Crisis over F1 tyre safety
Severe tyre blowouts suffered by four drivers at last weekend’s Silverstone GP have left drivers and teams concerned over the safety of the sport.
Silverstone is known as a particularly demanding circuit that’s tough on tyres, but tyre failures are amongst some of the most lethal car failures for F1 drivers.
Lewis Hamilton has called for action to be taken after the tyre failures, which he’s described as ‘unacceptable’, and 13-time Grand Prix winner, David Coulthard, has taken a similar stance, calling the tyre failures ‘driver killers’.
Pirelli has issued a statement which attributes the failure of the tyres to the practices of the F1 teams themselves.
In order to better manage tyre wear and limit pit stops, teams have been removing worn tyres and later mounting them on the opposite side of the car.
This, Pirellis has said, is largely responsible for the blowouts, which only occurred on cars with tyres fitted on the opposite side.
Despite this, Pirelli will be making changes ahead of next week’s race at the Nurburgring, changing the internal belt – which is usually made from steel – to Kevlar.
The fear over the safety of the tyres occurs just two weeks after Pirelli and Mercedes sparked controversy for their mid-season tyre testing, after Red Bull and Ferrari racing teams brought the legality of the tyre development into question.
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