Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Spa-Francorchamps, 2013

Alonso doubts tyre failures point to Silverstone repeat

2013 Belgian Grand Prix

Posted on

| Written by

Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Spa-Francorchamps, 2013Fernando Alonso does not think the tyre failures seen during practice at Spa-Francorchamps today indicate F1 is heading for a repeat of the spate of punctures seen during the British Grand Prix.

A puncture was discovered on one of Alonso’s tyres which occured during an in-lap.

Sebastian Vettel also suffered a puncture during the session and there were questions over whether Giedo van der Garde’s crash was caused by a tyre failure.

Alonso suspects the failures may be coincidental and not the sign of an underlying problem but stressed it is important to find out “what happened to the Caterham, to Vettel and also to me on my in-lap”.

“I don?t think it?s a similar problem to what we saw in Silverstone, maybe more of a random set of circumstances, but all the same, it needs careful analysis.”

Vettel said he doesn’t know what caused his puncture. “We lost the rear right, very suddenly, so we need to have a look.?ǣ Pirelli is working on finding out why it happened.”

Following the Silverstone punctures Pirelli revised its tyres for the following race in Germany, where the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association threatened to boycott the race if there were any further failures.

The race passed without incident, and further new tyres were introduced for the following race in Hungary where there was also no similar problems. Spa is one of the most demanding tracks for tyres on the calendar.

2013 Belgian Grand Prix

Browse all 2013 Belgian Grand Prix articles

Image ?? Ferrari/Ercole Colombo

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.

24 comments on “Alonso doubts tyre failures point to Silverstone repeat”

  1. I don’t like the idea of drivers getting punctures going into Blanchimont or Eau Rouge.

    The drivers should agree beforehand to go back into the pits if there’s a repeat of what happened at Silverstone.

    1. OmarR-Pepper (@)
      23rd August 2013, 17:49


    2. Agreed – Charlie should take the initiative though and red flag it. I really hope that it doesn’t descend into another farce though, as Spa is particularly dangerous (failure halfway through Eau Rouge would lead to an absolutely massive accident).

  2. Michael Brown (@)
    23rd August 2013, 18:08

    Oh Pirelli…

  3. Just been told that several other tyres that were close to failure due to ‘signs of damage’, All Right Rear’s.

    No such problems on any of the GP2 & GP3 cars.

    1. Where did you get that?

    2. Hm … @gt-racer

      I just read an article where Pirelli stated that for Vettel the puncture was caused by something lodged in between the floor and the tyre and for Alonso it was debris as well, citing its therefore external influences …
      Sounds eerily similar to what we had at Silverstone. Not good.

      1. @bascb – Perhaps the issue could be avoided if the drivers don’t drive over debris.

        1. It’s a bit difficult to spot debris at 160mph though :-P

        2. yeah, they should just look carefully where they are going right. Avoid debris, avoid the kerbing and everything is ok :-(

  4. Frack you, Pirelli. This will ruin a race on a spectacular circuit…

    1. The punctures were caused by debris. Unless the tyres are solid rubber, there’s nothing that can be done to prevent punctures.

    2. @shrieker – Yes, this is obviously Pirelli’s fault. They designed tyres that were not used properly by the teams and predictably failed. Despite not having done anything wrong, they went back and re-designed the tyres specifically to avoid failures and have clearly done such a poor job that the tyres are now doing the one thing that they were designed not to do.

      1. Michael Brown (@)
        24th August 2013, 22:28

        I guess the drivers were pushing too hard

  5. There have been a number of tyre failures in FP2 with some striking similarities to Silverstone, so obviously the tyre issues have not been eliminated yet – let’s first make that clear. In a way, I think we’re very lucky that the latest issues with the tyres become apparent in a weekend where it’s not very likely we will see much dry running anyway.

    So what we need from Pirelli is a good analysis, and not the “oh it’s the kerbstones” “oh, it’s just debris” type of analysis. The ‘don’t swap’ rule and camber restrictions certainly haven’t helped, so why it keeps happening despite the changes and what can be done to make it safer should be key questions now.

    We should also realize Pirelli isn’t the main culprit here: it’s the rules that make it impossible for them to design the tyres properly. The FIA should closely study why the tyre situation in 2013 got so out of hand and issue some changes for 2014 to make sure things like this won’t happen again.

    And finally, the drivers shouldn’t be scared to make a hard statement. There are rumours on Twitter that Sutil wants a document from the FIA that guarantees him the tyres are safe to race, which I personally think is a fantastic statement. The problem is of course that unlike most drivers, Sutil’s not part of the GPDA – if others want to make a statement, there needs to be consensus first.

    Apologies for wasting your time on my thoughts, because obviously this thing will blow over. Which is worrying, because it means all problems will be postponed to the next time it comes up.

    1. Clearly a lack of in-season testing nowadays has partly culminated in this like you alluded to @andae23, Pirelli can only work within their limits, which are very small plus I think since the YDT/Tyre test at Silverstone, it’s been difficult for Pirelli to determine whether the changes have worked, Nurburgring and the Hungaroring don’t place the loads on tyres high-speed tracks like Silverstone and Spa do (I’d still be very skeptical when we get to Monza and later Suzuka even should nothing meaningful be done) and FP1 being mixed conditions masked it all further because the cars were going slow. Perhaps the testing proposed for the new engines in January next pre-season should also incorporate the 2014 tyres.

      If there’s a positive in all of this for the sport, it’s the fact that Vettel, Webber, Hamilton, Button and Alonso are the ones said to be mainly concerned, it’s good to see the front-runners/ex world champions being the leaders; gives the GPDA, which it’s significance has been questioned from time to time, credibility.

    2. I have read another report that does infact point to debris damage. Vettels tyre apparently looks like something was rubbing on the tyre wall which eventually cut through, and Alonso’s tyre has two holes in the top which caused it to deflate. Apparently other tyres have been found with cuts in them.
      So indicationas are the tyres have not failed due to delamination, but more typical debris damage.

      1. @theoddkiwi Yeah, the problem with that is that I’m a bit sceptical after the Silverstone blow-outs were blamed on the sharp edges on kerbstones. I would like to believe that, but it just seems like another rash conclusion.

        1. I guess the big difference is this has happened during practice so pirelli can investigate the reasons properly and advise any changes if required prior to the race. At Silverstone Pirelli was having to try to work things out on the fly while the race was underway.
          Alonso’s tyre was peirced by something external and it went flat rather than falling apart spontaneously.

        2. @andae23 – The problems in Silverstone were not caused by sharp kerbs. The problems in Silverstone were caused by the teams deliberately running unusual setting on the cars that subjected them to forces they were not designed to withstand which weakened their structural integrity so much that they were torn apart by the kerbs. If the tyres had been used properly, the kerbs would not have been an issue.

  6. This is unacceptable. Pirelli have reverted to a construction method that has helped some teams and hampered others, and it hasn’t even fixed the problem? I hope these are coincidental, because I am getting sooooo bloody sick of the current formula calling for stupidly fragile tyres. I like pit stop strategy, but I would prefer the tyres to be safe! Before pirelli, as the tyres were wearing, it was a progressive thing you could feel. According to Michael schumacher, you could feel the grip getting less and less, progressively, over time, and you could plan your strategy on the fly, knowing how much grip to expect from the tyres as they wore. Now its maximum grip for a few laps, decreasing grip for a few laps, and all of a sudden, the grip is gone, and it seems to affect different cars in extremely different ways, and any heavy loads on the tyres puts them at huge risk of failure. These tyres were meant to make racing closer, clearly that hasn’t happened, its made the racing **** in a lot of races over the last few years, and only seems to be getting worse

    1. The failures were caused by a chunk of metal punching holes. Unless you make the tyres solid, there’s nothing that can be done.

Comments are closed.