Pirelli in the dock after FIA calls urgent meeting over tyre concerns
Tyre manufacturer admits to being in the dark as to why blowouts ruined British GP
Monday 01 July 2013
Immediately after the tyre debacle that ruined the British Grand Prix, Jean Todt, the president of the sport's governing body, the FIA, demanded that tyre manufacturer Pirelli participates in a meeting on Wednesday to take the necessary measures to deal with the safety problem presented by their tyres.
Todt called for an immediate proposal after the analysis of yesterday's failures, ahead of next weekend's German Grand Prix at the Nürburgring.
Earlier, Lewis Hamilton had angrily suggested there was no point him speaking with either the governing body or the tyre company: "I think it's a waste of time talking to any of them at the moment. They can see what happened today. They have to react to it."
Pirelli's motorsport director, Paul Hembery, declared that the blowouts had been unexpected, despite other failures, and refused to be drawn further. "Obviously today wasn't foreseen," Hembery said.
"We've seen something new, a different type of problem. We're currently performing our analysis because we've got to go away and understand what's happened today. When we've got the facts we can understand what's happened and get to the core of the issues."
Several drivers echoed Hamilton in venting their anger. Mark Webber said all of them were nervous driving round with their teams recommending that they avoid the kerbs and take it easy in the high-speed corners.
Fernando Alonso had a very narrow escape as he was following Sergio Perez when the Mexican's tyre exploded, sending debris flying backwards at high velocity. "I was so scared and so lucky, because I missed the contact by one centimetre," the Spaniard said.
Perez agreed with his rival and said: "This is unacceptable, we are risking our lives and we shouldn't wait until something happens to all of us. If it happens at 250kmh it will be a big shame, so Pirelli have some work to do."
Perez's failure set the seal on another miserable race for McLaren, in which their drivers plunged from sixth and seventh places behind the safety car to just a 13th place finish for Jenson Button.
Our pace wasn't too bad, but the last stint was particularly tough," Button said. "After the final safety car there wasn't a lot of tread left on my tyres, so getting them up to temperature was very tricky – we struggle with that anyway. In the closing laps, I was vulnerable.
"For safety reasons, the reasons behind this weekend's tyre failures need to be addressed. It's dangerous for the driver of the car, because he can lose control; but it's also dangerous for the driver of the car behind, because you can get hit by a belt of rubber," Button said.
Fellow Briton Paul di Resta had a happier time after his problems in qualifying relegated him to the back of the grid. "That wasn't the cleanest of races for me, but given everything that's happened this weekend I think we can feel satisfied with two points today," he said. "It was a bit of a scruffy race because I lost my front wing, which probably cost me a couple of positions. Altogether, a weekend of highs and lows."
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