Pirelli reveal cause of British GP tyre failures

Date published: August 4 2020

Carlos Sainz PA

Pirelli have revealed that the “biggest forces ever seen” put on to their tyres caused the series of late failures at the British GP.

A rather dull British Grand Prix received a late entertainment boost when Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas was the first to suffer a tyre failure in the closing stages.

The same also happened to Carlos Sainz, dumping him out of the points, whilst race leader Lewis Hamilton also saw his Pirelli rubber quit on him, though he was able to crawl around the final lap on three wheels and still take victory ahead of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.

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Unsurprisingly there were detailed investigations into why the failures happened, and Pirelli have concluded that the forces applied on the tyres over extremely long stints was simply too much for them to handle.

In an official press release they wrote: “Pirelli has concluded its initial analysis on a number of tyres that were run at the British Grand Prix last weekend. This allowed to identify the cause of the failures followed by deflations that affected both Mercedes and the McLaren of Carlos Sainz.

“The key reason is down to a set of individual race circumstances that led to an extremely long use of the second set of tyres. The second safety car period prompted nearly all the teams to anticipate their planned pit stop and so carry out a particularly long final stint: around 40 laps, which is more than three-quarters the total race length on one of the most demanding tracks of the calendar.

“Combined with the notably increased pace of the 2020 Formula 1 cars (pole position was 1.2 seconds faster compared to 2019) this made the final laps of the British Grand Prix especially tough, as a consequence of the biggest forces ever seen on tyres generated by the fastest Formula 1 cars in history.

“The overall result was the most challenging operating conditions for tyres. These led to the front-left tyre (which is well-known for working hardest at Silverstone) being placed under maximum stress after a very high number of laps, with the resulting high wear meaning that it was less protected from the extreme forces in play.

“For the second race at Silverstone this weekend, Pirelli confirms the nominated compounds: C2, C3, and C4, being one step softer than those seen at the last GP.

“Also the usage prescription will be reviewed, increasing the minimum tyre pressures to reduce the stress on the construction.”

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