Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Spa-Francorchamps, 2015

Pirelli to present result of Vettel tyre investigation

2015 Belgian Grand Prix

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Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Spa-Francorchamps, 2015Pirelli has concluded their investigation into the cause of Sebastian Vettel’s tyre failure during the Belgian Grand Prix.

“We have finalised the investigation into Sebastian Vettel’s tyre at Spa,” said motorsport director Paul Hembery. “Detailed conclusions from the technical analysis will be presented at Monza.”

Pirelli previously said Vettel’s tyre failure was wear-related. In a statement released following the Belgian Grand Prix F1’s official tyre supplier pointed out it had advised F1 to introduce a rule limiting the number of laps drivers were allowed to do on each compound, but the recommendation had not been adopted.

Vettel said the failure, which occurred on the penultimate lap of the race, should not be blamed on Ferrari’s decision to attempt to complete the race while making only one tyre stop.

Pirelli is bringing the compounds used at Spa to this weekend’s race at Monza. “We have the medium and soft compounds, a step softer than our nomination last year, which should be well suited to Monza and the emphasis on speed that this circuit always places,” said Hembery.

“We’re expecting a fair degree of wear and degradation, so as always the work done during free practice will be very important when it comes to calculating the optimal strategy. With the two compounds potentially quite closely matched in terms of pace, this opens up a few options.”

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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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85 comments on “Pirelli to present result of Vettel tyre investigation”

  1. Well, well, I must say that I am curious what they bring out then.

    1. @bascb My money is on a major PR response. There’ll be plenty of close up photos of Vettel’s right rear tyre deforming as he repeatedly cuts Raidillon. Matt Somerfield had an interesting article on it the other day, I expect that Pirelli’s defense will be along the same lines:-

      http://somersf1.blogspot.com/2015/08/the-blame-game.html

      1. I rather doubt it as it would raise more questions. Pictures of tyres deforming were appearing as early as Friday at Spa, and Pirelli had assured the teams that the deformation wasn’t a problem. Charlie Whiting in a Q&A after the weekend described the kerb at Raidillon as “benign” and that they doubted it was a contributing factor.

      2. Yes, the tire was deforming, but notice that the tire is deforming on the kerb. Vettel is not placing the right rear over the edge of the kerb, which could potentially cause punctures. A tire that blows out because it was loaded on a kerb sounds like a weak tire.
        Somerfield also shows that Vettel is running all four wheels off the track on right handers, the opposite of the left-hand kink that Vettel was cutting. If going off track was the cause of the blowout, I find it odd that the left tires didn’t go instead of the right.
        I suspect the tire failure is down to Pirelli not being able to design a tire that could withstand so many trips through Eau Rouge and Radillon.

        1. actually if you look at the nature of the circuit a lot of the high speed turns put weight on the right side of the car. So it’s not surprising that his rear right blew. Go to wikipedia, and take a look at the faster turns (Pouhon/Blanchimont), they are going to the right most often. Going off the track probably created an irregular wear condition and Vettel going longer than anyone else has on those tires, this year (from what I have heard someone say). Combine that with him driving off the track a lot, leads me to believe he exceeded the standard to which Pirelli use when they gauge tire wear.

          1. *going to the right means turning left and putting weight on the right side of the car.

          2. and yeah, Vettel’s tire blew when he was turning left coming out of Raidillon.

          3. *blew = started delaminating.

    2. They’ve obviously got something interesting to say if they have to announce that they are going announce it!

      1. Actually, that’s pretty standard; a lot of companies do that.

        1. Yeah but not if they don’t want to draw attention to it.

  2. “Debris cut Vettel’s tire, its never our fault” – Paul Hembery

    1. Exactly. Utter garbage.

      1. Depends what they bring to the table. Without clear evidence, no-one is going to believe them.

      2. Do you know what their results are? Do you know what evidence they have? No. So you have no idea whether their reveal will be garbage or not.

        1. $100 says it’ll be some BS excuse. Care to wager Dave?

  3. Glad to see the previous race ratings return!

  4. Can’t you just present it now?

  5. Let me guess: “There was a cut.”

    1. There could well have been a cut; a news article linked to from this very website stated Pirelli had found cuts on several tyres across the field.

  6. There was excessive wear, a couple of cuts, thermal degradation, and Ferrari used the tyres wrong somehow, the driver pushed too hard, so the tyre delaminated and exploded. None of that is Pirelli’s fault of course.

  7. It obviously is going to be some good excuse making, but I have a question from a purely technical perspective.

    Unless they find a sharp bit wedged in the initial cut of the tyre (which they never have and never could, because the tyres disintegrated and was even driven, off the racing line), how can they distinguish between a structurally failed tyre due to a cut, or a structurally failed tyre due to stress? Unless they see a definitive video showing the exact moment of the cut, I don’t see how they could.

    Given the type and direction of the failure I saw from both of the onboard videos, and what I understand from material physics, I have no reason to think think that the initial compound separation due to stress can not look like a cut.

    1. Who needs a laboratory to perform complex failure analysis when we have all of experts here? Who need nothing more than a video to determine, with no uncertainty that Pirelli products are flawed?

      Just the fact that Pirelli makes such an announcement leads me to believe they have strong evidence of what happened. I don’t understand how (supposedly knowledgeable) fans are so quick to reach conclusions. After Silverstone 2013, when did Pirelli F1 tires had catastrophic blow outs?

      As demonstrated back in 2013, the Silverstone track had sharp edges in at least one kerb…

      Sad to see mob mentality at play in F1.

      1. Korea 2013. Perez’s tire exploded after a heavy lockup.

        1. And after it had been worn so badly there was so little rubber the lockup burned through the tiny sliver left and the tarmac then tore through the carcass itself. A conclusion that was supported by the wealth of evidence provided, not just by Pirelli, but Force India as well.

          Just like how everyone blamed Pirelli when the razor-sharp shard of shattered wheel rim caused a blowout for Hulkenberg(?) at Brazil later that same year. And Pirelli were still blamed even after photos of the shattered wheel were tweeted by the driver himself, with a statement confirming the razor-sharp metal sliced the tyre open.

      2. Sadly that’s the case. Pirelli is so hated that they will be condemned guilty no matter the evidence.

      3. They didn’t help the crowd perception of them by blaming Vettel before doing the investigation and pointing out stint length as the cause when the length was within their own recommendations (a recommendation backed by the performance Vettel was able to get before the explosion)

        1. Well, Vettel blamed Pirelli before an investigation had been completed, on the other hand i seem to recall Hembrey being at great pains not to say anything negative about Vettel or Ferrari.

          1. i seem to recall Hembrey being at great pains not to say anything negative about Vettel or Ferrari.

            Then you recall wrong

      4. Who needs a laboratory to perform complex failure analysis

        Like Pirelli did when Vettel’s tyre exploded and gave us the cause of that blow?

        1. You were expecting a full lab analysis just 30 minutes after the tyre blew?

          1. You sound like you have shares in the company. Every comment a Pirelli positive. Regardless of any ‘result’ from their ‘investigation’, their tires were NOT performing as intended. And if they can’t handle the rigours of Spa, then bloody well say so BEFOREHAND. Don’t do the opposite and over-estimate the tires life, and THEN come up with some scripted response – ages later at Monza (when they’ve had weeks to fill their BS-meters). Pirelli deserve to be raked over the coals and should absorb every last morsel of negative publicity.

          2. Of course, I should have known I need to jump on the ‘bashing Pirelli again’ bandwagon. And I should have known that it’s desirable to make snap judgements without evidence.

          3. You were expecting a full lab analysis just 30 minutes after the tyre blew?

            No, and this is why I don’t understand how Pirelli was so sure that it was normal wear

            You’re so quick to defend them that you don’t even read the threads

          4. If the blame really is 100% Pirelli, I’ll be at the head of the mob, torch and pitchfork in hand. But until it’s proven definitively one way or the other, I refuse to cast judgement on them.

          5. @raceprouk

            You were expecting a full lab analysis just 30 minutes after the tyre blew?

            No. But I wasn’t expecting Pirelli to say so definitively that it was due to wear and blame Ferrari’s “risky” strategy.

            Pirelli should have said – “we see no obvious reasons for the failure, but from the video, it appears different from Rosberg’s failure. We will do an investigation and report our findings.”

            See that’s not hard.

  8. “Nothing to do with us, it wasn’t even a Pirelli tyre.”

  9. New desktop wallpaper: check! :)

  10. “Maybe you drive-a the car wrong!”

  11. We have the medium and soft compounds, a step softer than our nomination last year,

    It sounds a bit ambiguous. I initially thought the soft compound was the one being made softer, but a bit later on he said

    With the two compounds potentially quite closely matched in terms of pace, this opens up a few options

    which makes me think that it is the medium compound tyre that will be made softer.

    1. Maybe he meant last year it was hard-medium.

  12. “It wasn’t our fault. Drivers shouldn’t ride kerbs because we say so, even if the stewards are ok with it and they have been doing it for years.

    Yes, drivers and teams should adjust to our behaviour, not the other way around”

    Just one of possible excuses.

    1. If one reads this piece and remember the coverage from the race, one wonders why marshals were so lenient with drivers abusing track limits during the Belgium GP.

      If drivers feel they can ride anywhere, irrespective of track limits, exposing the tires to unexpected surfaces, then they should not blame the tire manufacturer for problems.

      1. @svianna This is not something that started at Spa this year. It’s been for a while. Pirelli has to adapt to what drivers do, not the other way around. Drivers have to adapt to what the marshals tell them to.

        1. I am sure Pirelli can engineer tires for off-road excursions or any other condition drivers deccide to inflict on the equipment. However, there will be performance compromises.

          Nobody can satisfy all interested parties expectations. Some people want no performance drop, others want tires that can last a full race; others want tires to withstand any abuse…and then people will complain the cars are slower than they were a decade ago….the tires are, without a doubt, the single most impacting component on an F1 car’s performance.

          You can’t have it all.

          1. @svianna

            I am sure Pirelli can engineer tires for off-road excursions or any other condition drivers deccide to inflict on the equipment. However, there will be performance compromises.

            What Pirelli can do, could do, would do, want to do, would like to do or may do is irrelevant. We’re talking about what they did. And that is a tyre that for whatever reason didn’t work the way it was supposed to the way drivers drive. This is F1, drivers and team will always push boundaries to the extreme. This is not something that just happened to start at Spa. The job of the tyre supplier is to provide tyres that can withstand that.

            Nobody can satisfy all interested parties expectations. Some people want no performance drop, others want tires that can last a full race; others want tires to withstand any abuse…and then people will complain the cars are slower than they were a decade ago….

            Completely irrelevant.

          2. @svianna @albert – The rules state that drivers cannot leave the track with 4 wheels. Pirelli make tyres based on the rules.

            Therefore if leaving the track has caused this, I would not blame Ferrari, Vettel or Pirelli. I would blame the FIA for failing to enforce it’s own rules and allowing this dangerous situation to occur.

          3. @petebaldwin Yes and no. I agree that the FIA is partly to blame, and that they should start enforcing the rules.

            But Pirelli is not entirely innocent on this. Spa was not a sudden point in which this started. This is a trend that we’ve been seen for a very long time. If the FIA tacitly allows something, then drivers and teams will do it, therefore the tyre supplier has to adapt. Remember, this is the pinnacle of motorsport and engineering itself, it’s up to the tyre supplier to keep up.

      2. The FIA hardly polices the track limits rule. On a small amount of GPs, they might, like Austria.
        Next up is Monza where they explicitly state that drivers can put all four wheels off at the Ascari chicane.

      3. This has never been a serious issue before now though. The drivers aren’t taking the circuit any differently.

  13. Quick exercise those of you that can’t stand Pirelli:

    Please name me one product that you think is well designed and performs multiple functions well. This could be any product from home appliances to cars. I’m genuinely curious to test a hypothesis I have.

    1. I can stand Pirelli, but here’s a few for you:

      My wheelchair – a Sunrise Medical Quickie Samba. It is a superb transportation device for the movement impaired, it can be broken up into bits without the use of tools allowing it to be stored in the boot of a normal car and quickly and easily reassembled, it has a tiny footprint which allows it to negotiate passages and corridors that are inaccessible to most powered wheelchairs, it is a full speed 8mph chair, many cap out at 6 and it can go 30 miles on a single charge. It is capable offroad, for a wheelchair – it’s never going to equal a scooter but it surpasses almost every wheelchair on the market and most scooters too. So it is superb as a personal transportation device, especially at it’s price point – the only one that I think is better is the ibot which is many multiples in price and not even currently avaliable. It also functions surprisingly well as a bed. You can lay the backrest flat and push up the headrest to act as a really comfy pillow. the seat can slope back to give a lovely undulation which supports you better than any camp bed and the leg rest straightens up and extends to give you plenty of room to stretch out. I don’t sleep in it because, you know, I spend all day in it and enjoy getting out, but when I stay over at my friends houses, they play cards to win sleeping in it, and one is seriously contemplating buying one to replace his camping bed. I think he’s waiting for me to get a new chair and wants to buy it from me! And of course a s a camp bed, yes it’s heavy, but as a wheelchair user, it’s always with me so the weight is not an issue for me. Apart from that it has a power connection for most appliances – camp bed which charges your phones, can run a computer, wifi point, tv and games console anyone?

      Second product – My argos room divider – it divides a room as efficiently as any other, yet is also a bookcase on both sides and looks stunning.

      My James Smith & Sons walking stick – It’s a nice classical walking stick, I opted for the old fashioned curve top variety. I need it to help me stand up if I’ve fallen over more than to help me walk, which it is the perfect tool for. However it has a second use – as it has a curved hook, when I’m in my aforementioned wheelchair, I am quite low down. It’s a great aid to helping me point, reach and snag things from high up. I had a dedicated tool designed to enable me to reach things from up high, not a cheap one either but it is useless compared to my stick. Oh, it’s the size and weight and balance of a jo stick as well, and I’ve been mugged (attempted) three times in my life from my chair. Each time, I managed to see them off with my stick. So that’s a triple use item.

      My toasted sandwich maker also makes waffles, fries eggs, grills burgers – can’t remember the brand.

      Stamps with sticky backs make great impromptu post-it notes and retain enough stick to be used as a stamp.

      This one’s gross, so, sorry, but fingernails both protect the ends of my fingers and make good toothpicks (in private)

      My mp3 player functions as a flash drive. I used it as a windows drive while I was testing windows 8 out, a task which was beyond my expensive sandisk usb stick.

      Baby oil does wanders for my sons skin and polishes up brushed stainless steel like new.

      My Sage kettle makes me a lovely pot of tea, and I mean it literally makes tea inside it. It can also provide regular boiling water and unblock toilets too.

      My Leatherman tool does tonnes of stuff and is surely a design classic by now. Ditto my Dremmel.

      Medical gauze can be used in the treatment of deep cuts, but is also one of the finest ways to temporary stop a leaking waste soil stack while you wait for the plumber.

      My Frosts Mora can both cut and carve well, that’s a rare trait in a knife which usually have to specialise in one or the other.

      I have an old Asda laptop bag which if filled with memory foam makes the best cushion I have ever used.

      Ikea lampshade which when cut into strips make great fishing lures.

      Steam floor cleaner which is the perfect tool for a wheelchair user to clean windows.

      I could probably go on, but for now, that should give you some data for your hypothesis. Care to share?

    2. Please name me one product that you think is well designed and performs multiple functions well. This could be any product from home appliances to cars. I’m genuinely curious to test a hypothesis I have.

      Homo sapiens is a pretty cheap product of unskilled labour. The largest numbers of them are manufactured in China these days, but they are still produced all over the world. The production
      volumes in post industrial regions like Japan and the EU are tailing off. The majority are
      fairly easily trained to a large number of tasks.

  14. Was it …2010? perhaps korea? Red Bull radioing vettel because his tires were so worn they were “nothing but cord”… I remember the scenario, just not the season. That would be interesting to know whether that happened on a pirelli or a bridgestone!

    1. 2010 would have been Bridgestone; IIRC, Pirelli started in 2011?

    2. Korea’10 was engine blowout for Vettel, not tyre.

    3. Was more recent than 2010– was definitely a Pirelli. 2010 was very wet, and I believe Webber and Vettel both failed to finish.

      But yes, Rocky spent the last 15 or so laps warning Vettel to back off before his tires blew.

  15. Pirelli tyres, just like anything else in life, will fail. Its unrealistic to expect zero blowouts whoever is suppling f1. Things go wrong and the context here is that only 2 failed out of over 250 supplied over the weekend. It looks positively minuscule in the context of the thousands supplied over the course of the season so far. I suspect most people are just disappointed because they had hoped that Ferrari would provide a challenge for the title for a bit longer.

    1. That, and it’s the fashion to bash Pirelli at every conceivable opportunity.

      1. Ya for sure Pirelli is only partially to blame as they are following F1’s mandate, and the failure rate is indeed small vs. the ‘success’ rate. I think what doesn’t help matters is that the drivers and many others are in general disappointed with the current tires, the current mandate to make them the overwhelming story of F1, the current need to baby them or suffer major consequences. Ie. the issues SV and NR had would unquestionably have been taken more lightly had they happened within an atmosphere of everyone being happy with the tires. But tires that already have such a small performance window, and generally need major conservation, and can’t handle the dirty air effect, and can’t be pushed, are always going to be slammed when they also delaminate on top of all the other issues those within F1 have with them. Better tires definitely could fail too, but these tires just have too much wrong with them for such failures to happen without a piling on effect occurring when SV and NR have the issues they did. I don’t expect perfection from Pirelli but I expect better from F1.

        1. At last, someone who gets it! :)

        2. would unquestionably have been taken more lightly 

          I don’t think you are aware of how dangerous a tyre explosion at high speed is not just for the driver, but also everyone around. It should definitely be taken really seriously no matter what.

          1. Oh, we’re aware; we just feel it’s better to make educated judgements based on concrete evidence and thorough analysis rather than snap judgements based on grainy YouTube footage uploaded from a mobile phone.

    2. @blackmamba Of course things fail all the time in F1, but they don’t fail due to black magic, they fail because something was designed/fabricated/mounted wrong.

      Just saying “things fail lol ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ ” is not particularly meaningful.

      1. You cannot guarantee 100% reliability; there are just too many variables to take into account

        1. @raceprouk Definitely. But again, that doesn’t mean that when something fails you just say “Oh well s h i t h happens lol ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ ”.

        2. correct @raceprouk.
          And some people seem to forget that usage (off track) and misfortune (debris) plays a big role in failure rate as well.
          They just like to blame the tyres and (repeatedly) shout it out so loud that they become deaf of other arguments!

          1. @coldfly

            And some people seem to forget that usage (off track) and misfortune (debris) plays a big role in failure rate as well.

            too bad you weren’t in Spa standing in for Paul H. It wasn’t “usage” or “debris”. It was wear. It was too many laps. Period. That’s what Pirelli said. The tire wore out and blew.

            The reason people become deaf to other arguments is that people tend not to listen to arguments that are being made up. Now if Pirelli said – we think it may have been debris or going off track, that would be a different story. But they specifically said it was the one stop strategy that was the cause and what can one expect with a risky strategy? (Except maybe the tires going off forcing the car to go slower and finally need to pit, like it happens in many races when a Force India or Sauber tries their one stoppers.)

      2. You forgot used/driven/inflated/cambered/castered wrong…

  16. Any bets that the findings found nothing wrong with the tyres, including the glue bonding the thread to the side wall?

  17. Anybody having link to a high-res quality for the pic above ?

    1. If you click through on the image, you can get the version at 1680×1120

    2. @mjf1fan, suggest you:
      – open https://images.google.com/
      – drag above picture to the ‘search box’
      – select large image
      – pic the size/site you like most

      or get me to do it ;) and go straight to this link.
      PS – not sure who the copyright owner is – I assume it is for own use only!

      1. or (like many images on F1Fanatic) just click on the image (twice) until you see the image only. That is mostly a large/HD version of the image.
        (same copyright comment)

        1. @coldfly @raceprouk

          Thanks for the tip, I really didnt knew double clicking on the images here will take me to the large/hd version of image. :)

          Desktop wallpaper now set :D

  18. Hembery “external source such as debris was to blame” “it was not Vettel’s fault, it was not FERRARI’S fault and of course neither Pirelli’s fault”.

  19. Get ready for some fresh lies from Pirelli. Their PR department will be working overtime until the press conference, lol.

    How can anyone believe them at this point? And how can the sport rationalize the danger they pose????

  20. I don’t really care about Vettel– He ran his tires too hard for that long a stint, and repeatedly slammed them across the square curbs. He was begging for a cut across the tread that would lead to delamination, and that’s what he got.

    I want to hear Pirelli’s explanation for Rosberg’s tire, because I’ve never seen a punctured tire unzip down the middle of the tire.

  21. Apparently since Vettel joined Ferrari every thing he says it’s true, no matter what.

    1. Let me correct that, nothing it’s his fault, that’s what i meant.

      1. Apparently, it is not important in what team he is. For some of you he is always wrong, no matter what.

  22. For me the problem here was that Vettel’s pace didn’t increase dramatically before the tyre blew. If he had started losing 3-4 seconds a lap he would have pitted and end of the story. I believe this is the way it should be. Tyres should warn the teams and drivers when they are on the limit before exploding, not just suddenly explode without a warning. That’s just simply dangerous. If it was only down to tyre wear, it’s unacceptable for me. If it was a cut, a defective tyre or anything else, they should really look into it, to prevent it from happening again.

    Tyres during first Pirelli season degraded quickly and were soon much slower than new tyres, allowing teams for a wide variety of strategies. It was a season where most races were interesting to watch IMO. After that, every new season tyres seem to degrade less and less, which makes me wonder if those first Pirelli’s tyres were actually produced to degrade, or if they were just the best Pirelli could produce back then…

    In any case, the limitation of the tyre stints proposed by Pirelli is a joke for me: what advantage would have a car with less tyre degradation then? Tyre degradation should force drivers to pit for fresh rubber, not rules. First we limit maximum fuel flow (effectively limiting maximum engine speed, and thus engine noise), then we limit stint lenghts, what do we limit afterwards? top For me the problem here was that Vettel’s pace didn’t increase dramatically before the tyre blew. If he had started losing 3-4 seconds a lap he would have pitted and end of the story. I believe this is the way it should be. Tyres should warn the teams and drivers when they are on the limit before exploding. First Pirelli season was like that, allowing for

    The limitation of the tyre stints proposed by Pirelli is a joke for me: what advantage would have a car with less tyre degradation then? For me the problem here was that Vettel’s pace didn’t increase dramatically before the tyre blew. If he had started losing 3-4 seconds a lap he would have pitted and end of the story. I believe this is the way it should be. Tyres should warn the teams and drivers when they are on the limit before exploding. First Pirelli season was like that, allowing for

    The limitation of the tyre stints proposed by Pirelli is a joke for me: what advantage would a car with less tyre degradation have then? Tyre degradation (slow pace) should force drivers to pit for fresh rubber, not rules! First we limit maximum fuel flow (effectively limiting maximum engine speed and thus engine noise), then we limit stint lenghts. What would be next? Limiting cars top speed? I agree there should be limits for the shake of safety, but limiting stint lenghts is absurd for me.

  23. By the way. Nobody talking about Bottas using a mixed set of tyres? Drive through penalty seriously? He should have been forced to change his tyres immediately. Teams are not allowed to switch tyres from left to right and viceversa, so how was Bottas allowed to do a full stint with a wrong tyre fitted????

    1. Because it didn’t have an adverse effect, and didn’t (measurably) increase the risk; if anything, he’d have been going a bit slower due to the lower grip of the harder tyre, putting a little less load through all four as a result

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