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Mercedes drivers welcome Pirelli tire changes

July 3, 2013

Pirelli’s response to the tire blowouts that have shaken Formula One gained approval on Wednesday from Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg ahead of the German Grand Prix on Sunday.

F1 cars will race on different tires for the rest of the season in the wake of a dramatic British GP where four drivers saw their rear tires explode at high speed, sparking talk of a revolt from teams and raising concerns about the safety of drivers, stewards and fans.

Hamilton was one of the drivers affected, saying on Sunday that the situation was “unacceptable,” but the former world champion welcomed the reaction of Pirelli, whose officials are scheduled to attend a meeting on Wednesday in Germany of team sporting directors and the FIA.

“I am satisfied, but only when we get there (Germany) will we have a better idea how it is for us,” Hamilton said. “Everyone is in the same boat, but I’m glad action has been taken.

“It’s still a concern. We’ll see how the weekend goes but I’m sure they’ve taken the right steps to make it safe.”

In Germany, Pirelli will use a Kevlar belt — a fiber that is more resistant to punctures — instead of steel on its rear tires.

From this month’s Hungarian GP on July 28 onward, the Italian manufacturer will revert to the tires it used in 2012 combined with the current compounds from this season.

“I’m confident the right decisions will be taken because safety is a very important factor,” said Rosberg, who won at Silverstone.

“I think (Pirelli) will have everything under control for the Nurburgring.”

Pirelli said the problems were caused by a number of factors, appearing to blame teams by saying the rear tires were mounted the wrong way and tire pressure was too low.

“The 2013 range of tires, used in the correct way, is completely safe,” Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery said in a statement.

In a second statement released by Pirelli, Hembery clarified his remarks by saying he was “in no way ... intending to create arguments or attack anybody.”

Teams will test the tires for Hungary at Silverstone from July 17-19.

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