Pirelli played down fears of another tire fiasco at the Belgian Grand Prix despite the punctures suffered by Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso on Friday.
The problems encountered by the Red Bull and Ferrari drivers prompted concerns about a potential repeat of what happened at the British Grand Pri, when a series of blowouts marred the race and prompted Pirelli to revert to last year’s construction from Hungary. But initial inspection of the two tires by Pirelli suggests that the punctures were caused not by failures but by debris cutting the tires.
Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery said his engineers were planning a detailed inspection of the track from the Fagnes chicane to the Paul Frere corner where the problems were encountered.
“It looks on the Red Bull as though something has been rubbing on the surface and then has just cut through the surface,” explained Hembery. “On the Ferrari, there are two quite clear holes through the top of the tread, so we have to go and look at the track later to go and see what is between Turns 13 and 15.”
“We have seen a lot of signs on other tires, small surface cuts, so there is clearly something. But I cannot tell you what it is other than it is from external sources. [On the Red Bull] something has got caught up between the floor and the tire.”
When asked if there were worries F1 could be headed for a repeat of what happened at Silverstone, Hembery said: “No. It’s completely different.”
However, Hembery did concede that the situation was not ideal because Pirelli needed to find answers as to what was happening.
“It is a worry for the sport, because we have to go out and find what it is,” he said. “There is not a lot we can do, but we will try our very best to identify it to give us an indication of what is causing it.”