Pirelli announces tire changes ahead of German GP
MILAN (AP) — Formula One cars will race on different tires for the rest of the season in the wake of a string of blowouts during Sunday’s British Grand Prix that sparked the threat of a revolt from teams.
Tires exploded on four cars at Silverstone, including those of Lewis Hamilton and Felipe Massa, forcing tire manufacturer Pirelli to launch an investigation.
Pirelli said the problems were caused by a number of factors, including the rear tires being mounted the wrong way by teams and low tire pressures. The Italian manufacturer also said that kerbs were high on the Silverstone circuit, while stressing that “the 2013 range of tires, used in the correct way, is completely safe.”
For Sunday’s German Grand Prix, 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 Grand Prix onward, Pirelli will revert to the tires it used in 2012 combined with the current compounds from this season.
“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,” Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery said in a statement.
The FIA — Formula One’s governing body — said Monday it will allow in-season testing on July 17-19 at Silverstone to allay safety fears.
Hembery said Sunday’s incidents had “upset us greatly.”
“What happened at Silverstone though has led us to ask for full access to real time tire data to ensure the correct usage and development of tires that have the sophistication we were asked to provide and extremely high performance that has lowered lap times by more than two seconds on average,” Hembery said.
“While we wait for a change in the rules, we will introduce tires that are easier to manage.”