Multiple tyre blowout incidents mar British Grand Prix
Posted by: Cal on 3/07/2013
Sunday's British Grand Prix saw Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg pick up his second win of the 2013 season, topping a podium which included Red Bull's Mark Webber in second and Ferrari's Fernando Alonso in third place.
These drivers and others were able to make up ground on Sebastian Vettel, currently sitting at the top of the driver's leaderboard.
Vettel was leading in the 41st lap when his Red Bull car came to a halt, purportedly due to gearbox problems, forcing him into his first retirement in 2013.
This was a surprising turn of events as the German looked set to pick up his fourth win of the season, yet it was overshadowed by the fact that several other drivers experienced burst Pirelli tyres.
In four separate incidents, drivers suffered left-rear tyre blow outs - Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton, Ferrari's Felipe Massa, Toro Rosso's Jean-Eric Vergne and McLaren's Sergio Perez.
There has been much speculation as to what caused these failures, and Pirelli has now announced the results of their investigation.
According to the tyre manufacturer, the blow outs were caused by a combination of several factors.
They found that some teams were mounting tyres on the wrong side, a practice that didn't take into account their asymmetric design and which would affect tyre performance.
Additionally, they believe that in some cases, excessively low tyre pressures were being used. Under-inflation would subject the tyres to more stressful conditions.
On top of this, Pirelli says that kerbing at the Silverstone track where the Grand Prix took place was "particularly aggressive", especially at turn four, where most of the failures occurred.
In a bid to prevent a repeat of the failures seen at the British Grand Prix, Pirelli will provide rear tyres that use a Kevlar construction, rather than a steel one, for the upcoming German Grand Prix.
In addition, they will insist that teams not swap rear tyres around and instead use them on the side of the vehicle they were designed for.
From the Hungarian Grand Prix onwards, Pirelli will introduce a new range of tyres with a symmetrical structure.
Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery said in a July 2 statement that all of Pirelli's 2013 Formula One tyres are completely safe, when used in the correct way.
"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."