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Wednesday, 03 July 2013 18:28

Who is to blame for the F1 tyre debacle

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In the search for more exciting, entertaining and spectacular Formula One racing, the FIA instructed Pirelli to modify the tyres to ensure more care would have to be taken and racing would become less about speed and more about strategy.

However, from the start of the season, tyres have now become the center of Formula One racing as we know it, and issues with tyres have come to a head with the series of blow outs during the British Grand Prix. There were a record six instances at Silverstone where tyres exploded, deflated or blew, Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes suffering the most as he was on course to win the British GP only to see his left rear explode on lap eight. A huge disappointment for sports betting punters hoping on a British win.

As a result of the poor show in the last Grand Prix, teams and drivers openly admitting their trepidation on using the tyres in their current form, Pirelli has had to investigate and provide feedback on why the tyres are performing in such a poor manner and how it can be resolved in time for the German Grand Prix. The findings were quite interesting, and seems to point the finger at the racing teams and the ways they have tried to improve the endurance of the tyres.

The main reasons listed by Pirelli were teams mounting the rear tyres the wrong way round, not having the right tyre pressure, using extreme cambers (which refers to the angle at which the wheel is mounted on the suspension) and even including the ‘high kerbs’ at Silverstone. However, on closer examination of these reasons, it can be argued that the tyre manufacturer is still at fault.

Firstly, it was common knowledge that rear tyres were being mounted on opposite sides to manage tyre performance. Pirelli was well aware of this and even admitted that they ‘underestimated’ the adverse effects and the company at no stage in the season said not to do this. The comment on Silverstone’s high kerbs sounds ludicrous, as the kerbs have always remained the same and in line with every other set of kerbs on all the other race tracks, so to me that makes no sense. The factor that does have some merit is to do with the cambers, and there will be further reviews on this.

On the whole, one would have to admit that the root cause seems to point to the tyre make up and there is no doubt that changes from Pirelli have definitely adversely affected the tryes and led to safety issues for both the car and driver. In the short term, they have now introduced a new set of tyres for the German GP and will looking to develop yet another set for the Hungarian GP. Let’s just hope Pirelli gets it right sooner rather than later.