prix on July 28 using the 2012 tyre design.
In a statement, Pirelli said that after “exhaustive analysis” they had concluded the blow-outs at Silverstone were caused by a number of factors, including:
– Rear tyres that were mounted the wrong way round: in other words, the right hand tyre being placed where the left hand one should be and vice versa, on the cars that suffered failures.
– inexact tyre pressures
– The use of extreme camber angles on the circuit
– aggressive kerbing on fast corners.
Pirelli also insisted in their statement: “…the 2013 tyre range does not compromise driver safety in any way if used in the correct manner, and that it meets all the safety standards requested by the FIA.
Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery, reflecting later on the drama at Silverstone, said: “What happened at Silverstone was completely unexpected and it was the first time that anything like this has ever occurred in more than a century of Pirelli in motorsport.
“These incidents, which have upset us greatly, have stressed the urgency of the changes that we already suggested – which will be introduced during free practice in Germany on Friday.
“We would like to acknowledge the willingness of the FIA, (F1’s commercial arm) FOM, the teams and drivers to act quickly to find an immediate solution to the problem.
“In particular, the adoption of winter tests, arranged with the FIA, that are more suitable for tyre development and the possibility of carrying out in-season testing will contribute to the realisation of tyres with increasingly improved standards of safety and performance.”