Formula 1 News

Pirelli 'to strengthen tyres' - report

BBC revealed the measure with teams supporting changes on safety concerns -while pointing fingers to each other- to avoid another tyre blow-out session.
Tuesday, July 2, 2013

LONDON, July 02, 2013 (AFP) - Pirelli is to strengthen its tyres for the German Grand Prix after a series of dangerous blow-outs at Silverstone that led to calls for urgent action, the BBC reported on Tuesday.

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The broadcaster said on its website that the Italian manufacturer would make the rear tyres' internal belt with the high-strength synthetic fibre Kevlar instead of the usual steel to reduce temperatures and the risk of punctures.

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The BBC did not quote sources for its story but said that Pirelli was expected to announce the changes later on Tuesday.

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Only the rear tyres will be changed for Sunday's race, although a complete change would be introduced for the Hungarian Grand Prix on July 28 using the 2012 design, it added.

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Safety concerns were expressed after Sunday's British Grand Prix after Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes, Jean-Eric Vergne of Toro Rosso and Sergio Perez of McLaren all suffered blow-outs.

Ferrari, Force India and Lotus, the three teams at the centre of the Pirelli British Grand Prix tyre storm, came out on Monday in favour of changes to ensure no repeat of the dramatic blow-outs at Silverstone.

Those same teams came out fighting after being attacked for being "short-sighted" for blocking Pirelli's planned introduction of new tyre constructions.

The claim was levelled by Red Bull's technical chief Adrian Newey, who said Pirelli had come up with a way to address the worrying issue of tyre safety this season, only for the three F1 outfits to vote against any change.

He explained: "Pirelli came up with a solution for that, with a different construction, and that was being offered initially for Montreal.

"But two or three teams vetoed that because they were worried it would suit some other teams more than it would suit them.

"As a result of that short-sightedness, Formula One ended up putting up the worrying performance it did (at Silverstone) and concerns about driver safety."

Drivers had even threatened to go on strike if the issue was not resolved. But in the aftermath of the British GP all three teams were at pains to distance themselves from any accusation that their stance could have conceivably endangered the lives of drivers.

Stefano Domenicali, Ferrari team principal, said: "For me, it's important to move forward and solve the issue because it's something that is very important for all of us."

Force India deputy team principal Bob Fernley, whose outfit was most strongly against the revisions last time, said: "It's a completely different position to what we had previously because there was no safety element in any of it before.

"Once a safety issue comes up, we are not going to risk people's well-being for a technical point."

Lotus boss Eric Boullier added: "We need to work with Pirelli and find solutions. Maybe Pirelli need to change the belt from metallic to Kevlar, and we would support this. Safety is the primary concern."

F1's ruling body the FIA later announced that they were looking at changing the rule that would allow for a modification of the specification of the tyres dring the Championship season without the unanimous agreement of all competing teams.

They have also called Pirelli to an urgent meeting of the F1 Sporting Working Group on Wednesday at the Nurburgring where the German Grand Prix is scheduled to begin with free practice on Friday morning.

FIA president Jean Todt said that his body is determined to seek an urgent solution to the problem and as such the FIA will change the format of this month's Formula One Young Driver Test.

"Our priority is to ensure safety for all in Formula One and we believe the incidents at Silverstone represent a genuine safety concern for the drivers," said President Todt.

"We have thus taken the decision to alter the Young Driver Test to allow teams to use drivers they deem fit to carry out tyre development work in a bid to solve the problems we saw at the British Grand Prix. I believe it is fitting to carry out this work at the circuit upon which the issues were manifested."

The test, scheduled for July 17-19 at Silverstone, will now allow teams to field drivers who have competed in more than two F1 World Championship events provided it is clear that the purpose of them doing this is to test tyres for Pirelli. The test may also be extended by one day.

However, the Mercedes team will not participate in the test, after they were reprimanded last month by FIA for carrying out unauthorised tests earlier in the season.

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