Tyre explosions caused by “something new” – Pirelli

2013 British Grand Prix

Sergio Perez, McLaren, Silverstone, 2013Pirelli say the spate of tyre explosions seen during the British Grand Prix had a “new” cause and they are investigating the problems.

“Obviously today wasn’t foreseen,” said motorsport director Paul Hembery after the race. “We’ve seen something new, a different type of problem.”

“We’re currently performing as ever our analysis. We’ve got to go away and understand what happened today. When we’ve got the facts then we can understand what’s happened and get to the core of the issue. We take these things seriously and when we have the answers we’ll let you know.”

Hembery wouldn’t be drawn on the potential cause of or remedy for the problems until Pirelli has completed its examination of the failures: “It was one tyre at the back, the left-rear, so we need to understand that.”

Sergio Perez was the first driver to suffer a left-rear tyre failure during final practice yesterday. Qualifying passed without any further failures.

Pirelli previously said Perez’s failure was caused by a cut in the inner sidewall of the tyre.

During the race Lewis Hamilton, Felipe Massa, Sergio Perez and Jean-Eric Vergne all suffered major failures of the left-rear tyre. Afterwards teams increased the tyre pressures they were using the guard against a repeat.

Pirelli saw a series of delaminations earlier in the season and proposed changing the construction of their tyres to ones that use Kevlar belts. This was blocked by some teams.

Further prototype tyres were tested during practice in Canada and at Silverstone this weekend. But teams only accrued limited mileage on them due to wet weather.

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63 comments on Tyre explosions caused by “something new” – Pirelli

  1. aaa said on 30th June 2013, 15:44

    This happens when you change the tyres in the middle of the seasson, without testing it.

    • Fisha695 (@fisha695) said on 30th June 2013, 16:15

      Except they didn’t change the tires because the teams vetoed it. If they would’ve changed the tires to the stronger construction ones that they used last year it’s very likely that this wouldn’t have happened.

      • They *did* tweak/change the tyres to stop them delamenating like had been happening earlier in the season. They wanted to go further and change from steel belt to kevlar, but some of the teams wouldn’t allow it, so you’re both right.

        • Patrick (@paeschli) said on 30th June 2013, 18:05

          Changing the way the tyre is produced isn’t the same as changing the tyre itself. The tyres are still the same as in the beginning of the season but the recipe is different.

      • @fisha695 I understand why you are a bit confused, they haven’t been very clear about the situation, tv pundits haven’t helped to clear the situation either, the fact is that the tyres were changed. As Gary Anderson suggested Pirelli strengthen their tyre bonding by using a revised glue, this had to be the only solution after some teams claimed they would veto the new kevlar belted tyre.
        In my opinion this is a just a different showing of the same weakness. This new 2013 compound needed more testing, in particular the new tyre side-walls that seem to be causing all sorts of anomalies.

      • gweilo8888 (@gweilo8888) said on 30th June 2013, 18:57

        And the teams vetoed it because Pirelli insisted it wasn’t a safety issue. Had they’ fessed up previously, they could’ve forced through a change without needing consent.

        The debris story has never made sense to me. It was just Pirelli trying to protect its brand. Admitting your tires are unsafe is not great for PR. Doubly so when there is no tire war, and the problem is simply that you’ve been supplying overripe tomatoes as tires.

        By sticking to it’s cover story though, Pirelli has done itself, the teams, and the sport a great disservice — and we’re lucky indeed that nobody has been physically injured.

        • Mike (@mike) said on 1st July 2013, 3:49


          I think the suggestion that Pirrelli has knowingly provided unsafe tyres is silly.

          Pirrelli are in for a lot of criticism, and rightly so. But don’t muddy the issue by adding things in that, are really not going to be true.

  2. Traverse (@) said on 30th June 2013, 15:46

    Tyre explosions caused by “something new”

    Now all we need is something old (Nurburgring), something blue (clear blue sky over the Nurburgring on race day next weekend) and something borrowed (Some Bridgestones would be nice!).

  3. andae23 (@andae23) said on 30th June 2013, 15:46

    The critique on Pirelli isn’t justified in my opinion: they have tried to improve the situation, but their attempts have been shot down by the teams on multiple occasions. The critique should be focussed on the FIA: they let the driver race for 40 laps knowing the tyres were effectively a ticking time bomb. Disgraceful.

    • Will Wood (@willwood) said on 30th June 2013, 15:56

      @andae23 I agree with this completely.

    • PhilEReid (@philereid) said on 30th June 2013, 15:57

      I think it’s unfair to blame just Pirelli, but they’ve clearly got a problem so it’s also justified to an extent to blame them. However I agree with you. They wanted to change the structure, but they didn’t change it due to it being shot down. There’s blame on both parts.

    • Hamilfan (@hamilfan) said on 30th June 2013, 15:58

      @andae23 Right ! I guess some teams (Lotus, ferrari ) have got to realize that it is after all what Red Bull said ” a safety hazard “. Alonso and kimi were close to getting their eyes rubbered ! Well FIA has always been that way I think . Bernie , trying to improve the show might actually be just wrecking it .

      • Nick (@npf1) said on 30th June 2013, 16:11

        Don’t forget to blame Mosley and Schumacher too.

        These issues need to be investigated, the FIA, the teams and Pirelli need to find a joint solution, they are all responsible in my view.

    • Manule said on 30th June 2013, 16:18

      It is more than justified. We’ve been having these tyre failures since the beginning of the season, but Pirelli never ever owned up to them. Every time a delamination happened, their response was always consisting of three points:
      a) it was a puncture, its not our fault that there was debree on the track;
      b) our tyres are safer than ever, with old tyres you’d have had an explosive blow up, delamination allows you to safely return without losing tyre pressure;
      c) there is nothing wrong with the tyre construction.

      Yesterday, when another tyre blew up, they once again said it was a puncture. After today it is clear for everyone that the very construction of their tyres is faulty, it is just not up to par and cannot bear the stresses of continuous racing. It doesn’t matter if their tyres delaminates or blows up, they should do neither. And it is not the glue that holds the cord that is the problem, it is the very fact that their tyres are simply too fragile. And instead of covering that up and quietly trying to do some tests while publicly denying that the problem even exists, they should have openly investigated it and, if necessary, reverted to the last year’s construction. If the safety is involved, no unanimous agreement from the teams is needed.

      • Karthikeyan (@ridiculous) said on 30th June 2013, 17:27

        ^This. Blaming every aspect of this tyre fiasco on imaginary debris and how did that help. Someone could have got killed today. As Hamilton said they won’t care till someone gets hurt. And that’s the sad truth.

        On a completely unrelated note :[url=http://postimage.org/][img=http://s10.postimg.org/xpbygzmi1/Something_New.png][/url]

    • gweilo8888 (@gweilo8888) said on 30th June 2013, 19:00

      So did Pirelli, who insisted there was no safety issue, and that there wasn’t even a problem. Over and over, they insisted each failure was debris-caused when that was clearly nonsense.

      At the end of the day, this problem and the shameful response to it sit at Pirelli’s doorstep.

  4. a12 said on 30th June 2013, 15:47

    Let the tyres like how they were before!!! Don’t change it for Red Bull and Mercedes!!

  5. Hamilfan (@hamilfan) said on 30th June 2013, 15:48

    when they are investigating it ..how can they say its something new …I think its bull$^^!* PR to calm down the british fans

  6. Something “old”, something “new”. At this rate they will be solving a problem and bumping into another one every other race this season.

    The simple fact that these new tyres have developed so many issues over the course of this season should be enough of an argument to bring back the 2012 specs that were raced in the last part of the season.

  7. Lauri (@f1lauri) said on 30th June 2013, 15:54

    Note – only happened to some teams, faster teams! No tyre issues on Marussia, Caterham, Sauber. So this might be caused by pushing the limits. Maybe lowest possible tyre pressure + maximum heat to get the maximum grip etc. The problem might be fixed just by Pirelli requesting higher pressures on the tyres, just like it was with camber when teams were running massive negative cambers leading to blistering.

    PS. Adrian Newey was very nervous on the pit wall. It usually is when they have pushed the limit of the car and drivers might be in danger. I’ve seen similar nervousness from him when they ran too much negative camber and when they ran flexi-wings which led to series of accidents – car lost traction and slid off track when following anther car (rembember Vettel hitting Button in sidepod? – there were couple of those!).

  8. BasCB (@bascb) said on 30th June 2013, 15:58

    Interesting thinking about the tyre issue: http://t.co/jrUzVMx4Oi

  9. tmax (@tmax) said on 30th June 2013, 15:59

    I wont blame Pierlli here . their were trying their best. the last thing they want to do is create contreversey for themselves.

    2 people are responsible for this

    1) FIA creating these tires to improve the show and stop red bull

    2) Team principals with their non cooperation stopped pirelli from fixing this issue.

    • Force Maikel (@force-maikel) said on 30th June 2013, 16:25

      I disagree with the team principle one. By what they knew Pirelli considered there tyres safe, therefore they didn’t want them to be changed to to block any advantage towards Red Bull and Mercedes. Given what has happened today I think they might change there stance.

  10. Copersucar (@copersucar) said on 30th June 2013, 16:16

    Seriously, will you be buying new Pirellis for your car anytime soon?
    Maybe too much degradation was requested from them, but AFAIK nobody requested delaminations and blowouts. Bridgestones anyone?

  11. Force Maikel (@force-maikel) said on 30th June 2013, 16:29

    I have been a firm believer that the tyres were safe and no change was necessary but from what I have seen today I can no longer stand behind this. We need new and better tyres for safety reasons and somehow I think so do Lotus and Ferrari. I don’t think they mind giving Red Bull an small advantage as long as there drivers can finish the race in one piece.

  12. Peter (@boylep6) said on 30th June 2013, 16:31

    The FIA and teams keen on keeping the current tyres for a perceived performance advantage should
    bear in mind that Williams engineers [including Newey] ended up in Italian court with the possibility personal responsibility for homicide after Senna’s crash. The collective decision making process could be gone over in painstaking detail in future if action is not taken in a manner consistent with minimising risk to drivers.

    “So, Mr Boullier, since the director of public prosecutions has a nice new Ferrari, I’m afraid it will have to be *you* who explains to the jury why you chose to block Pirelli’s safety updates when you knew the tyres to be unsafe.”


    Peter (@boylep6) said on 28th May 2013, 1:18
    Three cheers for Pirelli and Mercedes for doing the right thing.
    Does the world really think building such advanced tech with stringently limited testing is wise and sustainable?

    F1 has increasingly degenerate and contrived rules (options+primes, single tyre supplier,
    gearbox rules, engine rules, limited testing). These at times run counter
    to safety (limited rookie running, don’t change that part and run until it breaks in race, can’t
    find out why tyres are failing, can’t even change tyre supplier).

    They’ve been living on borrowed time until a situation such as this arose.
    It is a safety issue, and the rules have been getting in the way of addressing the delamination.

    I can’t imagine the FIA seriously imposing anything other than a token huff-fine, because this has been
    clearly a safety issue with the Mercedes 2013 car the standout tyre shredder. Even a huff-fine is dumb —
    the FIA should also consider the legal implications of preventing teams and or tyre suppliers for addressing safety issues, since what if someone were to get hurt in an avoidable way in future?

  13. ed (@doombug11) said on 30th June 2013, 16:31

    It’s sad that inevitably this whole affair today is going to lead to quite a hefty and detrimental impact on Pirelli’s image, your casual viewer isn’t going to be to interested in the ins and outs of the whole situation. To them Pirelli tyres are Pirelli tyres, and witnessing that rubber explode on several dramatic occasions isn’t going to install brand confidence from the consumers point of view the next time they go for a tyre change. In fact it probably couldn’t have been worse for Pirelli today, after all the headlines of the last few weeks, the tribunal, the bickering and ineptitude of the Governing body; for the first failure to be Hamilton, one of the drivers in ‘that’ test, whilst leading his home race is a PR nightmare.

    Of course to my mind while Pirelli are responsible for bringing a safe tyre to the race weekend, as others have pointed out the real blame must lay with the FIA for asking for these made-to-degrade tyres in the first place and the lack of cooperation between teams to agree on the potential solution their was to this problem. I just can’t understand why the teams have a say in this in the first place, I get the purpose of the technical working group in designing the concept and formula in which they race, but it’s perplexing that the competitors have a say on such a matter especially when safety is of such a concern.

  14. celeste (@celeste) said on 30th June 2013, 16:46

    “Hello Bridgestone, this FOM calling, we are reaaaaaallyyyyy sorry, will you take us back?”

    This race was awful… four cars with puntures… I felt awful for Hamilton and Massa..

  15. Tayyib (@m0nzaman) said on 30th June 2013, 16:47

    All these ridiculous failure are just outrageous. I don’t understand how a tyre can fail if the problem is high loads on the left rear, a tyre should be designed to cope with that or sharp ridges on kerbs. They did the test at Barcelona and nothing changed I don’t really understand the mess F1 has got itself in with the silly designed to wear tyres.

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