British Grand Prix: What they said about tyre-gate


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The Independent Online

Sunday's British Grand Prix at Silverstone was marred by four identical Pirelli left-rear tyre failures, with most teams experiencing problems with the Italian company's rubber.

Here, Press Association Sport takes a look at what the main players in the world of Formula One had to say about the embarrassing episode.

"It was quite close to being red flagged. It did occur to me to do that. I don't want to put figures on it, but it was close. I don't think we've seen anything like this (in F1 history). I can't remember anything. To have four total catastrophic failures, I believe, is a first." FIA race director Charlie Whiting.

"It is unacceptable, the delamination and the tyres flying everywhere at very high speeds. Four obviously very good drivers kept the car under control under these circumstances but could so easily have lost it. There were two or three times when they were in close proximity to other cars. I think it is a great concern." Former three-time world champion Sir Jackie Stewart.

"I don't think Formula One can possibly not respond to the events of this weekend. Five tyre failures, we are lucky no-one has been hurt. To fix a problem you must accept you have got one and I would hope today has provided enough graphic evidence we must do everything we can and decisions have to be made today. We don't wait for tomorrow or a committee to talk about it on Wednesday." McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh.

"This is a Pirelli issue, they need to find a solution, they need to address it, whether they go back to last year's car or a different tyre they need a solution." Red Bull boss Christian Horner.

"There's no question of this team being irresponsible in any way and objecting for the sake of objecting to any proposed change that impacts safety on Formula One. However if we believe that a few teams have understood the tyres better and are able to manage the tyres better without compromise on safety, why should we vote for change?" Force India team owner Vijay Mallya.

"It's definitely something that needs to be looked into. Because too much of that today, that's for sure. I had one too - but got a bit lucky there with the safety car." Race winner Nico Rosberg.

"I did not feel in danger, but it's a shame this problem can waste a whole weekend's work for the team. I am very upset about it, and something needs to be done about it soon." Toro Rosso driver Jean-Eric Vergne, whose failure occurred as he reached 180mph at the end of the Hangar Straight.

"We were lucky that in all the accidents the driver was able to carry on without crashing. What happened today was very dangerous for us, for me and for all drivers racing. These incidents are not the first and we need to do something for our safety." Ferrari's Felipe Massa, another to suffer a blow-out.

"I just felt an explosion along the Hangar Straight - there was nothing I could really do about it. The tyres are a big concern. Luckily nothing too serious happened to anyone, but we need to sit down together, get an explanation and get something done." McLaren's Sergio Perez, whose tyre failure during the race was his second of the weekend.

"What happened is just unacceptable. Safety is the biggest issue. Someone could've crashed. Behind the safety car I was thinking it was only when someone gets hurt that something will be done about it." Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton, who was the first to suffer a tyre issue during the race, robbing him of a chance of victory.

"Pirelli have to understand what happened. They are obviously going to analyse everything that has gone and try to understand whether it's a unique factor from here with the speed, the kerbs and all the rest of it or whether it's another issue. They have got to be given some time to look at it." Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn.

"Pirelli must be able to solve these problems because they are a tyre manufacturer who can do it. My solution is that somebody has to tell them. The drivers should write a letter, because they are the most affected, and Bernie (Ecclestone) needs to get involved to tell them that by Budapest we need another tyre. If the worst comes to the worst, they should bring last year's tyre." Mercedes non-executive chairman and former three-time world champion Niki Lauda.