Pirelli said the tire failures that occurred during last weekend’s British Grand Prix were due to excessive wear as teams tried to do the race on one stop, and the tiremaker won’t change its plans to provide softer compounds for the next race at Silverstone.
Lewis Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas and Carlos Sainz (photo above) all suffered punctures in the closing stages of Sunday’s race, with all three having been running for nearly 40 laps on the hard compound tire at that point.
After extensive analysis, Pirelli said the combination of such a long stint at a track that puts significant stress through the tire meant they were more susceptible to failures.
“The key reason is down to a set of individual race circumstances that led to an extremely long use of the second set of tires,” a Pirelli statement read. “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 tires generated by the fastest Formula 1 cars in history.
“The overall result was the most challenging operating conditions for tires. These led to the front-left tire (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.”
Pirelli motorsport boss Mario Isola said Nicholas Latifi had a similar puncture and his front left was losing pressure when he returned to the pits at the end of the race, while debris on track also caused a number of cuts.
The Italian manufacturer will stick with its original plan to use softer compounds when the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix takes place at Silverstone this weekend, but adds that “the usage prescription will be reviewed, increasing the minimum tire pressures to reduce the stress on the construction.”
While the analysis covered the late failures that were seen on the front tires, Isola said Daniil Kvyat suffered a different issue with his right-rear tire early in the race that will need further analysis in Milan.
“The reason why we send the tire to Milan is because we want to assess exactly what happened to (it),” Isola said. “Preliminary investigations seem to take us to the idea of a slow puncture; but because we are not sure about (that), we will send the tire to Milan.
“The tire is not in great condition as you can imagine; it’s quite destroyed. But thanks to our laboratories and the possibility to do not only microscopic analysis but also sectional and go inside the elements of the tire, with a more careful analysis I’m confident that we can find the reason.
“But I’m not 100 percent sure that it was a tire failure; that’s an important thing to explain. The tire is broken, for sure. We have to understand — we have to be 100% sure what happened, and that is why the tire is traveling to Milan.”