Sebastian Vettel leads Pirelli praise in tyre turnaround ahead of German Grand Prix
Triple-World Champion is one of many drivers to credit tyre manufacturer on their response to last weeks blowout viasco
Thursday 04 July 2013
Having seen a wave of criticism aimed in their direction throughout the first half of this season Pirelli have finally received some praise from the Formula One paddock, with triple World Champion Sebastian Vettel leading the chorus of praise.
Four days have passed since a series of tyre explosions threatened to turn the British Grand Prix into a farce, but there was no doubt that the driver’s safety was at risk with rear tyres exploding at near-200 mph.
But Pirelli’s technicians have been working on a new set of rear tyres to be used at this weekend’s German Grand Prix at Nurburgring, with an internal Kevlar belt replacing the steel one that was overheating.
The tyres were trialled – albeit briefly – in Canada last month due to the poor weather conditions, but they are believed to be much safer despite their lack of testing.
With the threat of a boycott if the issues weren’t sorted in time, Vettel praised the tyre manufacturer at the speed of which they have acted to rectify the problem.
"It's good that within a week we have been able to get a different tyre for this race which hopefully is safer for all of us,” claimed the Red Bull driver.
"Obviously the last race was not what we wanted, not satisfactory, so it's good we have a new tyre here.
"How much better and how different it will be is difficult to judge at this stage, but I'm confident it's a step forward."
McLaren’s Jenson Button echoed the German’s sentiments, as did many others up-and-down the paddock ahead of this weekend’s race.
"We haven't seen an issue with this type of construction,” said the Brit.
"As far as I know it is very similar to what we had last year in terms of using Kevlar instead of metal in the tyre. We didn't have any issues last year, so I am happy they've been able to bring this tyre, taking three or four days to sort it out,” continued the 2009 World Champion.
"Last weekend was tough for Pirelli, tough for all of us, especially the drivers. So to turn it around and bring a totally different construction here will help the situation. It is good."
Button’s teammate Sergio Perez suffered two blow-outs during the weekend, having seen his left-rear tyre explode on Friday as he came through Maggotts, Becketts and Chapel complex, before suffering the same fate on race-day as he drove down the Hangar straight with Fernando Alonso slip-streaming just a car length behind.
"It's definitely important to change something for safety, no longer for the performance," admitted the Mexican.
"It's very important as drivers we feel safe because there could have been an accident in the last race, so it's definitely a good thing Pirelli is reacting and making changes."
The tyres were not used at Silverstone after Lotus, Ferrari and Force India blocked the move, but they have now backed the change following the drama of last weekend.
Lotus’ Kimi Raikkonen said: “"Pirelli has to make some changes and that is what has been decided.
"If they are similar to the tyres we tried in Canada they actually felt better. I don't know if they are going to be the same, but I have no concerns."
Force India’s Paul Di Resta, who was excluded from qualifying for being underweight, added: “We didn't have an issue in the last race like other teams.
"But there has definitely been an issue and we support the way going forward to ensure the tyres are safe, so we will be directed by the FIA and Pirelli.
"People tried the tyre very slightly in Canada over one run, and I don't think it will influence the running too much this weekend."
Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso also agreed with the switch, and explained that it’ll be a case of finding the right set-up to get the most out of the new tyres.
He said: "We should not be worried because the tyres should be good for us, or no worse than any other car.”
Alonso, who was almost struck on the helmet by a large chunk of Perez's exploding tyre in the race, admitted: "We just need to adapt to the new tyres quicker than the other teams, and we will put a lot of effort on that."
Sunday’s winner Nico Rosberg believes that the new tyres could have a big impact on race results, and having initially struggled with the tyres this season, Mercedes seemed to be getting to grip with them after Rosberg won in Monaco and Britain while Lewis Hamilton took pole.
“It is very likely it will have an impact on the performances, in qualifying and for the race," said Rosberg.
"It will be interesting. Possibly it will mix things up, but it is also an opportunity for us to understand it better than other teams and make the most of it."
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