Pirelli Says Ferrari Isn’t at Fault for British GP Tire Failures

The Scuderia has been cleared of wrongdoing, but that’s not the whole story.

byJames Gilboy| PUBLISHED Jul 19, 2017 2:14 PM
Pirelli Says Ferrari Isn’t at Fault for British GP Tire Failures

Within laps of each other, both Ferraris on the Soft compound tires at the British Grand Prix last weekend were forced to pit when their left front tires failed—Kimi Räikkönen lost tread and Sebastian Vettel's tire losing pressure entirely. Maurizio Arrivabene of Ferrari was furious, but only implied that he believed Pirelli to be at fault. Pirelli confirmed it would take both tires, along with setup data, to investigate their cause of failure and determine who was at fault. What has been confirmed so far is that Ferrari's setup was not at fault for the tire failures, according to Motorsport Italy, in an interview with Mario Isola of Pirelli.

Isola has stated that tire telemetry on the run up to the accident will be reviewed. Parameters including temperature, pressure, and vibrations will be examined for the source of the damage that caused Vettel's tire to abruptly fail.

One potential explanation for Sebastian Vettel's blowout is simple: he wore it out by driving too hard. Vettel initially complained over team radio of blistering problems, prior to being chased down by Valtteri Bottas, who pressured Vettel into a brake lockup, causing a flat spot that may have later developed into the cause of his blowout. Furthermore, his lap times leading up to the surprise failure on lap 50 took a dive, dropping more than 1.6 seconds per lap between laps 46 and 49. One photo suggests that his front right was also due to give up the ghost in the next couple of laps, suggesting that Vettel's tire failures were not so much a case of if but when.

Räikkönen made no complaints of blistering during his Soft compound stint, and no evidence of blisters were found on his failed tire. Isola says Pirelli will look for evidence of blistering on Vettel's tires, but we already know the verdict, don't we?