F1 begins to respond to tyre-exploding crisis

Mon, 1 July 2013, 04:35

Jul.1 (GMM) The world of formula one has already begun to respond to the crisis triggered by Sunday’s tyre-exploding British grand prix.

Earlier this year, because Pirelli insisted the problem was merely aesthetic rather than a matter of safety, a few teams blocked moves to introduce a new tyre to stop delaminations.

Red Bull designer Adrian Newey, hitting out at those resisting teams including Lotus, Ferrari and Force India, blamed the Silverstone chaos on their “short-sightedness”.

“It’s a sad state of affairs but such is the nature of formula one, really,” he is quoted by the Telegraph.

However, Lotus team boss Eric Boullier has reacted immediately to Silverstone by insisting that because it is now a safety issue, the team will no longer block any changes.

And Telegraph correspondent Tom Cary said on Monday that Ferrari and Force India have also now acknowledged “that safety came before their own competitive interests”.

Nonetheless, Force India owner Vijay Mallya has been quoted as questioning the seriousness of the tyre explosions, while Lotus’ Alan Permane told Auto Motor und Sport that Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean had no problems at all on Sunday.

Force India sporting director Otmar Szafnauer added: “We had no problems.

“Maybe it’s because we adhere strictly to Pirelli’s guidelines regarding tyre pressures and camber.”

The most immediate issue for F1, however, is how to react to the Silverstone crisis just days ahead of the next race at the Nurburgring.

A step in the right direction is the immediate decision to relax F1’s strict testing ban for Pirelli.

Sir Jackie Stewart is quoted by the Daily Mail: “They’ve got to open up the regulations and do as many tests as they need to drive in order to feel comfortable their (Pirelli’s) tyres are durable.”

Indeed, Germany’s DPA news agency said the most powerful men in F1 – Bernie Ecclestone and FIA president Jean Todt – met at Silverstone and arranged for Pirelli to be able to conduct two three-day tests.

F1 chief executive Ecclestone said Pirelli can even use 2013 cars, even though the Italian marque’s recent test with Mercedes was scolded by the FIA.

“They can use what they like,” said Ecclestone. “No restrictions. None at all, so they can do what they want.”

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