Pirelli will analyze the tire failures that occurred at the end of the British Grand Prix but suspects debris had a part to play in the dramatic conclusion.
Valtteri Bottas, Carlos Sainz and Lewis Hamilton all suffered punctures in the final three laps at Silverstone, with the first two dropping out of the points from second and fifth respectively. Hamilton managed to limp home on the final lap to secure victory on three wheels, and Pirelli motorsport boss Mario Isola says analysis will take place but notes a front wing failure for Kimi Raikkonen a few laps before could be a contributing factor.
“We are waiting for the tire from parc ferme, so we will investigate what happened in the last few laps,” Isola said. “It’s a bit early now to give you any conclusions — it could be high wear, because for sure tires with 38 laps or more on this circuit are quite worn, but I’m not saying wear is the cause of the issue.
“It can be debris because we had pieces of front wing from Kimi which were on track, but also some other debris. Which is why we want to investigate not only the tires with the failures but all the tires used in the last few laps of the race, to understand if we find any other cuts or any other possible indications of what happened.
“We have the possibility to do some analysis in our laboratories at the track. We don’t have a lot of time to investigate as we have another race in another week, so we have to come to a conclusion as soon as possible. The target is to have something more by Tuesday at the latest, so that is the plan — we will continue our investigation later today and tomorrow. If there is the need to run a test that isn’t possible to do at the track, we will send the tire on our van to Milan.”
F1 races at Silverstone again next weekend using softer tire compounds — necessitating the need for a quick investigation — but with many teams trying to reach the end of the race after making an early pit stop under the safety car, Isola says the tires were automatically less robust in the closing laps.
“I’m confident we can have some good indication from the laboratories we have here on track. The level of wear is quite high, this is a fact. Looking at the tire from (Romain) Grosjean from the first stint, it was completely worn. I had a look at some tires from the second stint, and the level of wear is close to 100%, so we have to understand if this is the cause of the failure.
“What is clear is that when you have a tire that is completely worn, the protection on the tread is less so if there is a small piece of debris on track, it’s easy to damage the tire. Some chords are visible on the tire, so that’s why I’m saying the level of wear is close to 100%.”
Isola says if it is simply tire wear that caused the failures then reversing the decision to run softer compounds in next weekend’s race will not be the answer.
“There are a number of question marks at the moment, depending on the cause of the issue. We have to react accordingly.
“Each tire has a maximum number of laps, which depends on each car, it depends on setup, level of energy — which is why we cannot say that the limit is the same for everybody — but if the issue is the wear, we don’t fix it with changing to the same compound choice today. We don’t have a harder one; we don’t have any tire which is able to run the entire distance of the race in Silverstone, so we can’t go one step harder.”