Drivers threaten German GP boycott over punctures

2013 German Grand Prix

Start, Nurburgring, 2011The Grand Prix Drivers’ Association has threatened to boycott the German Grand Prix if the tyre failures seen at Silverstone recur at this weekend’s race.

The drivers say they will withdraw from the event if the tyre failures happen again during practice and qualifying.

A GPDA statement said: “The Grand Prix Drivers’ Association wish to express their deepest concerns about the events that took place at Silverstone.

“We trust that the changes made to the tyres will have the desired results and that similar problems will not occur during the German Grand Prix weekend.

“We are prepared to drive our cars to the limit, as we always do, and as it is expected by our teams, sponsors and fans.

“However, the drivers have decided that, if similar problems should manifest themselves during the German Grand Prix, we shall immediately withdraw from the event, as this avoidable problem with the tyres endangers again the lives of drivers, marshals and fans.”

The GPDA had written to the FIA in June to express concern that Pirelli had not been allowed to make changes to its tyres.

Lewis Hamilton, Felipe Massa, Sergio Perez, Jean-Eric Vergne and Esteban Gutierrez all suffered tyre blow-outs during the Silverstone race. Afterwards Mark Webber said: “We?ve been trying to have input [on tyre safety] for the last three years and it?s deaf ears.”

Kimi Raikkonen expressed doubt over whether the true cause of the failures had been identified: “It’s very hard to pinpoint the reason why the tyres blow up: is it the tyre or there’s something on the kerbs or is it just certain cars that use the tyres harder?

“It’s almost impossible to say after when the tyre goes and there’s nothing left. Easy to try to always blame, somebody will blame someone because you try to find the reason for it but I don’t really believe that you can just say ‘this is the problem, that’s the fix’.”

Fernando Alonso said: “I think performance today is the second priority. What we need to have is a tyre that will last the race, don’t put in danger anyone and you arrive home Sunday night.”

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91 comments on Drivers threaten German GP boycott over punctures

  1. jhg103 (@joshgeake) said on 4th July 2013, 20:44

    Pirelli blamed the teams for running tyres on the incorrect sides of the car as well as using overly low pressures and strong cambers.

    Surely if they pop again in Germany it will be a case of – “We told you not to do that and now you’ve just gone and done it again”?

    • Timothy Katz (@timothykatz) said on 4th July 2013, 21:12

      But only if the teams actually repeat those actions.
      What slightly concerns me is the weather forecast; if it’s damp/wet for practice and qualifying, the drivers may still not find out if the revised tyres are up to it until race time.
      Thinking back to last week, if the weather had been better on Friday at Silverstone and we had seen four or five blowouts in Practice 1, 2 and 3 what would have happened come race day?

  2. bassbar (@bassbar) said on 4th July 2013, 20:49

    what a load of hot air. nobody stopped during the british gp due to safety concerns

  3. Umar Majid (@um1234) said on 4th July 2013, 20:52

    Looks like Hamilton and Raikkonen are the ones who have a clue. I mean why join an association that makes decisions as rash as these. in the 60s they boycotted because drivers were dying day in day out. No one
    has even crashed yet and the association has already said they may boycott the race

    • xjr15jaaag (@xjr15jaaag) said on 4th July 2013, 21:18

      To act after something serious has happened is too late.

    • Rally Man (@rally-man) said on 5th July 2013, 2:18

      So you’re waiting till something bad happens? Hey what do you care, it’s not YOU’RE the one having to drive high speed not knowing if the tires will hold up. Classy mate.

      Hamilton said:

      And to have four blowouts… it could have happened at high speed, someone could have crashed and I was thinking in the race behind the Safety Car it’s only until someone gets hurt that someone’s going to do something about it.

      Hamilton might not be part of the GPDA but I doubt he would risk driving since it personally happened to him. Raikkonen on the other hand…might.

  4. verstappen (@verstappen) said on 4th July 2013, 22:01

    The tyres didn’t fall apart at GP2, did they?
    Wonder what they’ll do when only GP2 are affected.

  5. Fisha695 (@fisha695) said on 4th July 2013, 22:30

    If somebody wants to fly me over to Germany I’ll gladly drive a car if the “Professionals” are too scared too….

    • Rally Man (@rally-man) said on 5th July 2013, 2:21

      Hey how ’bout we all pitch in and buy you a ticket to Germany. We’ll even pay for the rental car to get to the track and you can get on the autobahn and drive at high speed to your heats content. Oh yeah, some of the tires might have cuts on them that might or might not fail at high speed.

  6. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 4th July 2013, 23:07

    Am I the only one who thinks it’s a little contradictory for the drivers to give Pirelli a vote of confidence, and then threaten to boycott the race?

  7. W-K (@w-k) said on 5th July 2013, 1:50

    The thing is that you cannot blame Pirelli or the track until the teams stop running them under the recommended pressure, in the wrong direction/side of car, at the wrong tracking angle or with too much camber.

    • Patrickl (@patrickl) said on 5th July 2013, 3:32

      Paul Hembry, is that you?

      Good that besides the PR talk and blame shifting you still realize that a better construction is needed.

      • W-K (@w-k) said on 5th July 2013, 4:57

        No it’s not, but a person that spent many years testing in industry, but mainly in electronic controls.
        Can you be sure that if the tyres last week had been run as per Pirelli’s guidelines that there would have been any failures.
        Maybe that should be part of the (YD)test at Silverstone later this month.

      • W-K (@w-k) said on 5th July 2013, 5:03

        Also remember Spa 2011, RBR tried to blame Pirelli for tyre failures, but were found to be running aggressive camber angles.

  8. Boudica (@boudica) said on 5th July 2013, 8:47

    This will never happen. The drivers have strong contracts and the teams have a strong obligation to race. They basically cant back out. The GPDA is just trying to stretch their muscles, and to play politics. This an empty threat and everyone knows this.

    This is exactly why Kimi isn’t part of the GPDA, he doesn’t like the politics of the GPDA.

  9. Besucher said on 5th July 2013, 14:58

    Kimi Raikkonen, Valtteri Bottas and Adrian Sutil are not part of GPDA, so they would race in any case. They are brave men. Raikkonen has admitted that early and dangerous 70’s were one of his favourite days in F1 history. I’d bet that if Nico Rosberg was not part of GPDA, he would join that club, too. He would be brave enough to compete at dangerous situations.

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