Drivers' threat to stop German Grand Prix over tyres

Repeat of Silverstone's blow outs will see general refusal to race on safety grounds


The Grand Prix Drivers' Association gave Formula One's organisers an uncompromising ultimatum last night that they will not race the German Grand Prix if there are any signs of further problems with Pirelli's tyres this weekend.

After a meeting at the Nürburgring, the GPDA expressed their "deepest concern" over the events in the British Grand Prix at Silverstone last week, in which four drivers suffered explosive tyre failures.

"We trust that the changes made to the tyres will have the desired results and that similar problems will not occur during the German GP weekend," a GPDA statement said. "We are ready to drive our cars to the limit as we always do, and as it is expected by our teams, sponsors and fans. However, the drivers have decided that if similar problems should manifest themselves during the German GP, we shall immediately withdraw from the event as this avoidable problem with the tyres endangers again the lives of drivers, marshals and fans."

Pirelli has suggested after analysis of the problems at Silverstone that some teams had been running uni-directional tyres the wrong way round, and at excessively steep camber angles and low pressures. But this week's medium- and soft-compound tyres will feature a Kevlar belt in place of a steel belt to add strength, and a new tyre is due for the Hungarian GP at the end of the month.

The last occasion drivers withdrew was ahead of the 2005 United States Grand Prix at Indianapolis over concerns about the Michelin tyres on 16 of the cars.

"After what we saw in Silverstone, we now go to the Nürburgring confident we can see an improvement," Ferrari's Fernando Alonso had said earlier. "I know that various modifications have been applied and let's hope that means all of us drivers can race in safe conditions. At the moment, we can't make any predictions, because no one has tried them and we don't know what and how many benefits they can bring, apart from trusting in the fact that it won't be dangerous to race."

"I think it's definitely important to change the tyres for the safety, and very important that we as drivers are safe," said McLaren's Sergio Perez. "Something bad could have happened at Silverstone, but Pirelli have acted very fast."

However, the mood among the drivers hardened after the meeting. "We don't want to boycott," a GPDA representative said last night. "We truly believe the changes made by Pirelli will make the tyres safe. We only want to make clear our position if there are more blow-outs. Safety first."


Lewis Hamilton seemed less concerned despite being the driver who lost most from a puncture at Silverstone. The Brition said: "I haven't thought about the tyres. I just hope that our car is as strong here as it was last weekend. But I'm guessing there also might be some luck involved in getting the new tyres to work the same way. It might reset the championship fight, but I don't see any point in worrying about that right now."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

Crisp sales are in decline

As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'