Martin Whitmarsh believes Lewis Hamilton's penultimate-lap blow-out during the Spanish GP was the consequence of debris rather than a tired tyre.
Hamilton had seemed poised to confound the pre-race expectation of a walkover by splitting the two Red Bulls by taking second when he crashed out with a front-left puncture with just two laps remaining.
Insult is likely to be added to injury by the suggestion that Hamilton was the architect of his own downfall. The Englishman is considered to be particularly demanding on his tyres because of his aggressive driving style and his tyre blew after almost fifty lap of pounding.
However, Whitmarsh's initial judgement was that Hamilton had simply been waylaid by bad luck.
"It's always difficult to say without a full examination but it was probably caused by debris in the rim causing a deflation. There were a lot of things going on today on the track.
"We were monitoring the tyres during the race and they were in good shape."
Hamilton himself was understandably disappointed after being denied an outstanding result that would have propelled him into second place in the standings.
"It was quite a good race for me. I had really good fun out there," he said.
"It's nice to take a step forward and split the Red Bulls, which would have been perfect for the team. But these things happen.
"I don't know what it was. I guess we'll find out, but there's many more races to go.
"I was just cruising to the finish line and it was great points for me, but then I blew a tyre. That's motor-racing."