Felipe Massa, Williams, Spa-Francorchamps, 2015

Tyres should be able to cope with debris – Massa

2015 Belgian Grand Prix

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Felipe Massa, Williams, Spa-Francorchamps, 2015Felipe Massa believes F1 tyres should be able to cope with the levels of debris seen during the Belgian Grand Prix weekend.

F1’s official tyre supplier Pirelli has called for tracks to be cleaned more thoroughly after discovering 63 cuts on its tyres at Spa.

Daniel Ricciardo was among those who experienced problems with his tyres during the weekend. “I don’t really know the difference in the level of details – what’s a blister, what’s a cut – but we experienced some blistering,” he said during today’s press conference at Spa.

According to Ricciardo it is not unusual to see such failures at the Belgian track. “Definitely not the first time we’ve had it in Spa,” he said, “it’s pretty common around there.”

However Massa said it “shouldn’t be common” to experience tyres problems due to debris.

“I don’t believe it should be common,” said the Williams driver. “Debris we have every race. Some races we have even more debris than others.”

“So for sure the tyres need to be strong enough to accept the debris or what we have inside the track. I don’t think it’s common. And we had cut as well during the weekend.”

“We need to understand properly what happened”

Sebastian Vettel, who strongly criticised Pirelli after suffering a tyre blow-out on the penultimate lap of the race, suggested Pirelli has more work to do to get to the bottom of the failures.

“I think it is not acceptable to have a blow-up at that sort of speeds out of the blue, I think that’s what I said also after the race,” said Vettel. “So there’s nothing really to add.”

“But as I said before I think the investigations that have been going on, the stuff that obviously got analysed and talked about explains some of it, maybe not all of it yet, but it’s still ongoing. Obviously as I said the most important thing is that we make sure that we make progress. At the moment from the Pirelli side it looks very, very professional, they handle it with extreme care so I think things are going to right way.”

Vettel believes more work will done beyond any “short term” measures for this weekend.

“I think there is some short-term changes as I learned: tyre pressures, for example, which we’ll obviously see how it feels but if that’s a short-term reaction within those couple of days, week we had, that’s one thing.”

“Obviously long-term I think we need to understand properly what happened. I think it’s very clear that everybody’s trying to do what’s best.”

“I think we had a situation a couple of years ago which wasn’t acceptable and there was immediate change and we didn’t have problems afterwards. So you can see that the professional approach does work and it leads usually to the right result.”

2015 Belgian Grand Prix

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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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  • 25 comments on “Tyres should be able to cope with debris – Massa”

    1. Of course they shouldn’t. It’s specially worrisome that, according to Pirelli, the track was cleaned after qualifying. Even after that it was “too dirty” for the tyres. It’s ridiculous.

      1. Yeah, the track was sweeped. But were ALL of the runoff areas, kerbings etc where drivers love to cut across to shorten their distance, get better angle for acceleration etc?

        1. Surely making sure the tyre can cope with some debris is more sensible than making sure all of the track, kerbs and all, are swept and cleaned before every session?

          This has everything to do with liability and legal stuff I fear.

    2. On the one hand I agree with Massa. But then again, when Vettel highlights the dangers of the situation we had at Silverstone – that was more about the teams being their own worst enemies and “abusing” the tyres with extreme cambers, switching sides and pressures outside of Pirelli’s advised limits.

      So then the question must be whether the issue are the tyres or rather the way they are used – including wanting ever softer tyres on a relatively demanding track like Spa to spice up the show, but also constantly running outside of the track limits.

      1. @bascb

        that was more about the teams being their own worst enemies and “abusing” the tyres with extreme cambers, switching sides and pressures outside of Pirelli’s advised limits.

        The thing about that, though, is that it wasn’t the first time they did that. It was a long running thing. And it wasn’t secret or sneaky, as some people have claimed. After all, teams have a Pirelli engineer who at the very least should know what conditions the tyres are run under.

        Since it wasn’t at the time illegal to do that, Pirelli had two options:
        – ask the FIA to make it illegal
        – make tyres that would last under the desired camber angles/pressures

        It’s not up to the teams to make Pirelli happy. F1 has always been about going extreme lengths to find extra lap time, and it’s about time that Pirelli understands that and joins the party.

        1. yes. Albert. Pirelli HAD been asking the FIA to make their advise on pressures and camber angles mandatory for a long time, but the FIA only went with that thought after we saw the blowouts.

          As for the second option, I think you severely underestimate the technical challenge in doing so, while at the same time ensuring good usability. And without being able to set limits on their use, the teams would just have tried to go even further in their quest for more performance.

          1. @bascb

            yes. Albert. Pirelli HAD been asking the FIA to make their advise on pressures and camber angles mandatory for a long time, but the FIA only went with that thought after we saw the blowouts.

            So the FIA tacitly accepted that changing the tyre pressures and camber angles was legal. At that point it was up to Pirelli to make tyres that would work under those circumstances.

            As for the second option, I think you severely underestimate the technical challenge in doing so, while at the same time ensuring good usability. And without being able to set limits on their use, the teams would just have tried to go even further in their quest for more performance.

            If Pirelli can’t do it, then they should leave and let another tyre manufacturer try. Changing every rule they don’t like (cambers, pressures, and they even suggested maximum laps per compound) simply limits the strategy options of teams. It’s ridiculous.

          2. @bascb

            As for the second option, I think you severely underestimate the technical challenge in doing so, while at the same time ensuring good usability. And without being able to set limits on their use, the teams would just have tried to go even further in their quest for more performance.

            GoodYear, Bridgestone & Michelin managed it.

            The tyre swapping & ‘extreme’ pressures/cambers have been a thing in F1 for decades & every tyre supplier had tyres that were fully able to cope with these things.

            Infact these practices are still commonplace in many other categories including things like Indycar & WEC & the tyres involved in these categories handle these things without any problems at all.

            The tyres should be able to handle these things just like they should be able to handle drivers using kurb’s because all of these things are a part of what F1 & Motorsport in general is, There commonplace & have been for ages & like any other component the tyres should be designed with these things in mind & should be able to cope with them.

            1. @gt-racer Nicely said :)
              Have any of your friends said anything after Pirelli’s statement?

            2. I guess the huge difference is Pirelli trying to “engineer” the tyres to not last while at the same time getting only little opportunity to actually test tyres on current cars @gt-racer.

              That said, and as mentioned in my earlier statement, I see the first issue being exactly that idea of bringing softer tyres to make them NOT last the distance to Spa as the first mistake which is then worsened by the FIA not policing things that are apparently needed to make these fickle tyres do that job in the current F1.

            3. Michelin managed it? Really? Have we forgotten what happened in 2005?

    3. I expected more professional analysis from Pirelli. Instead, we got diplomatic burbling creating an impression that last race was driven around London in 1940. They couldn’t accuse Sebastian, they couldn’t accuse Ferrari or the race organizers. They couldn’t accuse themselves. Of course not, and that would hurt the old man as well. So, what’s left? Track marshals!. Poor sweepers. It simply makes no sense, and we’re not that stupid Mr. Hembery.

      1. Vettel after race interview:

        What was the answer? The same as every time: ‘there was a cut, debris…

        Pirelli C-Zero, zero credibility.

    4. I don’t want anyone to come to any harm due to tyres letting go at critical moments, but tyre failures are a statistical inevitability.

      The only way to rule them out is to not use them!

      If his engine had let go instead, somehow seized and locked the drive-train. Would he be giving Ferrari the same vitriol? Or would he just put it down to a disappointing failure “but we win and loose as a team blah blah” and all that shmuzz.

      The history of all motorsport is littered with examples of tyre failures all along the way. It’s probably safe to say not a single one of them was acceptable in any way to those directly affected.

      1. @psynrg

        If his engine had let go instead, somehow seized and locked the drive-train. Would he be giving Ferrari the same vitriol? Or would he just put it down to a disappointing failure “but we win and loose as a team blah blah” and all that shmuzz.

        That’s a silly point to raise. Of course he wouldn’t. In-house problems are solved in house behind closed doors. It’s the same thing for every home and business on the face of the earth.
        Besides, the problem with Pirelli is not a single race, we’ve have plenty of problems and different issues which add to the general dissatisfaction drivers feel for the tyres.

      2. Engine manufacturers are competing between themselves and in the midst of it, they are pushing performance and reliability to the absolute maximum. Hence failues can happen and they do indeed happen.

        Meanwhile Pirelli is sole tyre supplier and their product has to be first and foremost safe and reliable, performance comes second. Failures can happen too, but with Pirellis they’re not failures, they’re disasters. When Bridgestone were sole suppliers for 4 years, I remember few slow punctures and one case of chunking, but that’s it. With Pirelli it’s some punctures, but also huge tyre explosions and delaminations, which are always apparently caused by debris and kerbs (like kerbs and debris appeared in F1 only in 2011 together with Pirelli).

        You really don’t see a difference?

    5. I haven’t seen any discussion here of Pirelli’s changes to the allowed cambers and tyre pressures for Monza.

      Andrew Benson (BBC)

      Plan is to increase minimum tyre pressure by 5psi on precautionary grounds this weekend. Quite a bit change, proportionally

      Hamilton on proposed tyre-pressure increase: “We’ll be out of the optimum range. More wear, less grip; it’s going to be a disaster”

      Tobias Gruner (Auto Motor und Sport)

      After criticism by teams Pirelli will lower tyre pressure by 1 PSI (22 PSI front / 21 PSI rear). Engineers warn it’s still way too high.

      1. .. and at the next race, Pirelli will insist the tires be filled with Acetylene, because of the cool fire effects when the tires let go.

        I’m not sure that telling the teams to jack 30% more air pressure into the tires and then running them around Monza of all places, is a good idea.

      2. Mainly because whenever I ask someone about it I get a different answer…

    6. It seems to me that Pirelli faces a very, very serious threat to its corporate image. That’s why I can’t imagine every folk at Pirelli NOT taking this issue with utmost seriousness.
      In this scenario, Pirelli’s answer clearly falls short, and is disappointing.

    7. All that noise about the cuts overshadows the real problem for Vettel: the absence of performance drop. Every tyre will explode at some point anyway, but Pirelli’s job was to make sure the designed-to-degrade concept plays its role. In that matter it failed at Spa.

    8. I think Vettel is good enough as a driver to stay on the racing line during the race, especially when he does not have to spend his race overtaking slower cars that force him away from the racing line. The racing line is clean enough, as most of the time anybody would notice during the race, when almost all of the debris is clearly on either sides of the line. I don’t consider the last race as one during which drivers were passing over debris all the time. So it is most probably that the Pirelli tyres are not strong enough to withstand the forces involved in a race like Spa, which means that this is similar to what happened in that famous Silverstone race when the Pirellis couldn’t even handle passing over the kerbs. It is very common for drivers to pass over kerbs over and over again during a race to gain time if there is no penalty.
      For that, I personally refuse to accept Pirelli’s excuses; tyres should be able to cope with such forces, even if that meant to withstand passing on some debris. They are in the ultimate racing formula for God’s sake. Currently I prefer to see Bridgestone again in Formula 1, even if that meant having races with no pit stops; at least we can watch drivers pushing all the race without worrying about degrading and exploding tyres.

    9. I will repeat what I said after Spa, and if I was at the race to Pirelli representatives. Tyres should not explode!! Period!!, NEVER, if the two failures in Spa had happened just a few seconds before or after there would have been horrific accidents.

    10. Tyres / tires fail, BUT the present tires used seem to be more prone to failure than safety or common sense (WTH is that??) would accept as OK. Nico R was incredibly lucky where his tire blew and there was no crash involved after the tire failure. But luck can go either way (Jules Bianchi died because of a one time situation which is what almost all driver fatalities are, unique situations) and instead of trying to whitewash the tire fragility the talk should be how to make the tires less vulnerable to failure. Yes racing is a dangerous sport but in 2016 tire failures like we are seeing at the present should be a thing on the very distant past. Thanks, Norris

    11. People keep talking like there are constant failures. One race weekend this year had two failures. Suggests a special situation.

      You can’t stop tyres exploding, you are driving around on four balloons. They also can’t really be immune to debris. The only solution to that is to make tyres solid. This would probably mean the cars would end up like 4x4s to absorb all the shocks in the suspension.

      The only realistic solution is to make the tyres really solid rubber but grip will drop significantly and longevity will be immense… People will still complain.

      I sort of feel this is turning into a bit of a bandwagon for the fans…

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