Mario Isola says Pirelli Motorsport will look deeply into the incidents during the Azerbaijan Grand Prix on Sunday that saw both Lance Stroll and Max Verstappen retire following high-speed tyre failures.
Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team’s Stroll suffered a left-rear tyre failure on the start-finish straight on lap thirty-one that saw him pitched into the wall, an incident that brought out the safety car.
However, Verstappen’s own tyre failure late on, also on the straight approaching the finish line, cost the Red Bull Racing driver the race win having dominated up until then. And it began finger pointing at Pirelli from the fans, with many saying the tyres were dangerous.
But despite the backlash, Isola believes external sources could have caused both punctures, particularly as other tyres of similar age were not showing any signs of failure and other tyres, such as those seen on Lewis Hamilton’s car, were cut as though the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team driver had run over some debris.
“We need to clearly establish the facts behind the incidents involving Lance Stroll and Max Verstappen to fully understand what happened,” said Isola, the Head of F1 and Car Racing at Pirelli. “What we can say for now is that there was also a cut found on Hamilton’s tyre and that it’s the rear-right tyre that actually works harder than the rear-left here.
“No warnings or vibrations were detected and none of the other tyres of a similar age or older showed any signs of excess wear. So we can not exclude that the damage was caused by an external factor, although these things shouldn’t happen and we can understand the need for answers.”