Raikkonen suspects “sharp” kerbs caused tyre failures

2013 British Grand Prix

Kimi Raikkonen, Lotus, Silverstone, 2013Kimi Raikkonen believes sharp edges on kerbs at Silverstone caused the spate of tyre failures during the British Grand Prix.

Raikkonen had no such failure himself but was running close behind Jean-Eric Vergne when the Toro Rosso driver suffered a puncture at high speed on the Hangar straight which spread debris across the track.

“It wasn?t ideal having bits of rubber thrown at your helmet for sure, but risk is all part of the game,” said Raikkonen.

“It wasn?t his or the tyres? fault. If you have sharp edges on a kerb as seemed to be the case there last weekend then these things can happen no matter what tyres you have. It didn?t change our race anyway.”

Other drivers were sceptical of claims the kerbs were causing tyres to fail. “I?ve been racing 12 years now in Silverstone and the kerbs they were never a problem,” said Fernando Alonso.

Silverstone have pointed out that the kerbs were approved by the FIA, conformed to their standards, and no other racing series which has visited the track recently had similar problems.

Lotus team principal Eric Boullier said: “The tyre failures in Silverstone were a concern and we?re doing everything we can to assist Pirelli. Once they have completed their analysis, then decisions can be made based on the available information.”

Lotus were one of three teams who blocked an earlier move by Pirelli to change the construction of the tyres. “We?re completely behind any changes which could be required on the grounds of safety and always have been,” said Boullier.

“We?ve never pushed to race on tyres which Pirelli have told us could have the potential to be unsafe.”

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67 comments on Raikkonen suspects “sharp” kerbs caused tyre failures

  1. Hydro (@hydrouk) said on 2nd July 2013, 17:50

    We’ve been using Pirelli tyres since 2011 I think, and to my knowledge I’ve not heard of any changes at all to the kerbs. How could they be the cause?

    • ferrox glideh (@ferrox-glideh) said on 2nd July 2013, 19:20

      On the sky sports broadcast, I think that someone (j herbert?) mentioned that Silverstone had recently undergone modifications to the track to improve drainage. Can anyone confirm this? Addressing drainage issues would mean changes near or at the curbs. Surely a fan from the u.k. must know something about this. It may be a factor given the strangely spectacular left-handed tire failures.

  2. Manished said on 2nd July 2013, 17:50

    Gary Anderson mentioned the same.

    • The kerbs might have been doing the cutting, but thats not the cause, the cause is the tyres being too fragile.

      The tyres where fine the past few years in F1 and in many other racing series, its not a coincodence that its only been F1 tyres popping, and it didnt just happen in Silverstone, they popped in Bahrain and Barcelona.

      This is a no-brainer and anyone just blaming the kerbs is seriously missing the point of this issue.

      • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 2nd July 2013, 18:58

        +1 @N – please heed this @tmekt.

        • tmekt (@tmekt) said on 2nd July 2013, 19:09

          @vettel1
          why? I’m not really interested, sorry, thanks for asking though…

          • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 2nd July 2013, 19:11

            @tmekt I thought it would address your qualms with my comment due to the way in which it is more concisely articulated!

          • @Max Jacobsen so you are saying that “no-brainer” is some kind of argument? What happened to the tires at Silverstone was not even comparable to Bahrain and Barcelona and it certainly isn’t a “no-brainer” simple matter but it is rather obvious that the “extended grip-time” tires that Red Bull so desire would not have made a difference since it was not the tire under stress that failed but only inside rears….. which had all just come off the same curb.

          • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 2nd July 2013, 23:31

            @poul the comment shouldn’t be addressed to me as I didn’t write it but I’ll answer anyway: just pay close attention to the statement from Silverstone. There was nothing unusual with the kerbing and as such no other series bar F1 with these Pirelli tyres had any problems. That conclusively suggests that these tyres are more prone to failures than others which in turn suggests the sidewall construction is too soft and needs to be stiffened, hence why Pirelli have taken the action to replace the steel belts with a Kevlar construction.

            This has nothing to do with Red Bull, as they aren’t changing the compounds so quite how you’ve made that jump is confusing.

      • David-A (@david-a) said on 2nd July 2013, 19:14

        I agree N.

      • Rooney (@rojov123) said on 2nd July 2013, 20:38

        What right does anyone have to blame Pirrelli in this fiasco? Also, the cause was indeed the Kerbs. If the Kerbs wasn’t the cause, then the tyres should have exploded all over the place from race 1. Since this was the first instance of such massive blowouts, something has changed. Obviously, the tyres didnt change in construction. So, the “cause” is track related. ie: The KERBS!

        • Breno (@austus) said on 2nd July 2013, 21:13

          If the kerbs are the cause, why no other race series had problems?

          • chiliz00 (@chiliz00) said on 3rd July 2013, 3:36

            this is an assumption by the way but I think the grip demands and speed of F1 cars is substantially higher than in the other racing series that have been at Silverstone.. so this might help to explain why these blowouts have only been a feature in F1… the tyres have a part no doubt but I don’t think it’s quite simply just the tyres alone that would have caused the blowouts…

          • BasCB (@bascb) said on 3rd July 2013, 8:05

            I would say the Kerbs could have cut the tyres (backside slowly lying bare from washing away turf on the backside for example), but theres a big difference between F1 tyres and other series @austus.

            Remember that they use 13″ rims when all sportscars use far bigger ones – 18″-22″ rims. In an F1 car the sidewall moves a lot to avoid any suspension movement. Only GP2-GP3 cars get close, but I guess they do not do any cross swapping from left to right, heavily pressurizing and running aggressive camber angles to the extent F1 teams do.

            The high loading in the corners, combined with the Kerbs are part of how these problems arise, but only in the way the tyres are built and used for F1.

  3. joac21 (@joac21) said on 2nd July 2013, 17:56

    hes just playing his team game

    • Manished said on 2nd July 2013, 17:58

      All tyre failure happened at the same corner……..yea, play the team game….!!

      Watch the bbc video where Gary Anderson analyze the kerb.

    • tmekt (@tmekt) said on 2nd July 2013, 18:10

      @joac21

      Which team game? The game of being “completely behind any changes which could be required on the grounds of safety”?

      • joac21 (@joac21) said on 2nd July 2013, 18:13

        no. the “tyres are fine and thats why we voted against chaning them” game

        • tmekt (@tmekt) said on 2nd July 2013, 18:58

          @joac21
          If changes are made under safety grounds, unanimity is not needed, FIA decides about that. The changes Lotus/Ferrari/Force India vetoed had nothing to do with safety, they were supposed to be an answer to the “4 stops being too much” problem, and it would have had significant effects to the compounds that some teams succeeded to design their cars on better than others. That’s why they voted against, do you think any team would vote for anything that would make their competitive situation worse? (…and increasing safety doesn’t make your competitive situation worse, it makes it better because, well, safety increases)

          Whether or not the changes that didn’t happen would have solved a safety problem which no one had absolutely any idea about back then, is irrelevant. And no, the delaminations that have been happening throughout the course of the whole season (which have apparently been fixed) have nothing to do with the punctures in Silverstone.

  4. Mads (@mads) said on 2nd July 2013, 18:03

    I think Kimi has got this whole thing the wrong way around.
    The curbs are fine for everyone else, the problem is exclusive to F1 cars on 2013 rubber.
    Did he also blame the air for being too thick when his McLaren rattled it’s rear wing off at Hockenheim in 2004?

    • Manished said on 2nd July 2013, 18:06

      explain why all tire failed at the same corner??

      • Mads (@mads) said on 2nd July 2013, 18:19

        Because Pirelli’s construction isn’t strong enough to go over that curb.
        The curb is FIA approved and used by loads of other cars regularly as it says in the article.
        If all those cars don’t have problems, why does the F1 cars? It can’t just be the curb, can it?

        • Manished said on 2nd July 2013, 18:21

          The F1 Times ‏@F1Times 1m
          Pirelli blames inverted mounting of rear tyres, low pressures, camber thrust and high kerbs as reasons for tyre failures. #F1

      • GT_Racer said on 2nd July 2013, 19:19

        “explain why all tire failed at the same corner??”

        They didn’t.

        Hamilton’s tyre failed after turn 4, Massa’s failed just before turn 4, Perez’s tyre failed exiting Copse in practice & on the hanger straght in the race, JEV’s tyre failed on the hanger straght, Guttierez suffered a tyre failure on the entry to Stowe & Alonso suffered a failure on the exit of stowe.

        Rosberg’s tyre started delaminating when he turned into stowe, Hulkenberg’s tyre began delaminating on the old start/finish straght.

    • tmekt (@tmekt) said on 2nd July 2013, 18:12

      Did he also blame the air for being too thick when his McLaren rattled it’s rear wing off at Hockenheim in 2004?

      No, that was obviously Pirelli’s fault

    • ferrox glideh (@ferrox-glideh) said on 2nd July 2013, 19:24

      f1 cars go faster around the corners and therefore apply more force upon the corners with their tires, especially after two dry days with the track rubbering in.

  5. Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 2nd July 2013, 18:03

    I think we came to that consensus a few days ago, Räikkönen.

    “It wasn’t ideal having bits of rubber thrown at your helmet for sure, but risk is all part of the game”

    Getting hit by parts of tyre is not “part of the game”, that’s just dangerous.

    “It wasn’t his or the tyres’ fault. If you have sharp edges on a kerb as seemed to be the case there last weekend then these things can happen no matter what tyres you have.”

    That’s simply not true: as Alonso correctly pointed out there has been no such problems in his 12 years of racing here and Silverstone has also pointed out they have conformed to FIA standards.

    “It didn’t change our race anyway.”

    That’s a horrible attitude: what if Alonso had ploughed into the back of Perez and hit the bridge on the hanger straight? That also wouldn’t have affected your race but would you care then Kimi?

    • Manished said on 2nd July 2013, 18:05

      pirelli ‘s official statement just came out. I suggest you to read it

      The F1 Times ‏@F1Times 1m
      Pirelli blames inverted mounting of rear tyres, low pressures, camber thrust and high kerbs as reasons for tyre failures. #F1

      • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 2nd July 2013, 18:44

        Yes, it caused the failures on these tyres, not “any tyres”. No other racing series has had this problem. Trust me, I’ve read all the reports.

      • Luc said on 2nd July 2013, 18:53

        That’s just a joke.

        Whether they use rr on rl or fr on lr , it shouldn’t matter, we do visit circuits where the other tyre it’s being exposed to high energy.

        Low-ish tyre pressures shouldn’t be a big deal either because this can only mean that the sidewalls are not very strong.

        I call bulls on Pirelli.

        • minnis (@minnis) said on 2nd July 2013, 23:36

          Actually I can understand the tyre inverting being a problem. Surely you would make the outer side stronger, as that is the one more susceptible to being hit by a wall, front wing, kerbs etc? Thus swapping the tyres puts the weaker side of the tyre against the wall, kerb etc. May not be correct, but its a possibility.

          Also, if the tyres were not designed to run at low pressure, that could explain there damage too. How can Pirelli be blamed if the teams are running too little pressure?

          If you don’t pump the tyres up on your car, and crash, will it be the tyres fault or yours? Yours, for not pumping the tyres up.

          I’m not saying Pirelli is blameless in all this, but it seems that the teams are all a bit to blame too. Notice how was both Mercs, both Ferrari’s etc all had problems but neither of the Caterhams did. Same too with Lotus, Force India etc.

        • BasCB (@bascb) said on 3rd July 2013, 8:10

          Have you ever had treaded tyres on your road car and tried them on the other way around Luc?

          Some high performance tyres are made to run in one direction, meaning that the left and the right tyres are not the same (they are asymmetrical) but have to be used the right way round. In road cars its pretty unsafe to run them that way, because they are never intended to hold when you do it.

          Teams found that in some cases they get better performance out of the tyres when changing them around, and up to now, Pirelli have not thought it dangerous to do so. But after their analyses they now conclude that in certain situations it can get the tyre in a state that its not safe to use anymore (as we saw happen in Silverstone)

    • Dave (@raceprouk) said on 2nd July 2013, 18:10

      It’s true the kerbs did cause some tyre damage, but to blame the kerbs for the failures doesn’t necessarily follow. Pirelli should have all the info they need to protect the carcass from damage from sharp kerbs. Just like Michelin knew what the banked turn at Indy was like.

    • tmekt (@tmekt) said on 2nd July 2013, 18:42

      @vettel1

      Getting hit by parts of tyre is not “part of the game”, that’s just dangerous.

      He didn’t even say that. He said that RISK is part of the game, which it is in motor racing. I thought you were a fan of “pure” racing? Well, if it’s truly pure then the risk of fatal accidents cannot be completely taken away. He was talking about his own situation (what HE, himself, actually experienced there on the circuit) but if you feel like you should be the one judging what happened, be my guest.

      That’s simply not true: as Alonso correctly pointed out there has been no such problems in his 12 years of racing here and Silverstone has also pointed out they have conformed to FIA standards.

      Do you suggest that the kerbs have been left untouched for 12 years? Do you think it’s impossible to people that are fixing/changing/maintaining them to make mistakes? Do you think that structures that are outside and that are being driven over in with speeds over 200 kph are simply unbreakable?

      If there are “cuts” on tyres, it’s only logical to think that something has actually caused those cuts. Or do you think they just happened to appear there without reason? And if you think about a race track, what could be there that could be sharp enough to cause damage to soft rubber?

      Do you think Silverstone would be the first one to admit that their kerbs might have been the cause to an accident that had the potential to be fatal?

      That’s a horrible attitude: what if Alonso had ploughed into the back of Perez and hit the bridge on the hanger straight? That also wouldn’t have affected your race but would you care then Kimi?

      I don’t know what the exact question was that Kimi was answering there but to me, being honest doesn’t really seem like horrible attitude (in fact, honesty is usually found as a very nice feature in a human being)… If the fact that there was or wasn’t sharp edges on the kerbs of Silverstone DID somehow affect Kimi’s and Lotus’ approach to their race, I’m sure you’ll share that with us. He was simply stating the fact that the kerbs didn’t have an effect to their race.

      • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 2nd July 2013, 18:54

        @tmekt

        He didn’t even say that. He said that RISK is part of the game, which it is in motor racing.

        No, he said risk is part of the game in the context of these tyre failures being part of the “risk” – almost saying that these failures are acceptable. It’s far from an acceptable “part of the game” to have 6 tyres exploding during a race (hence why Charlie Whiting seriously considered red flagging the race).

        Do you think it’s impossible to people that are fixing/changing/maintaining them to make mistakes?

        Let me repeat: they were up to FIA standards, so clearly they were checked and verified to be of a satisfactory standard. So unless the FIA checks have inconceivably become less stringent in those 12 years then no, they won’t have made any mistakes.

        If there are “cuts” on tyres, it’s only logical to think that something has actually caused those cuts. Or do you think they just happened to appear there without reason?

        When did I say that at all? All I said was it’s simply not true that any tyre would have had the same failures as Silverstone have also pointed out that other series has raced here without problems. So there’s evidently a serious flaw with the Pirelli F1 tyres which Räikkönen is essentially denying.

        If the fact that there was or wasn’t sharp edges on the kerbs of Silverstone DID somehow affect Kimi’s and Lotus’ approach to their race, I’m sure you’ll share that with us

        The point is that had someone been injured, it still wouldn’t affect his weekend. Would that be acceptable though, because it didn’t affect Kimi? That’s the same as saying that it doesn’t matter that the Bahraini people are being oppressed, because it “doesn’t affect me for I live in Switzerland”. Is that not a bad attitude?

        • sandy (@sandy) said on 2nd July 2013, 19:15

          @ Max Jacobson
          Not really sure how you deduced that raikkonen would not have cared if someone would have got injured, based on what he says inthe interview. So please tell me how did you deduce that ?

          • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 2nd July 2013, 19:36

            @sandy

            It wasn’t ideal having bits of rubber thrown at your helmet for sure, but risk is all part of the game

            From that it’s pretty easy to deduce for me that he found that “risk” to be merely “part of the game” and hence acceptable. That’s a very 70’s attitude to proceedings don’t you think?

            It didn’t change our race anyway

            This is a crisis moment for the sport and it appears his primary concern was himself and his team. That’s a pretty selfish attitude do you not think?

        • Manished said on 2nd July 2013, 19:21

          pretty much sum up you read too much into the context of the word.

          Kimi was answering the question of debris flying towards him. And he claim that “risk is part of the game.” you dont quit racing to avoid such incident from happening.

          Sort yourself out and stop freaking out.

          It was clear the FIA has wrong standard on tire pressure, camber angle etc as Pirelli was never allowed to test with representative car.

          • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 2nd July 2013, 19:43

            I’m intentionally hyperbolising Manished – I’d sincerely hope he’d care if somebody was injured. I merely pointing out his “lack of giving a crap” in this context is just selfish and damaging for his image IMO.

          • Elliot A said on 2nd July 2013, 21:20

            @vettel1
            I think think you’re applying the risk comment to too wide a context. It was just a question about debris. They don’t stop racing if someones front wing gets clipped do they? F1 can never be 100% safe. You can’t drive in F1 and not expect some element of risk is probably what he means.

            Also remember it was due to his tyre degradation and then suspension failure at Nurburgring 2005 that they changed the rules. He himself has been a victim so it’s not like he’s saying it just because it didn’t happen to affect him this time, or that he’s indifferent to safety. It’s because every time a driver gets in an F1 car there is always going to be a risk and he’s saying you have to accept that if you are going to drive.

        • tmekt (@tmekt) said on 2nd July 2013, 19:36

          @vettel1

          No, he said risk is part of the game in the context of these tyre failures being part of the “risk” – almost saying that these failures are acceptable. It’s far from an acceptable “part of the game” to have 6 tyres exploding during a race (hence why Charlie Whiting seriously considered red flagging the race).

          No… he said that the risk is there and he accepts it as “part of the game”, which I’m sure any race driver would say if being asked. Besides, he seems to talk about “risk” as more of an phenomenon than the specific risk of Pirelli tyre exploding to your face.

          But you really shouldn’t try to break these down for analyzing, it’s just a live interview.

          Let me repeat: they were up to FIA standards, so clearly they were checked and verified to be of a satisfactory standard. So unless the FIA checks have inconceivably become less stringent in those 12 years then no, they won’t have made any mistakes.

          Well even FIA officials are capable of mistakes, and the checking procedures are capable of having loopholes. Not saying that they have because I’m not familiar of what they consist of but then again neither are you (probably).

          When did I say that at all? All I said was it’s simply not true that any tyre would have had the same failures as Silverstone have also pointed out that other series has raced here without problems. So there’s evidently a serious flaw with the Pirelli F1 tyres which Räikkönen is essentially denying.

          You didn’t. Maybe I could have worded it better but I was simply trying to think what might have been the thought process behind Räikkönen’s statement. The fact that nothing has happened in 12 years doesn’t prove anything else than that nothing has previously happened.

          The point is that had someone been injured, it still wouldn’t affect his weekend. Would that be acceptable though, because it didn’t affect Kimi? That’s the same as saying that it doesn’t matter that the Bahraini people are being oppressed, because it “doesn’t affect me for I live in Switzerland”. Is that not a bad attitude?

          That was your point, not Kimi’s point. Did Alonso hit the bridge? No. Was Kimi commenting about the situation in Bahrain? No. If he had said those things if perhaps would have been disrespectful or ignorant or something else but he didn’t and it wasn’t.

          And besides it’s not exactly fair to remove sentences from their contexts. That last quote for example was only part of my point and you disregarded the rest of the paragraph entirely.

      • Luc said on 2nd July 2013, 19:01

        Maybe you’re right on the first part , but why didn’t the gp2 series suffered from this problem that much?

        • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 2nd July 2013, 19:09

          I’m guessing because GP2 cars put less energy through the tyres than F1 cars. They should be engineered to F1 tolerances though so it doesn’t excuse the fact there’s something wrong with these tyres.

          • luc said on 2nd July 2013, 19:54

            maybe, but i don’t think they run exactly the same specification tyres to F1 cars

  6. Lauri (@f1lauri) said on 2nd July 2013, 18:14

    Didn’t I see a tyre delaminating in GP2 (or was it GP3)? Because these are the same tyres ised for many times it must have been a result of many things coming together. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was a kerb on very hot tyres with low pressure in a highspeed righthander.

    • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 2nd July 2013, 19:07

      @f1lauri almost inevitably it’s partially related to Silverstone being a high-stress circuit but that isn’t an excuse: the tyres should be able to withstand “normal” running round every track on the F1 calendar. Spa Francorchamps is even more high stress on the tyres and if they weren’t changed I dread to think how many failures we may have.

    • GT_Racer said on 2nd July 2013, 19:22

      The tyre failure in GP2 was caused by contact with another car’s front wing in the loop.

  7. sandy (@sandy) said on 2nd July 2013, 19:50

    @Max Jacobson
    “It didn’t change our race ” referred to the fact that he didn’t need to change his approach to turn 4 or Lotus didn’t need to change the pressure in the tyres. Not that the incidents didn’t bother him from a safety point of view.
    Oh and all drivers and teams are selfish. Wasn’t it a few months back that a certain driver ignored team orders to overtake his team mate. Vettel wasn’t it?
    I suggest you stop taking things out of context.

  8. Aced (@aced) said on 2nd July 2013, 20:06

    Kimi being political, I never thought I’d see the day.

  9. 5150 (@) said on 2nd July 2013, 20:52

    KImi’s right!!!!!
    Not Pirelli’s fault but drivers fault. Stay of the kerbs. YThey shouldn’t be driven on extensively anyway, since they’re not really a part of the race track.
    Ahhh! PS generation of fans and drivers.

  10. schooner (@schooner) said on 3rd July 2013, 2:15

    Having had a good look at those curbs, I was surprised to see that the inside edges look almost like saw blades. I’d have to think that it wasn’t intended for the race cars to run and slide their tires across that inside edge. That said, they have been in place for some years without any particular issues. It seems to me that Pirelli were pushed to dangerous extremes by the FIA, which is the base cause for all this hooplah. It is now being addressed… and thankfully without having had any injuries as a result. Rounding off the inside edges of those curbs might not be a bad idea either.

  11. Kaiser said on 3rd July 2013, 14:06

    It was mentioned on Saturday, before the whole race-day-tire-blowing mess happened, that kerbs were somehow changed during the year, It does make sense that not only the tires are to blame but probably even to a bigger extent the new kerbs installed. Other series dont have downforces like an F1 car, so the fact that no other cars had problems with this is no excuse.

    Take a look at this video explaining the newly installed kerbs
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=98GB1I2TyrE

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