Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Monza, 2015

Mercedes investigation a “misunderstanding” – Pirelli

2015 Italian Grand Prix

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Pirelli has described Mercedes’ post-race investigation at Monza as a “misunderstanding” and will meet with the FIA this weekend to prevent similar incidents in future.

Lewis Hamilton’s Italian Grand Prix victory appeared to be under threat when FIA technical delegate Jo Bauer reported one of his tyres had been 0.3psi below the minimum starting pressure. Pirelli issued revised pressure limits at Monza following the high-speed tyre blow-outs seen at Spa.

“During these days, we will also be defining, together with the FIA, a clearer procedure enabling the teams to more easily follow the rules regarding tyre usage,” said Pirelli ahead of this weekend’s race in Singapore.

“This is important to avoid any misunderstandings, by giving the teams more precise indications to comply with, thus avoiding what happened to Mercedes in Monza.”

Hamilton’s victory was upheld after the stewards ruled Hamilton’s tyres had been at the correct pressure when they were fitted to the car.

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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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12 comments on “Mercedes investigation a “misunderstanding” – Pirelli”

  1. I still don’t understand why is a puncture here and there suddenly such a big deal. I started watching in the first half of the 90s and I remember punctures being ever-present part of the racing. Only in the last few years it started being a big deal.
    Did we have any other tyre explosion this year during the race? (not counting contact-related punctures) It really isn’t strange, especially when drivers keep driving outside of the track. Back in the day you had gravel and grass and people weren’t as inclined to drive outside of the track, and even then, there were bunch of tyre problems.

    1. @brace I think the issue isn’t so much that there are punctures – as you say, punctures have always been a part of motor racing – but specifically that these Pirelli tyres don’t just deflate when they get a puncture. They explode, suddenly and without warning. Exactly what happened at Silverstone, and an issue which was allegedly resolved by changing the tyre construction.

      1. That’s the problem though – how do you design tyres that are designed to degrade, that can be driven across debris in the runoffs at top speed, that deflate slowly if punctured and that will be run at pressures/cambers that are above/below your guidelines and manage achieve all of this with next to no testing!?

        On top of that, you are given a set of rules that the cars will race to (ie not going all 4 wheels off the track) and then find out that the rules won’t be policed meaning that your tyres are being used for something they weren’t designed!

      2. most tires explode when they delaminate going close to 200 mph. Most people don’t notice slow to severe punctures because they are not as sensational or tv worthy.

        1. @pcxmerc Right, but the issue is that they delaminate in the first place. It seems that when the tyres pick up damage, the debris doesn’t penetrate the carcass, it creates a weak spot, which eventually becomes a failure point after a while. At which point the tyre completely delaminates and explodes. As I say, that’s not normal. What should happen is that the tyre picks up a puncture, and then loses pressure, but remains significantly in-tact even once it’s deflated.

      3. No, two tires exploded at Spa. Lots of other current-spec Pirelli tires have suffered punctures, without exploding, with the supposedly “dangerously low” tire pressures.

    2. Those punctures were due to debris or hitting other cars’ wings. Not by the tyres wearing out after less than two thirds of the race distance.

    3. @brace the problem is that these crappy pirelli tyres have suffered way more cuts & caused way more problems than any tyre manufacturer i have ever seen supply racing tyres over the 40 odd years i’ve been following the sport.

      as mark webber said on sky last week we talk about tyre related problems now more than we do the actual racing & that is simply wrong.

      never in f1’s history has the governing body had to step in and regulate the way teams setup there tyres/suspension because the tyres are not good enough to withstand normal racing conditions.

      its also not as if its just the fans & media who are raising concerns with the tyres, its also the teams and drivers who are surely in far better position to know how common or not the sort of tyre failures we have been seeing since 2011 are. i cannot recall a time in f1’s history before where we have seen so many tyres blow themselfs apart the way these pirelli’s have & it seems the teams & drivers know this also.

    4. The problem is simple: We have no tire war. When there are two tire manufacturers, a tire failure can be seen as acceptable collateral in the hunt for the marketing gold of being the championship-winning tire. When there is only one spec tire, there is realistically no marketing potential. Sure, the winning car was on your tire, but so were all the slowest cars. And so there’s no possibility of good marketing, just bad — people seeing your tires blowing up and believing them to be fragile.

      And that is what has Pirelli’s panties in a bunch. The answer is simple: Bring back the tire war, or switch to a spec tire *which is unbranded*, and pay appropriately for that.

      1. Not sure about the spec tire thing, but otherwise the only thing I disagree with you on is that it needn’t be called a tire ‘war’ any more than any other aspect of competition within F1 be called that, whether between drivers, teams, power unit makers, brake makers etc etc. It’s all a competition as far as I am concerned, and I don’t get why when it comes to tires it is usually called a ‘war’…like that concept is ‘evil’ or something.

    5. Does @brace check back in here for responses to his question? I mean if he had bothered to read one of the 500 other posts on this matter thoughout 100 threads, he’d KNOW the issue isn’t “a puncture here and there”. Nor would anyone CONSTANTLY bring up track limits when it’s a moot point until the rules are enforced/changed.

  2. That a ‘misunderstanding’ caused Merc to believe they were under threat of a penalty mid-race and affect their approach during the remainder (the knock-on of which may affect engine life if they turned up the power to help Hamilton pull a gap) and left everybody questioning the result for hours after is shambolic. I’d love to know whether the stewards took the figures out of context or whether Pirelli provided the number without any context in the first place. I would prefer it to be the first option I think- a supplier who should have the best understanding of something so fundamental to their equipment making such a basic error and influencing a race makes me uncomfortable.

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