New bonding process didn’t cause failures – Pirelli

2013 British Grand Prix

Posted on

| Written by

Pirelli believe the changes made to how their tyres are bonded to the wheels did not cause the series of tyre explosions seen during the British Grand Prix.

The changes to the bonding procedure were made ahead of this weekend’s race to reduce the possibility of tyres delaminating as had occurred earlier in the season. Pirelli made the change after failing to gain support from teams for a more comprehensive change to the tyres.

Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery said: “There have obviously been some issues with rear-left tyre failures which we have not seen before.”

“We are taking the situation very seriously and we are currently investigating all tyres to determine the cause as soon as possible, ahead of the next Grand Prix in Germany. At the moment, we can’t really say much more until we have fully investigated and analysed all of these incidents, which is our top priority.

“However, we can exclude that the new bonding process, which we introduced at this race, is at cause for the tyre failures we have seen today.

“There might be some aspect to this circuit that impacts specifically on the latest version of our 2013 specification tyres but at this point we do not want to speculate but will now put together all the evidence to find out what happened and then take appropriate next steps should these be required.”

2013 British Grand Prix

Browse all 2013 British Grand Prix articles

Image © Red Bull/Getty

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

62 comments on “New bonding process didn’t cause failures – Pirelli”

  1. So they made changes to the bonding and then suddenly the tyres start delaminating, but that’s not a result of these changes?

    I agree with Brawn though, FIA/F1 is part to blame for this mess. Pirelli needs to be able to test these tyres under proper conditions. Obviously their simulations are useless, so realy life testing is needed.

    Why not give all the teams a test like Merc did (besides Merc themselves) and be done with it? Would put an end to all the whining too.

    1. Worked perfectly fine for 3 seasons, now suddenly it’s totally impossible for them to create functional tires? Rubbish.

      Pirelli not wanting to jump to conclusions about the tires, butitwasprobablythecirciuityouguys is a gutless move by them. Enough is enough.

      1. Lucas Wilson (@full-throttle-f1)
        30th June 2013, 18:27


        1. I don’t know but it’s really annoying !

        2. itconfusesthensamonitoringsystemdidntyouknow

    2. They are saying it was not dilamenation, rather the kerning. just read an article about this that a former F1 official is stating it was sharp piece of kerbing in turn 4 :

      1. Did someone sharpen it between last year and this year? I’m not saying that it doesn’t exist or that it isn’t getting cut at that spot, it’s just that Silverstone’s at a track that’s in use all of the time. It wasn’t an issue until today which came suspiciously close on the heels of a change in the bonding process. It’s the tire, and I don’t see any way to deny that at this point.

        1. I used to work at a racing circuit, and as part of the winter maintenence we would replace things like barriers, extend bits of run off in accident prone zones, replace sections of the kerbing, put in eco block run off in areas where people regularly cut corners and even make kerbs more harsh to deter corner cutting.

          So by these standards there is a very plausable chance the kerb is different to last year.

        2. Exactly. It just sounds like lame blame shifting to immediately come out and say its not their fault.

          How about Rosberg’s tyre that was delaminating? It was delaminating under the surface and he was lucky they could replace it before it exploded.

    3. I actually blame Lotus and every other team that vetoed the changes: due to this fact Pirelli were prevented from changing the constructions as they originally intended to. That has to be ignored now though – it’s in the interests of safety that these tyres get changed. There could’ve been a huge accident and personally I find it purely fortunate that nobody collided with a wall or another car.

      1. @Vettel1 totally agree ! So lucky today. The blow outs on hanger straight could have been tragic. A Webber style flip into the bridge or even a side on impact at those speeds could so easily be fatal. Not to mention steel and rubber hitting an open air cockpit at those speeds. Just read Whiting was close to throwing the red flags after Perez blow out. While I’m glad he didn’t ( as the last laps were great to watch) four blowouts is just not on, for once I wish there was a longer gap until the next race to try and sort this.

        1. @f190 well hopefully they have some decent tyre data in place from the Mercedes test!

          Seriously though, I would not have argued against a decision to throw in the towel from Whiting. That’s not a good way to go racing.

          1. @Vettel1

            Yeah not as Mich as Ferrari tho ! Haha I hear they have another Pirelli test planned for next week using an 2011 car with 2013 parts on.

            Yeah it would have been a sad way to end the race but when you put the drivers at that much risk it’s just not right.

    4. Just started de-laminating?

      erm……..You have been watching Formula 1 this season, yes?

    5. @patrickl No they changed the bonding agent and now the tyres aren’t de-laminating, they are not losing the tyre belt, in this GP the tyres lost the belt as well, one would say that the old agent was hiding a bigger problem, by failing in a way that the compound would let go first.

  2. Yes, Pirelli. We all believe you.

    ps: can FIA make a call to GoodYear or Bridgestone and ask for real racing tires? I think teams will even pay for their tires.

  3. I feel sorry for Paul Hembery and Pirelli.

    They come in when Bridgestone leave, offering to give the teams what they want by making highly degradable tyres – then teams, drivers and fans complain when the tyres turn out to be highly degradable.

    They don’t get much chance to have their tyres tested on representative 2013 cars outside of pre-season testing, except for a special provision that gives them 1,000km of testing – then they end up in trouble for taking advantage of that provision with Mercedes.

    They have issues with their tyres which they’ve constructed with minimal testing and so offer to introduce new, harder tyres to the teams – but the teams fail to agree unanimously on them being introduce and so Pirelli are forced to stick to the original spec tyres.

    Then, as a result of all of these restrictions on them, their tyres end up exploding at Silverstone – and they’re the only ones who seem to be having fingers pointed at them.

    Formula 1 couldn’t operate without Pirelli. They’re caught between a rock and a hard place. Their reputation is taking a massive beating because of a combination of issues that is only partly to do with them. I wouldn’t blame Paul Hembery if he feels pretty hard done by at the moment.

    1. @magnificent-geoffrey: I believe it is high time for Pirelli to say to both the FIA and all the teams that it alone will make the decisions on the tyres in the best interest of the sport (safety being the most important consideration). Pirelli should not have to satisfy the wishes of any one team/group of teams with regards to tyre compounds or the FIA’s meaningless directives of making races interesting at the cost of safety.

      1. You need to be very careful with this \approach though as it would be possible for a team to, erm, lets call it lobby, Pirelli for a certain development direction that suited them.

        1. Teams have already tried that. It didn’t work.

    2. I agree with that @magnificient-geoffrey

      I just hope they do find exactly what causes it, but also inform not just the FIA and the teams but also give some clarity to the fans about it afterwards.

    3. Couldn’t agree more. F1 has itself to blame. Pirelli came up with a solution and some teams declined. The FIA should just step in and make the decision the teams can’t seem to unianimously make.

    4. There is a very big difference between “highly degradable” which we asked for, and “fundamentally, structurally unsafe” which we’ve got.

      By pretending there wasn’t a safety issue and inventing imaginary debris over and over, Pirelli has brought this criticism on itself.

      1. @gweilo8888 – What imaginary debris? Didn’t you see Webber’s front wing after the contact with Grosjean? He would have been dropping bits and pieces of front wing right through Village, the Loop and Aintree – right around the place where the tyres were getting cut.

    5. Very sorry Pirrelli. It’s time you left the sport!

      1. I can’t imagine why they would want to stay anymore. I feel bad for Pirelli, I understand they’re in what seems to be a no-win situation, but I also wouldn’t be upset to see them go.

      2. There’s no other tyre company thats willing to take their spot lol

    6. More disinformation from the Pirelli apologists. The FOTA asked for higher tyre wear to produce at least two and no more than three tyre changes per race. This could have been done usind existing, tried and true tyre technologies by building traditional compound Bridgestone-type tyres and simply shaving down the tread depth to reduce tyre life (shaved tread tyres are commonplace in activities like gymkhana and autocross). But Pirelli thought they were cleverer than that. They decided they could create all manner of new tread compounds that would wear very rapidly but also would be faster than greased lightning. Except they weren’t so clever as they thought and what F1 got instead is tyres with an unpredictable and frequently changing performance window, the now infamous “performance cliff,” and that shed so much debris, teams are redesigning front wings to stop the clag getting stuck in its elements and inhibiting airflow (and downforce).

      This is not what F1 asked for. Pirelli decided all on their own that what F1 had asked for was too mundane, and that they should create something beyond what was asked for, something spectacular, something that would make F1 all about the Pirellis.

      Now Pirelli have what they wanted. F1 is all about them, but not in the way they had hoped. is reporting Pirelli secretly made changes to the tyres before Silverstone, without approval from the teams and wihout informing anyone of the changes.

  4. Gary Anderson’s argument is plausible. With the very sharp curb on turn 4

    1. This would be a valid argument if these kerbs had been introduced for this race but they’ve been there all along…

      1. Unlikely, That kurb has been there since 2010 & has not been modified in any way.

        If the kurb was a problem we would have seen cut tyres at the last 3 races on this layout & would be seeing cut tyres on cars in the other categories which race at Silverstone.

        This weekend we had 2 days of F1 practice, We had GP2, GP3 & The Porsche supercup category & in every session drivers were running over that kurb just as they have been since 2010.
        If that kurb was the problem then we woudl have been seeing a lot of cut tyres in every category over the weekend.

        I was also at the ELMS/WEC races at Silverstone a few months back & there were zero cut tyres or tyre failures & if you watch the footage from that race, They were all running over that kurb the same way F1 cars were today-

    2. Well if you look at who the victims were, I think Massa and Hamilton are known kerb-attackers. Not sure bout Perez but he seems aggressive enough. Vergne ??

      1. It wasn’t just Massa, Hamilton, Perez and Vergne though. They found that Vettel’s left rear was cut when they changed his tyres; Alonso’s right rear went at the corner before pit in when he was coming in anyway, and Gutierrez had a front one go.

    3. This could certainly be a contributing factor. It may simply be that today we saw a unique combination of high loads, high temperatures (for Silverstone), low tyre pressures and sharp kerbs. If that’s the case, Pirelli AND the teams AND the people at Silverstone should take steps to prevent it happening again.

    4. The track’s in use year round, and that would have been there last year. I’m not denying that the tires could have been cut there, but it doesn’t seem like the track’s fault to me since it’s in use year round. It seems to be an issue only for these specific tires on the weekend in which they were introduced.

      1. If that kerb is what caused the blow outs, then the drivers are to blame…. the track limits, like it or not, are the painted white lines. The kerbs are to protect the grass beyond the limits and are to deter drivers from cutting corners. Why else would they be hugely rippled and suspension destroyingly rough? They are designed to keep cars off them.

        1. Drivers are perfectly entitled to use the kurbs, They have been doing so for decades.
          There also allowed to put 2 wheels beyond the white line, 4 will get you a warning if you put 4 wheels off continuously you get a penalty.

          Given the kurbs at Silverstone are unchanged from past years & are the same as whats done at other circuits, The tyres should be capable of taking them without suffering damage.
          The fact that the 2013 tyres are more prone to suffering damage be it from kurbs or track debris is a Pirelli problem.

          Tracks should not have to spend a fortune changing kurbing just because Pirelli’s 2013 F1 tyres (that have been utterly rubbish all year) can’t withstand driving over a kurb.

  5. from a million miles away it looks like a flaw in the construction. Kerbs might have contributed to these failures since the forces are significantly higher when they use them, but you can’t blame the track for exploding tires – kerbs are part of the track.
    I wonder if we now see the steal belt rears they’ve been testing in the last 2 Friday sessions.

  6. I’m tired of all parties blaming the lack of testing is the cause of this. There is plenty of testing time, its called FP1/2. Pirelli over the last three years could bring prototype compounds to each GP and let teams run them on each FP1/2. That is what a extra hour of run time on Friday was designed to be about when in season testing bans were put in place. I would have went one further as teams carry spare chassis anyway and given them the option to run that 3rd chassis providing only a rookie driver was at the wheel. Rookies & tyre testing problem solved + more action for the fans on Friday.

    1. The problem is representative tire testing. Top tier drivers in current cars at suitable ambient/track temperature in race simulation. FP are used by teams to test parts, setup among other things and testing for Pirelli under their conditions may compromise a teams program for Sunday. Todays race was as good a test as we all want and it indicated that something has to be done to correct the tires blowing-out.

      1. @Wooolfy – Bad luck. If teams do not wish to test these prototype compounds on FFP then it just puts them behind teams that do. All teams run high fuel long runs on Friday anyway. It is a balancing act, compromise the current weekend for future gain.

  7. Let us wait for Pirelli’s analysis on this issue and the solutions they propose to resolve it.

    1. And then when they offer a solution we will sit back and watch as the teams squabble over they can go ahead with their plan.

  8. How about a new FIA rule…?

    Parties that own an FIA F1 Constructors License (so all teams) must build & donate a current spec car (complete turnkey) to the Tire Supplier prior to the start of preseason testing. Pirelli (or whatever the current tire supplier would be) will then run these cars with a Pirelli crew anytime they want to test (including having up to two of these cars on-track during FP1, FP2 & FP3), the drivers will mostly be various F1 reserve, GP2 & GP3 drivers however current F1 drivers may be randomly selected to test as well (under the condition that they not drive a car their team supplied nor would they be able to get into one of the Pirelli cars during FP1, 2 or 3).

    Sure it would cost the teams & Pirelli some money (teams building & donating a full race ready car, Pirelli having to drag them around to all tests & maintain them) but it would allow greater more accurate tire testing & development especially when the regulations for the cars don’t change much from year to year anymore.

    1. Seemed to work OK their first two years, with the Toyota, Renault and assorted out-of-work F1 drivers.

      I’m sure McLaren and Williams would happily donate at least one 2013 car (complete turkey…) They could go back to racing their 2012 one.
      But why not allow struggling teams extra testing based on constructors’ championship position (like they used to allow a third car on Fridays around 2005)?

    2. For me, the best idea to kill the weed at it’s roots would be to have the compounds for next year finalised well before the season’s end. That way, should their be any problems during FP1 in testing them there is ample time to make changes (which couldn’t be vetoed as the rule preventing changes during a season obviously wouldn’t be in place).

  9. The worst part about this fiasco is how it overshadows how well Mercedes cheating worked out for them. Undeniable. Pathetic by FIA to just sit and do nothing (in the mercedes case, basically nothing) about these two situations.

    1. I think the punishment for Mercedes is fair currently. If the YDT gets ‘rained off’, then it will be massively unfair against the other teams.

      1. Of course it’s not. Current, proper, and good racer drivers is an immensly more reliable source of information. Comparing these two tests are just ridiculous. It’s not fair. And everyone knows it.

        1. Even though Mercedes don’t directly receive any data from the test? Where as at the YDT they would?

        2. Also don’t forget, Mercedes didn’t have any chance to test any upgrades or experiment with their setup…

    2. There’s not a doubt in my mind that Mercedes’ tire test contributed to their recent improvement in race pace. Keith even posted something earlier stating Merc were scoring 14.4 points per race before the test, as opposed to 33 points per race since; as far as I’m concerned, that’s pretty compelling evidence that they learned something from their time testing for Pirelli. I think the punishment was adequate, however. The top teams have been pushing the technical and political boundaries for years, and have all gotten their share of breaks from the FIA. This time, Brawn and Mercedes seem to have gotten one over on the FIA. I say good for them.

      1. @j-rva – You’re overlooking two key points: firstly, that Mercedes tested early designs of the 2014 tyres, which would have been of little benefit to this year. Secondly, Mercedes’ development schedule has seen them introduce new parts to the car in the time since the test. These are upgrades that would have been planned from the start of the season.

  10. Exile Pirelli from the sport/planet/universe?? Rubbish.

    Is it just me, or is it time for a tire war again? Seriously.

    1. Tyre War, Aero War, Engine War, Testing War…the lot.

      If there’s no competition….well…that’s called a Spec series.

      1. Which, ironically, have proven to be very competitive.

  11. Just one quick question.

    Can anyone name (without Google) another PR guy, or technical director..Actually..Anyone at all from a tyre supplier since you started watching F1? (so around 20 years for me.)

    I can’t.

    Says a lot. I shouldn’t even know this blokes name. I don’t want to know Paul Hembery’s name. I don’t want to have ever heard of Paul Hembery. Just make the tyres, or don’t, just shut up…it’s not about Pirelli, it’s about F1.

    If Pirelli feel the company is being portrayed negatively then leave. Trying to fix this the right way in the quagmire of political crap that is F1 will not, and evidently has not worked.

  12. It would be good to know how many tires were damagef in total for the whole week end? Not just the blown tires but also flat and damaged tires. I saw Adrian was watching Vettels damaged tire before his retirment.

    1. I was at the race at Vale. Alonso’s tyre also blew coming out of Stowe. Hasn’t been anything said about it I don’t think, but yeah…thats another one.

      1. That would explain why he was ninth at the second restart when he had been running fifth.

  13. Guess we will just have to wait for someone (driver, marshal or spectator) to get hurt before Pirelli will fix the problem (or be asked to leave).

Comments are closed.