Pirelli Motorsport, sole tyre suppliers to Formula 1, have said that there were “no issues connected with the tyre itself nor with its use” in the failure that cost Kimi Raikkonen second place at the British Grand Prix.
Having concluded that Scuderia Ferrari team-mate Sebastian Vettel’s tyre failure was caused by a slow puncture, Pirelli have said that “specific damage in two places at the edge of the belt close to the internal shoulder area” caused the tread to become detached from the tyre, though added that “this damage did not however compromise the actual tyre structure, with Raikkonen able to make his way safely back to the pits on an inflated tyre.”
As for the reason for the failure, Pirelli are claiming that, “the possible initial cause of this damage is consistent with contact against an external body, leading to a partial separation of the belt from the carcass in the two affected areas.”
Of course it wouldn’t be the first time that an “external body” has been blamed for high-profile tyre failures at Silverstone. The 2013 British Grand Prix saw four different drivers all suffer tyre failures during the race, including then-McLaren Honda Formula 1 Team driver Sergio Perez.
Perez’s tyre exploded as he travelled along the Hangar Straight, with the carcass of the tyre just inches away from hitting then-Scuderia Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso. It was the kerbs that were blamed at the time and, though not explicitly mentioned, it seems the kerbs are being blamed again.
Pirelli have said that, although they’ve carried out tests on other tyres used by other frontrunning teams, they’ve found no issue with either competitors’ tyres or Raikkonen’s tyre, and said that the issue wasn’t caused by their tyre or how it was used.
“A number of detailed tests have since been carried out, both destructive and nondestructive, on other tyres used by frontrunners at the British Grand Prix with a similar or bigger distance on them compared to the set used by Raikkonen (for 25 laps).
“On no occasion was there any sign of fatigue, detachment or laceration – or even the beginning of such problems – that affected the structure of the tyre.
“In conclusion, Pirelli can confirm that no issues have emerged connected with the tyre itself.”