Safety of 2014 tyres “not in question” – Pirelli

2014 F1 season

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Pirelli has moved to assuage concerns over its tyres after Nico Rosberg suffered a high-speed failure during testing in Bahrain.

Rosberg posted on Twitter this morning that he had “spun at full speed 320kph on Bahrain straight [because] my tyre blew up without warning”. The Tweet was deleted shortly afterwards.

Pirelli later put out a statement saying “the safety of the tyres which will be supplied for the next Championship is not in question”.

“This morning Nico Rosberg’s Mercedes was fitted with one of these prototypes, a tyre which had only been tested in the laboratory and which will not be proposed again,” it added.

“The accident which happened to Rosberg’s car is being investigated and the findings will be communicated to the FIA and the teams.”

Mercedes were one of four teams testing development compounds for 2014 in Bahrain along with Ferrari, Red Bull and Toro Rosso.

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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...

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88 comments on “Safety of 2014 tyres “not in question” – Pirelli”

  1. Then why conduct a test? Looks like the tyres were not up to the task yet and need to be worked on. Just take your loss and move on. Just annoys me to see them denying there’s something wrong when a tyre just blew up on a straight. It’s not an “incident”, we’ve seen plenty of exploding tyres the past season.

    1. Now let us think about it @roald, why would they test a tyre they have been able to produce based on models? Isn’t this exactly the reason WHY those tyres need testing on track with a halfway relevant car to be able to tell whether the tyres will hold?

      1. Clearly Pirelli have no experience building tyres that don’t blow up.

        Will they ever get this right?

        1. Nearly 150 years in the business says otherwise…

    2. For exactly this reason.

      One would think it is rather obvious. The alternative is for the tyres to blow up in Australia. The reason they are testing is to find faults like this and prevent them…

    3. Completely agree with @bascb and @strontium; I’d much rather now that in Australia.

    4. the most concerning thing is that such tests and experimentation can cause tragic accidents at 320kph!!! i dont think pirelli should experiment with such ****** tyres when they could cost a driver serious injuries or even death…

      1. So how do you propose they test the tyres? Magic incantation?

    5. They have to conduct the tests…or these blowouts will happen in races. So I don’t agree with you on that point.
      However, I will say that Pirelli’s constant denial of problems rather than just acknowledging them and saying they will work to fix them causes me to have ZERO confidence in them. If they won’t acknowledge a problem then it won’t get fixed. And I know this is PR for the rest of us, but judging by the RESULTS so far, it seems this denial extends to their internal approach as well.

      1. Pirelli have denied nothing. If you actually read what they said, it’s a simple statement of fact and an expression of confidence they’ll get it right.

        Quite frankly, I’m sick of seeing this constant bitching every time one Pirelli fails, no matter the reason. Tyres fail, especially prototype tyres. Get over it.

        1. While I have no big concern over this tire exploding, I think it is a bit understandable, even if misplaced in this particular incident, to be on the lookout at what direction Pirelli/F1 go with tires given their past year’s performance and unfortunate mid- season necessary change. F1 put a lot in Pirelli’s lap in terms of creating the show, with very little testing, and between the two of them (F1 with it’s mandate and testing regs, Pirelli pushing the envelope) they failed to make proper tires for the full season. That puts them both on the radar imho in terms of how the racing gets manipulated, and I hope this is not just the beginning of a new addiction of F1’s when they could provide far more stable tires and reduce aero to much better effect.

          We know the rear tires need to be beefier to handle the torque, and Pirelli had said that tires wouldn’t need to make up the story of F1 next year since the major regs changes should shake things up on their own. But that doesn’t mean Pirelli has been asked to make rock solid tires either, and I for one sure hope the drivers aren’t yet again just passengers monitoring tire temps until they are told they can push, and I sure hope they don’t need changing mid-season.

          I doubt there will be any major problems next year unless the teams use the tires incorrectly, and I hope that once the teams settle in to the new format they don’t go back to putting the drivers on banana peels with a couple of good laps in them followed by delta time conservation.

    6. @roald The FIA and Pirelli have also told the press that they won’t bring untested tyres to the track meaning no more laboratory tyres.

  2. if we see more tyre issues through 2014 then pirelli should be shown the door.

    i cannot ever remember any other time in f1′s history where we saw so many tyre problems over a season.

    i get what pirelli were asked to do, however they have clearly gone too far & are making tyres which are too fragile & deserve all the bad publicity they get.

    if we see the same issues in 2014 then what excuse will pirelli give us then considering they are getting extra testing now?

    1. You’ve not been watching F1 very long have you?

      Remember 2005, when the rules required tyres to last an entire race?

      Remember the 2005 US GP?

      1. Yes but those problems were only due to specific circumstances at 1 racetrack (the banking) & not a continuous issue over the entire season.

        Throughout 2013 we had a big increase in the number of cuts & failures occurring when compared to the previous 2 years where pirelli was supplying tyres to f1.
        pirelli put many of these problems down to ‘debris’, so are we to believe that there was suddenly a massive increase in tyre cutting debris around the circuits in 2013?
        its more likely that the 2013 tyres were simply more prone to suffering damage from debris than previous tyres due to softer compounds, this is purely down to pirelli.

        1. @davey No, the sporting rules for 2005 required drivers to run the entire race on a single set of tyres. You saw pretty much the same driving as this Pirelli generation, with some drivers going hell for leather, others racing at half pace and cars slithering off the track at the end of the race, specifically if the tyre compound brought to the race was too hard.

          The main problem with the initial spec of 2013 tyre was not fundamentally the weakness or the construction – it was the teams being too clever for their own good. They found out during pre-season testing that the tyres were directional and could be run backwards to extend their life.

          Pirelli didn’t initially know (or didn’t have the gumption to tell the FIA) that this would crease the internal belt and fragment the tyre in stressful situations. This problem was begat by Pirelli having to develop new tyres consistently (to prevent teams fully understanding them) under a testing ban.

  3. According to the BBC sports day feed, Rosberg’s full tweet includes the line: ‘Thanks to that need to get some toilet paper now.’

    Nice to know these drivers are just as human as the rest of us!

    1. But we certainly cannot let a human say a tire blew up at speed. What next, all driver comments will have to be prescreened by PR folk behind the curtain??
      A tire blew up, a “so what?” on one level, that’s what a test is for, to discover such things. Pirelli do themselves more harm by trying to pull Rosberg’s tweet than just letting it be.

      1. Who said Pirelli tried to pull the tweet?

  4. Grow up Pirelli, and the teams, and stop being so damn secretive about everything. If only one piece of news is allowed to escape from the test, and it’s bad news, then you’ll have to deal with the bad publicity.

    1. +1

      But you know what they’ll do instead? Cell phone jammers at the track next time, and stricter firewalls on the hard wired connections.

    2. Completely with you there @bullfrog, instead of trying to keep things as secret as possible, why on earth couldn’t they just be open about it. Give news of miles made, numbers of solutions tested and heck, why not put up a live stream of it, or have a short debrief on the internet each day at least for all of us craving some F1!

      1. why not put up a live stream of it

        Wouldn’t be worth the cost of producing the feed.

        Thats always been the problem, Sending out the tv equipment & everything else you need to produce a broadcast is expensive & for the amount of viewers that would watch a test it just isn’t worth it.

        1. Yeah, I guess its a simple question of cost involved. But to have a daily brief it would be enough to have a camera in the media centre or something. Add in a slideshow of some pictures and it makes for a nice daily moment too.

    3. Although, when I see some of the reactions on the internet as well as here, maybe we shouldn’t be surprised that Pirelli wants to keep this test as low key as they can.

  5. There’s a big difference between tyres which wear quickly to provide interesting races, and tyres that explode. I hope that Pirelli know the difference, because it certainly didn’t look like it in 2013.

    1. @kingshark – Don’t forget that when the tyres were exploding at Silverstone, the teams were not using them properly. They were swapping the tyres over, putting the left-front on the right and vice versa. The FIA moved to make Pirelli’s recommendations for the proper use of tyres msndatory.

      1. After which, the number of tyre failures plummeted to near zero.

    2. @kingshark They are testing new interactive options with FIA … Some people said cars were now too reliable, and they fixed it. Now Pirelli can randomly provide explosive tyre to spice race a little bit. FIA wants to make F1 a show or not ?

      Joke apart, that’s quite ridiculous and I join some to the fact they should be more open on how information is given. This still looks like hidden testing where nobody really knows what’s going on and shortcut are easy from any news we receive …

  6. I just hope Pirelli don’t **** this up again, or it might start to put me off F1 (along with the absolutely ludicrous double points rule).

    1. In fact, on that note, since it’s an FIA rule does the double points situation also apply to the WEC?

      1. I understand the situation is that the double-points rule is F1 specific, in much the same way that DRS is (And the weird lights system is to WEC). However, WEC already have a double points race in Le Mans, don’t they?

        1. @keeleyobsessed
          The 24 Heures du Mans is a race that deserves to have double points.
          The Abhu Dhabi Grand Prix isn’t

          1. @cjpkd Are we going to start talking up which races ‘deserve to have double points’? The Abu Dhabi GP is not the specific race with double points, it’s the last race in the championship. That means it is Abu Dhabi this year, yes, but it could be Interlagos, Melbourne, Texas, Sochi, anywhere…

          2. @keeleyobsessed Le Mans is completely different. It is categorically more taxing than any other race in the championship, and most importantly is significantly longer. So yes, it does deserve double points, whereas Abu Dhabi (or for that matter any F1 race in its current format) does not. In a championship where all races are pretty much equal, the points should be equal. In the WEC not all races are equal, and the points reasonably reflect that.

    2. @vettel1

      I just hope Pirelli don’t **** this up again, or it might start to put me off F1

      Hear, hear!! I sure hope God has his ears open to this but then again, I hope he banishes Pirelli all together from F1.

  7. Obviously this isn’t good news for F1 now.
    Now that Rosberg had the tyre failure it’s the perfect time to Pirelli to take action on the situation. We’re 2 months away from the start of the season, enough for Pirelli to re-make their tyres.
    – On the other hand, Rosberg seriouly needs a toilet paper…

    1. 3 months ( a few days less)

      Why do they even want to investigate this? We all know that it’s caused by debry ;)

  8. I’m glad to see ROS is okay. I cannot find anywhere if he hit anything or if he just spun in the middle of the circuit or something.
    But I read that the teams will be testing “dozens” of different compounds/constructions, so my guess is that he maybe got the most fragile super soft compound… I do know that they’re supposed to be all kevlar-constructed for 2014.

  9. Pirelli: “This morning Nico Rosberg’s Mercedes was fitted with one of these prototypes, a tyre which had only been tested in the laboratory and which will not be proposed again,” it added.”

    this is a very nice political way of saying you don’t know what the hell you are doing. How many years in F1 do you need to not have a structural failure anymore? Seriously unacceptable!

    1. It makes you wonder if their bench testing facilities are up to the job. Kind of like Ferrari and their substandard windtunnel.

    2. Do you realise how silly you sound with such tinfoil theories?

      The tyres spec was unproven, they were tested them in the real world and they failed, so the design will be shelved.

      It’s a tyre test, not a car or driver test.

      1. +1

        Exactly. It’s a tyre test to find the window of operability, made all the more difficult because they’re testing with 2013 cars which are drastically different from next year’s car. Yes it’s unfortunate and dangerous when a tyre blows, but I’m pretty sure most racing drivers aren’t averse to a little risk.

      2. But Pirelli brought a tyre that cant handle a 2013 car, let alone a 2014.

        1. @austus Firstly, we don’t know *why* the tyre fragmented. We probably never will.

          Secondly, there’s likely very little to be gained information-wise on how the tyre behaves with the car – Next year’s cars will generate more torque than this year’s cars because of the turbo, but the engines will spin slower and the gearing is different.

          Pirelli just needed to get these tyres on a track to see what happens, full stop.

        2. @austus

          How many tyres did they bring that day? I can bet my life it was more than 1.
          How many tyres failed that day? 1. Of that amount, how many of those tyres have Pirelli said ‘Oh well, just keep it on the list for January’? Yep, that’s right. None.

          I would far rather these things happen in early testing where they can be investigated and acted upon then, rather than the issue we were presented with after Silverstone.

  10. Pirelli: Pirelli later put out a statement saying “the safety of the tyres which will be supplied for the next Championship is not in question”.

    Seriously? so you purposely put rosberg out on a tire that would explode? give up the ******** PR, these kind of statements do nothing good for Pirelli.

    1. @mpmark

      so you purposely put Rosberg out on a tire that would explode

      Of course they didn’t. How on earth have you leapt to that conclusion?

  11. Amazed at how many people are complaining about Pirelli for this.

    Pirelli make tyres which delaminate and fail (Silverstone). Fans in uproar (rightly) and Pirelli change tyres. Red Bull now start to win races on a week in, week out basis and the fans blame the change in the tyres.
    Now, Pirelli have managed to secure a multiple team test to work out which tyres to use for 2014 out of a number of different compounds and structures. 1 tyre fails and suddenly it’s Pirelli’s fault again. They were aware this might happen, that’s precisely why they ran the test. As long as they bin the design that failed (Which they said they were going to do) then there’s no reason to panic.

    Unfortunately, F1 ‘fans’ do not seem to appreciate this.

    1. Yes but does it not scare you that they are testing with a car with 4 times less torque then what those tires will eventually run on? I would think they are quite far off. If they are still guessing at this stage in their involvement in F1 it sure doesn’t make them look smart now does it…

      1. @mpmark

        Yes, that does scare me.
        However, it also scares me that people think that this one tyre should represent all of Pirelli’s work thus far (and indicate their work to come over the next month or so until the first test in January). If that was the case, why invite several teams over instead of just one?

        This was a tyre test. A tyre was tested. It failed. It will not be used again. Many other tyres were brought to this test which did not fail. They may be explored further and possibly used again, maybe even in Melbourne.

        1. I disagree with you, what you are saying is that its fare to have a tire blow out on a “driver” at high speed because they are testing the limit? what are they crash test dummies now? Do they build the chassis as weak as possible until it breaks while a driver is going at 300+km/h and then find their limit? This is nonsense, if he was hurt we’d have a different tone about this.
          Stress tests can be done in a controlled environment these days, why have it as being exceptable that its ok for a driver to crash at high speed?

          Would you get in a car if Pirelli told you, “now we don’t know if this tire will blow or not but we’ll find out once you hit high speeds ok?”. Would you still get in the car after that statement?

          Look, this is not the first time a tire has had a catastrophic failure, I don’t ever recall this level of blowouts happening with any other manufacturer so why give Pirelli a pat on the back and say its ok, when this is clearly not.

          1. ‘Ask a submarine captain how deep his sub really goes.’

            They don’t know until they try.

    2. @keeleyobsessed – Remember, the teams were not using the tyres properly at Silverstone. They were swapping them across the car to get more life out of them, which went against Pirelli’s advice.

      And it is not the first time this happened. At the 2011 Belgian Grand Prix, Red Bull discovered blistering on the inner edge if their tyres after qualifying, and asked the FIA for permission to change them. The FIA investigated and found Red Bull had been running camber settings outside Pirelli’s recommendations, and refused to let them change as the team had done the damage themselves. They also warned the teams not to use settings outside Pirelli’s recommendations.

      So when tyres started blowing up two years later and the teams are found to have been swapping the tyres around (something they had openly been doing for several races), I think it is enormously unfair to blame Pirelli. The teams brought the Silverstone failures on themselves.

      1. @prisoner-monkeys

        I remember the panic on the Belgium grid a few years ago, was certainly interesting. The point I’m trying to get across is that nothing came of that, neither qualifying or the race were actually disrupted. The blowouts at Silverstone were a pivotal moment in the race and the season and were unreasonable to expect halfway through. It ruined the fan’s enjoyment of the race (I certainly felt uneasy, memories of Indy ’05), hence why I believe the fans had a right to protest at that.

        In this example, it is a test. A tyre test, designed to test tyres which Pirelli are unsure about for 2014. Until January and the first test, this is the closest they can get to an accurate representation. If a tyre fails at this stage, it is obviously unfit for purpose and won’t get used again, which is precisely what Pirelli have said. To brand Pirelli as incompetent after taking the correct (or at least, best) form of action is ridiculous.

  12. According to the BBC

    Damage to Rosberg’s Mercedes caused by the spin and the tyre failure meant the team had to end its programme for the week.

    Does that mean Pirelli will pay for the damage?

    1. @timothykatz Nope… Just all part of motorsport

    2. They pay the whole test so I think they will pay the damage as well

  13. Ridiculous, Yes this is what testing is for, to iron out issues, but these aren’t issues, these are safety hazards.
    How on earth are tyres that can’t handle the torque put out by a 2013 spec car going to withstand that put out by a 2014 spec car.
    Pirelli should have been shown the door a LONG time ago.
    Bring back Bridgestone, safe reliable and durable.
    Call it boring, but I’d sooner watch the races of 2007-2010 than anything in the past 3 years.

    1. With such little information about the problem, you’re stabbing in the dark.

      The tyre could have failed due to stress, a design flaw, debris from the track or damage from a foreign object.

      We don’t know why the tyre failed, as a result, you cannot surmise it had anything to do with the car.

      1. I see where you are coming from.
        I just don’t understand why Formula 1 still relies on a tyre manufacturer that has tried and often failed at bringing more excitement into a sport that I feel had no issues in the first place.
        What on earth was wrong with durable and reliable tyres?

        1. Garion, I am with you 100% percent

          1. I’m glad someone is on my level.
            Sure there were boring races pre pirelli, but there are also pretty naff races now.
            I honestly can’t say there has been any improvement, if anything, all Pirelli has done is push the boundaries of tyre wear in order to FORCE drivers into saving tyres, lapping slower, falling off the cliff and giving people opportunity to pass in often inferior machinery.
            It’s all very artificial and F1 has been brought into dispute often through it.

        2. What on earth was wrong with durable and reliable tyres?

          Boring one strategy, one stop races.

          With the ban on refuelling, F1 stuck themselves into a corner strategy-wise. If they wanted the excitement of pit stops to remain in the show, and a glimmer of different strategies to remain viable, something had to be done.

          One has to understand that, in the absence of competition, the alternative to ‘strategy tyres’ is increasing the silly mandated pit stops from 1 (already bad enough) to 2, 3, or 7.

          But it all ultimately stems from the ban on refuelling, the cost benefits of which were more than welcome, and the silly rules needed to keep the show up be damned.

          1. The benefit of mandatory pit stops is that, theorically, drivers would push harder, instead of saving those round black things Pirelli calls tyres.

          2. @austus

            Clearly, you haven’t watched the silliness that is the modern DTM.

        3. I just don’t understand why Formula 1 still relies on a tyre manufacturer that has tried and often failed at bringing more excitement into a sport that I feel had no issues in the first place.

          Because a contract was signed with the remit that the manufacturer of the tyre had to bring a compound that would offer performance for a finite amount of time. Had Bridgestone, Michelin, Hankook, Dunlop or Continental taken up the contract, they’d have had to do the same thing, because that is what the FIA/FOM/whoever asked of them.

          Pirelli were the only supplier who entertained the contract despite knowing that it could harm their image – they jumped in because they wanted to show they could produce tyres quickly to meet a specific demand. In hind-sight, they probably wish, at board-level, that they’d never entertained it.

          1. This is all I wanted to know.
            Thanks for the insight!

    2. Bring back Bridgestone, safe reliable and durable.

      Yes, because Bridgestone tyres never fail…

  14. I have no idea what happened. I am not in Bahrain, do not work for Pirelli or any of the teams, and have no access to any data or physical evidence of the incident. I woke up this morning and read a headline.

    However, I can say with absolute certainty that this was Pirelli’s fault.

  15. Save those tires!! The governing body could use them for whoever is leading come the final race, in case the double-points trick is not timely enough.

  16. This could have been avoided.

    By having a transparent test.

  17. Although it is disappointing to see this crash happen, I think perspective is required when looking at the crash. It didn’t result in human injury and gives Pirelli a chance to learn something. That’s the whole point of a test. I have no problems with what happened as long as Pirelli acted responsibly building their tyre construction, and F1 as a sport continues to make efforts to continue to improve safety.

  18. It sounds pretty damn well that the safety of next year’s tyres are in question. I would say that was true even before today, what with their track record this year. The safety of their tyres will remain in question until they have had a very long run without failures. They haven’t had that yet.

  19. Can’t tell last time I saw a bridgestone tyre blow up!

  20. Oh dear oh me. Pirelli you suck big time. I wish you bad luck as 2014 hasn’t begun as it is 4 months away. Yet there are already failures on those Pirelli tyres as Nico got a Pirelli puncture. Talking about Australia I feel sorry for Aussie V8s after the TV deal as they may not feature at Albert Park anymore

  21. Pirelli along with DRS are the 2 worst things that has happened to F1 in the last 10 to 15 years. They are simply killing the sport. Sport? what am I talking about? WWE wresting.

  22. the only reason Pirelli are in the sport is because they are the only cheap manufacturer that would agree to manufacture tyres on the cheap and with cheap material so that Eclestone and CVC bottonline could be boosted. Eclestone is not ready to pay good tyre manufacturers like Bridgestone or Michelin hence they left the sport. I hope not until something tragic happens or someone get seriously injured before something is done about this tissue paper tyres

    1. BS.

      This has nothing to do with cost savings, and everything to do with Pirelli underestimating what putting their name on purposefully bad ‘strategy tyres’ could do to their image.

      Others were more concerned about that and elected not to compete for the F1 contract.

      1. You say this assertion is **? Then i suggest you go and do some research into the negotiations back before Pirelli came in. I am afraid you’d find that the financial package of Pirelli was the most lucrative one as far as F1 i.e. CVC and the teams were concerned. The team bosses are just as culpable as Eclestone on this current situation of tyres in F1. They agreed to it. I remember Whitmarsh was making all sorts of statements back then how Pirelli has the best package on the table as FOTA’s chairman

  23. Seems really odd that people are complaining about this being a problem. It was a Pirelli run test. Pushing the tires to the limit should have been part of the things they were testing. In this case, the tyre failed, which did provide useful information, DO NO USE THIS DESIGN. If it didn’t fail and it was used in the season and failed then, it would be bad bad news, like what happened earlier this year.

  24. Bored of this safety debate.

    What I find interesting is that Red Bull is sporting 2 teams in the tyre test. Talk about a change in preferential treatment from Ferrari to Red Bull

    1. Nothing to do with favouritism, all teams were invited, clearly, some were more interested in testing than others.

      I’m sure Ferrari could’ve incentivized Sauber to join them, had they considered the additional input valuable enough.

    2. @todfod Toro Rosso have existed since 2006. How does that mark a change in anything?

      1. Nothing new. But I wouldn’t expect a mid-field team with a limited budget to afford a test that is relatively less important… unless… their bank roll is covered by their big brother team

  25. If the test were to find the most raceworthy component from the supplier with respect to new regulation performance it would be of real interest.But it appears this supplier and it’s cheerleader wish to risk driver safety to test their incompetence.F1 tyre technology has been fine honed over fthe last 50 years to provide the best in performance and safety mostly to keep pace with the same advances in the general safety of the rest of the sports technology. How can this supplier be allowed to test product on live subjects that they don’t fully understand.I wonder what Sir JS thinks.

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