Pirelli launch ‘360 degree’ tyre investigation

Michelle Foster
Lewis Hamilton tyre failure British GP Pirelli.jpg

Pirelli downplay risk of softer tyres for 70th Anniversary GP.

With three drivers suffering tyre failures in the final two laps of the British GP, Pirelli will “analyse everything 360 degrees”.

Heading into the penultimate lap of Sunday’s British Grand Prix, Valtteri Bottas suffered a front left tyre failure, forcing him to pit and robbing him of second place.

One lap later, on the very last lap of the grand prix, his team-mate Lewis Hamilton had a similar failure as too did the McLaren of Carlos Sainz.

But while Hamilton still somehow held on to win the grand prix, both Sainz and Bottas finished outside the points.

Pirelli has already began investigation the failures.

The company’s F1 boss Mario Isola says at present Pirelli don’t know if it was “high wear” with many drivers doing some 38 laps on a set of hard tyres or whether debris from Kimi Raikkonen breaking his front wing left shards on the track.

“We will obviously investigate what happened in the last few laps,” Isola told Motorsport.com.

“It’s a bit early now to give you any conclusion. It could be high wear, because for sure tyres with 38 laps or more on this circuit are quite worn, but I’m not saying that the wear is the cause of the issue.

“It can be debris, because we had the pieces of the front wing of Kimi that were on track, but also some other debris.

“So that’s why we want to investigate not only the tyres with a failure, but all the tyres used in the last few laps of the race, to understand if we find any other cut or any other possible indication on what happened.

“We don’t want to exclude anything, we want to analyse everything 360 degrees and avoid excluding any possibility because it’s a big mistake when you make these kinds of investigations.

“We have to consider all the possibilities.

“What we can do is to analyse the tyres from the race to understand if there is anything in the construction that was subject to excessive stress, or whatever, but this is one of the investigations.”

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Isola revealed that the level of wear on some of the tyres that Pirelli looked during Sunday’s race was almost “100 percent” which could have played a role in the failures.

He added: “The level of wear is quite high, this is a factor, looking at the tyre from [Romain] Grosjean in the first stint, it was completely worn, and I had a look at some tyres coming also from the second stint, and the level of wear is close to 100 percent.

“Then we have to understand if this is the cause of the failures or not. What is clear is that when you have a tyre that is completely worn the protection of the tread on the construction is less.

“So if there is any debris, any small piece of carbon on track, it is easier to damage the tyre, because you don’t have any rubber on the tyre that is protecting the cord, and some cords are visible on the tyres.

“So that’s why I’m saying that the level of wear is close to 100 percent.”

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