Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Spa-Francorchamps, 2015

Ferrari not at fault over tyre blow-out – Vettel

2015 Belgian Grand Prix

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Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Spa-Francorchamps, 2015Sebastian Vettel says he does not blame his Ferrari team for the tyre blow-out which potentially cost him a podium finish in the Belgian Grand Prix.

In a statement issued on his website Vettel said: “Just to make it clear, the team and I jointly decided on this strategy.”

“I stand behind the team and the team is behind me,” he continued. “That makes us a team.”

“The strategy was at no time a risky one. The team is not to blame.”

Vettel’s tyre failed on the penultimate lap. He was trying to complete the race without pitting for a second set of tyres.

Earlier in the race Vettel had been heard on the radio suggesting the team “think about an extra stop if it makes sense”. The tyre failure meant he failed to score points for the first time this year.

Following the race Vettel was strongly critical of F1’s official tyre supplier Pirelli, calling the failure “unacceptable”.

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Keith Collantine
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62 comments on “Ferrari not at fault over tyre blow-out – Vettel”

  1. SPA circuit is 7km long compare to the normal 4.3km~ lap length. I do not think that Pirelli took that into consideration when saying that the tyres would last 35-40(?) laps

    1. @dam00r, Say what you want about Pirelli, but their engineers aren’t stupid – it’s pretty insulting what you say there.

    2. @dam00r Exactly. There is much more to it than just a number.

      It’s just an indication anyway and it only takes into account the wear of the 30% of grippy bit of rubber on the thread. Once that is worn away the grip is gone. That’s the “cliff”

      In this case the whole tyre delaminated. That has nothing to do with regular wear, the cliff or lap times.

      This same tyre has done long stint easily on other tracks (Spain, Silverstone, Hungary). But then there wasn’t such a huge issue with drivers going off track lap after lap.

      Pirelli saw lots of damaged tyres coming back after spa.

      It’s like when a suspension part should be able to do 2 race distances. Then you ram over all the bumps and all of a sudden the same part barely makes it through a single race.

      Maldonado managed to destroy his gearbox by banging through Eau Rouge/Radillon.

    3. Can’t really agree with you either on this one @dam00r but i do have to question what the Pirelli guy in the Ferrari garage was doing on Sunday. Especially since Paul Hembrey has said that if they were allowed to impose lap limits on tyres then he would have set it at 23 laps. (I believe) So if this was the case why wasn’t the 40 lap prediction changed and the teams told of this? Also, Pirelli spent all of Friday night doing a full investigation into what happened to Rosberg but somehow Hembrey was able to say without a shadow of a doubt that the tyre on Sebs car failed due to wear within an hour of the race ending. No investigations needed!

      i think if Pirelli do stay in F1 and its a big IF, then Paul Hembrey will be (and in my opinion should be) removed from his position. The drivers do not trust him anymore and even Alan Permane basically said that what Hembrey was saying was wrong. Hembrey is clearly just trying to cover his own ass.

      Oh and one more thing about the stint limits on the tyres that Hembrey says was brought up back in 2013…he didnt seem too bothered about that when Rosberg completed all but one lap of the Russian GP on a single set of tyres.

      1. Apparently he was chewing gum lol

        1. @harry, that made me chuckle!

          BTW, you have to read Arrivabene’s comment for the chewing gum joke to make sense ; )

          1. Not only Pirelli’s guy was chewing gum, Seb did the same.

      2. but that was when the track was brand new! meaning almost perfect ideal track and surface material etc… noone knew how it will work out…

        if you ever driven a car, and drive your car over a curb with uneven or sharp edge somewhere, you would know it is not just smoke screen what pirelli is saying… i have driven my car over a curb at 50km/h mind you that is 1/6th of the speed those guys were doing, and i had my tyre blown (i heard it) but it didnt disintegrate due to speed… imagine going 6 times over that speed…

        f1 technology although tops most if not all racing categories, it is not above physical limitations…

        imagine a balloon, how much you can inflate it, no matter what material you make it from, once u stick a needle, it will blow…

        yeah examples are primary school, but so is base principles of physics…

        1. As has already been said, the Pirelli company is well aware of how the track changes so when they said the tires would lose performance after 40 laps all these (elementary to them) factors have already been considered and worked into the model.
          The fact that the tires blew up before losing performance suggests that the model was probably correct and something else unrelated to the stint length caused the tire failure.

          1. Yeah. One would think that what you are saying is fairly obvious. Otherwise it wouldn’t make sense at all.

      3. I understand that Pirelli can and do revise their suggested limits either up or down during a weekend if the tyre data from the practice sessions is different from their expectations.

        Lotus as well as Ferrari have said that they were told 40 laps when they were planning their strategies before the race. Alan Permane has said that a one stop was the backup strategy for Lotus, it was plan B only because it was slower than a two stop and that they had no concerns about the tyre life doing a one stop.

        1. it was plan B only because it was slower than a two stop and that they had no concerns about the tyre life doing a one stop.

          that’s the point that Pirelli’s trying to obscure – the reason teams weren’t choosing a one stop race was due to it being slower, not because the tires would fail. Race situations change often and teams will alter plans as necessary (which is also why limiting a prime tire to a max of 50 percent of race distance is ridiculous – Grojean would have needed to stop again after the VSC – so that would take that option off the boards as well).

          With Ferrari, they had track position and the VSC and it was a gamble to get the podium. But it’s well within F1 conventional strategy to do what they did.

    4. sunny stivala
      26th August 2015, 8:59

      “Your tyres are a catastrophe, 40 laps is what you told us” Vettel told Hembery to his face.
      Now as far as I know any engineering calculations were safety is concerned will always carry what is called a safety factor which is numbered up to 10.
      The FIA will now have to intervene for Monza, most probably by imposing laps limit for each compound to minimise the safety risk, because the Monza tyres are already made, and because Pirelli have a tyre safety issue on their hand.
      On the other hand as a result of all this, Pirelli would automatically meet Mr F1 request/brief for 2 to 3 tyre stops, they would have managed that at the 12th race of the season.
      Meanwhile Pirelli will be frantically looking for better glue to bond their tyre thread to the side wall.

    5. @dam00r pirelli makes their predictions and lap estimates based on what track they’re at. 35-40 laps is not some general figure that was misapplied at Spa. That was the Spa-specific figure for medium tyre.

      1. 40 laps is almost an entire race distance. It’s incredibly unlikely that the tyres could do that entire distance. So you will have to come with some actual evidence that the 40 laps estimate was for Spa specifcally.

        1. > So you will have to come with some actual evidence that the 40 laps estimate was for Spa specifcally.

          Look Hembery video. Lap recommendation is specific for every race

  2. Vettel and Rosberg (and pretty much everyone else) frequently went off the edge of the circuit, very visibly on the FIA footage. So Vettel is quite wrong when he says they did not – they quite literally did.

    Also one of the places they (cough) “explored the track limits” kicked up a lot of small stones over the track. Could these have damaged the Pirellis? Eventually, under load?

    I’d love to hear what Pirelli discover about Vettel’s accident…

    1. They already said going over the curbs was not the issue.
      I thought it’s quite obvious when he said he didn’t go off the track, he meant he didn’t go off more than anyone else.

      1. He did go off track more than anyone else as he does so in general and in this case he also did more laps than anyone else.

      2. Let’s look at the tape. Ah, yes. Vettel went off the track over the kerbs and over the white lines more than anyone else. They all went over the kerbs, but he went further and more often, especially on the exits from turns. It’s his style. I therefore conclude his tires were stressed more than most, even without the extra laps.

        In my opinion, yours may vary. Doesn’t explain Rosberg’s incident, obviously.

    2. I don’t think the drivers consider using the kerbs and running a bit wide as going off the track at Spa as they all seem to use those lines. I think they regard going off on to the dirty the run off areas as going off the track e.g. when Verstappen went off and had to rejoin after trying to overtake Raikkonen at the top of the hill towards the end of the race.

    3. what about getting to know what Pirelli discovered for Rosberg’s tyre blow-out, was it riding the kerbs, was the tyre used over its recommended by the makers lap count?.
      Me thinks that Pirelli needs to come-up with better glue to bond both their tyre thread to their side as wall as MR Hembery’s lips, and stop supplying crap tyres to F1 team

  3. Excessive tyre wear should never cause a sudden tyre explosion. This didn’t happen with Bridgestone. Hamilton drove his tyres down to the canvas at China 2007, his tyres didn’t explode. Schumacher drove his tyres down to the canvas at Hungary 2006, and they didn’t blow either. They were driving inters far more worn than Vettel’s tyres today. I never recall a Bridgestone tyre exploding purely because of wear.

    1. Bridgestones and Michelins are tyres, Pirellis are junk.

    2. Nail on head.

      By saying this was a wear induced failure, Pirelli are effectively saying their tyres are not fit for purpose. Sebastian should have been struggling around seconds off the pace before safety was compromised.

      The tyres should become uncompetitive before they become unsafe.

    3. Good points, although Pirelli was able to escape blow-outs in China 2012 with Raikkonen or in Montreal that same year with Alonso.

      1. @michal2009b
        Interesting how the safety of Pirelli’s tyres has gone backwards since 2012, back then tyre wear would occur well before a blow-out.

        I would love to see what would have happened if Schumacher drove a set of Pirelli inters the same way he drove his Bridgestone’s in the final 15 laps of Hungaroring 2006 (on the absolute limit in very dry conditions). I suspect that there would be no actual tyres left on his car. Those Bridgestone tyres were absolute tanks.

        1. @kingshark
          He would have been given an order ‘if de la Rosa has a run, do not fight him’. Pirelli appeared to be structually strong in the first two years as well. Since then we see either blow-outs/staying 2s behind to save tyres/letting other drivers past. These kind of passes are simply boring and (at least to me) artificial.

          I believe current formula (V6 regulations, fuel saving, tyres, DRS etc.) is simply anti-racing. Most of the time they just drive to the target not against their rivals on the racetracks to avoid damaging their tyres and forcing an extra stop. If they are unable to make an easy DRS motorway pass then they prefer to sit back and save tyres. It’s a completely different formula since 2013 to me.

  4. People keep talking about Vettel or drivers going over the curbs. Pirelli said that it wasn’t an issue. If you think a tyre supplier didn’t take that into account along with the forces, track length and temperature when they said 40 laps, you are mistaken.

    1. Tyres are the most sensitive component of the car. I watched in one documentary, an engineer from Continental , destroying a carcass of their rubber by only climbing it on two inches high sidewalk. He did it two or three times though. It was sufficient to make it a write off.
      Seb on the other hand exceeded the limits of the track in Eau Rouge hitting the kerbs from the side they are not designed to. It was obvious in one slow mo to see how the rear tyre was clipped by the kerb. I’m not sure was it just prior to tyre’s terminal damage or before. We must not forget that he was doing that at almost 200mph. So, if you can design a tyre to sustain that without damage ( paraphrasing Grant Dalton although he was beaten by ladies, because this is another thing mate ;-) – i’ll stick a pineapple wherever you tell me to.

      1. I don’t care about pineapples or you. They are manufacturing race tyres. Curbs are all over the tracks. If they didn’t take those into account, it would have been Pirelli’s fault again anyway.

      2. You’re right. Pirelli could never have guessed that this Belgian GP would be the first time in the history of motorsport that F1 drivers decided to try and take a bit of curb to try and gain a performance advantage. All of those years of the cars staying absolutely within the white lines would have given them no warning at all.

    2. Besides that, look at the “curb” at Radillon. It is basically just painted tarmac and since it is on the racing line (thanks to the FIA) ist should be pretty clean aswell.
      Plus, by cutting the corner Vettel is taking a straighter line through Radillon, which in theory should at least reduce the lateral force on the tyre.

    3. Indeed it’s not about going over the curbs in a normal fashion, it’s about going off track with all 4 wheels. Pirelli already warned drivers not to do that and even talked with FIA to have the off-track areas cleaned thoroughly.

      So Pirelli knew and warned about the dangers of going off track. The drivers ignored this and even demanded that the barriers that FIA had installed to keep them on track were removed.

  5. Nice sentiments in any case…

  6. On the other hand Wolff and Lauda criticized Vettel for criticizing Pirelli.

    1. Merc and Pirelli were caught cheating when they did that “secret” tyre test not so long ago.

      They’re just covering each other’s back, IMO.

      1. First of all, Mercedes has by far the most interest in keeping F1’s state as healthy as possible (or should I say as less ill as possible). They are dominating so they want people turning on to see Mercedes winning. Pirelli’s bad image certainly won’t help F1 and their most beneficiary, Mercedes. Lotus and Force India have no qualms in blasting the Italian tyre manafacturer.

        1. *most interest in keeping F1’s state LOOK as healthy as possible

    2. So? They aren’t the authorities of everything right in F1.

  7. F1 in general is to blame. Ask Pirelli to build to a specific set of standards for the spectacle and give them bugger all testing time. I’m pretty sure if the request was “make the best tyre you can” we would have super grippy tyres that last the race with no issues!

    1. @bigwilk Can you point me to an article which supports the idea that Pirelli were asked to design tyres which suddenly explode without any warning well before the suggested lifecycle? I had a look but I couldn’t see anything.

      1. Of course not, but you’re just asking to be a pain which is a bit unfair. I said they’re trying to design a tyre totally unlike any normal tyre (designed to degrade is not something a tyre manufacturer would normally aim for) and then not being able to test (and I would argue that without a current spec F1 car and some representative circuits there is no alternative option). I don’t think it’s fair to criticise Pirelli until someone else has a go in the same conditions and succeeds. Since the current requirements are unique nobody ever has to date

        1. Well he has a very good point since the “life” of the tyre is created by having only a 30% outer layer of the tread that offers grip. Wear that away and the grip is gone while the tyre still remains intact.

          In this case the whole tyre exploded. These are two completely different design issues and the latter should obviously not happen regardless of what caused it.

        2. I think you are underestimating the humanity and how far science has come lol

  8. I don’t understand what prevents Pirelli from getting an older spec car (2013 for example) and a testing driver, and adequately testing the tyres on most, if not all, circuits. Every time they fail or their product is substandard (the wet tyres for example), they blame it on lack of testing. Surely a big team like Ferrari or Mercedes can provide with an old car and some engineers to keep it running.

    From my perspective, the FIA wants a very hard to manufacture product, tyres that are fitted to the fastest cars on the world and are supposed to perform at top level for a specific number of laps and then slow down, but don’t allow any proper testing! People keep asking for Michelin or Bridgestone, but at those days testing was pretty heavy, and they were manufacturing a more trivial product. With the current rules they might fail as well.

    Other than that, tyres exploding is just unacceptable, no matter how may laps the driver does. Vettel’s pace had not shown signs that the tyres are about to give up.

    1. The thing Pirelli lack is simply money and resources. Something Michelin have no shortage of.

    2. They already have an old spec car.

    3. @afonic They have a Team Enstone car (though from earlier than 2013) already!

      1. @davidnotcoulthard

        that may be the problem. It may not have the same level of downforce you’d get from a Merc, Red Bull, or Ferrari.

        1. @uan..Yeah, but I’m not sure a 2013 car would be the solution, rather than a car with the same problem.

    4. Why do they complain about lack of testing though? Can’t they run it as often as they want?

      1. Maybe they don’t wanna spend more money?

    5. These tyres have been tested all season. What would they still need to test?

  9. Something that is becoming apparent from everyone i’m speaking to around F1 right now is that there is a fundamental distrust between the Teams/drivers & Pirelli & that this has been the case for some time. The teams feel that Pirelli’s excuse is always cuts & debris without them ever showing any evidence to support that view (Somethinge Bridgestone, Michelin & Goodyear always did) & that in a dozen cases data the teams have had has suggested that Pirelli were not been completely truthful.

    Certainly going back to 2013 Pirelli threw the blame on the teams after Silverstone but the teams were/are sceptical because if it was just the way they were using tyres there would have been no need for Pirelli to change there construction let alone go back to the 2012 tyres. There has always been a feeling that the new construction & especially the steel belt that Pirelli had started using that year were more to blame than Pirelli were willing to admit.

    Certainly when you have drivers asking the FIA if there moving to another supplier (As apparently happened in the Drivers briefing on Friday) & basically making it known that they don’t trust Pirelli then something needs to change to try & rebuild that trust, Be it allowing Pirelli to move away from the high degredation request or by bringing in a new supplier.

    A critical point has been reached & things cannot go on as they have been as its not good for anyone if teams/drivers don’t have trust in Pirelli & if Pirelli are going to continue getting the negative PR.

    1. @gt-racer I’m particularly worried about Pirelli simply saying ‘sod it’ to all this negative PR and leaving F1 in the hands of Michelin. Don’t get me wrong, at this point I’d love to have Michelin as the tyre supplier, but they have their rather long list of requirements that I just can’t see all the teams agreeing to. If at any point Michelin decides it’s not worth it to supply F1 tyres, then it would be a race against time to find another supplier.

  10. Hearing that the GPDA are going to meet with Pirelli, The FIA & representatives of FOM & are going to demand changes be made to the tyres.

    It was also suggested to me that there going to outright tell the FIA/FOM that the drivers would prefer Michelin be given the next contract or that its changed to an open tender to allow a tyre war. They have lost trust with Pirelli having voiced concerns the past few years which they feel have been ignored.

    1. Ooooh no, not this BS again! I’m so done with Pirelli now, the only thing that can be done is that a new tyresupplier comes into F1 to make changes…

      1. I meant the nex tyresupplier needs to come into F1 next year already. Otherwise another year gets waisted away…

  11. Tires should not blow out without warning! Period!
    How else would you expect these guys to do 150mph in a turn?

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