By Alex Kapadia
The British Grand Prix was overshadowed by a worrying tyre controversy today after four drivers experienced major failures with the Pirelli rubber.
Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery said the tyre blow-outs were a previously unseen issue and he refused to be drawn on the nature of the problems until a full analysis was complete.
Sky Sports F1 is also reporting that the Italian tyre manufacturer has been summoned by the FIA to attend a meeting of the Sporting Committee ahead of next week’s German GP at the Nurburgring in wake of the tyre failures.
Hembery said: “There have obviously been some issues with rear-left tyre failures which we have not seen before. We are taking the situation very seriously and we are currently investigating all tyres to determine the cause as soon as possible, ahead of the next Grand Prix in Germany.
“At the moment, we can’t really say much more until we have fully investigated and analysed all of these incidents, which is our top priority. However, we can exclude that the new bonding process, which we introduced at this race, is at cause for the tyre failures we have seen today.
“There might be some aspect to this circuit that impacts specifically on the latest version of our 2013 specification tyres but at this point we do not want to speculate but will now put together all the evidence to find out what happened and then take appropriate next steps should these be required.”
Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg claimed victory during the Silverstone race, and the retirement of Red Bull racer Sebastian Vettel has injected much needed new life into the 2013 title battle.
But it was the performance of the Pirelli tyres that was the talking point at Silverstone. First polesitter Lewis Hamilton had his hopes of a second home victory dashed when his left-rear tyre spectacularly blew in a firework display of rubber as he came onto the Wellington Straight.
Ferrari’s Felipe Massa, Toro Rosso’s Jean-Eric Vergne and McLaren’s Sergio Perez, also experienced tyre failures throughout the remainder of the race.
McLaren managing director Jonathan Neale described the situation as “very concerning”, and added: “We have to ensure racing is safe. We can’t afford instantaneous failures like this.”