F1 seeks explanation for tyre failures

Drivers hint at boycotting next weekend’s race in Germany.


Reuters July 01, 2013
Reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel was forced to exit the race after his car faced tyre issues as well. PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON: Formula One searched for answers yesterday after headline-grabbing British Grand Prix tyre blowouts plunged the sport into crisis and triggered talk of a possible driver boycott in Germany next weekend.

Tyre supplier Pirelli, who have faced criticism from some teams since the start of the season, began an immediate investigation after four drivers suffered rear-left tyre failures at Silverstone.

Ferrari’s Brazilian Felipe Massa, who was almost killed by debris shed from a car in front of him at the 2009 Hungarian Grand Prix, would not rule out drivers considering a boycott if solutions were not in place for Sunday’s race at the Nuerburgring.

“I don’t want to say that [drivers would walk out] because I don’t want to create loads of problems but this is something that for our safety we can do,” he told reporters after he experienced one of the blowouts.

McLaren’s Sergio Perez, another victim of the exploding tyres, said drivers were risking their lives and needed assurances.

“If something like this happens again, we don’t want one of us to be killed,” he said.

Australian Mark Webber, second for Red Bull in the race, said it had been like Russian Roulette and he had been praying for a safety car because nobody knew who would be next.

Perez’s team principal Martin Whitmarsh warned that driver action could not be ruled out.

“I think there’s that danger [of a boycott] and rightly so,” said Whitmarsh.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 2nd, 2013.

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