Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Red Bull Ring, 2016

Vettel says his tyre exploded without warning

Austrian Grand Prix 2016

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Sebastian Vettel retired from the Austrian Grand Prix after his tyre exploded on lap 26 as he attempted to make his first stint on super-soft tyres for as long as possible.

That set of tyres had run for 29 laps including three laps in qualifying. The only other driver to attempt to run them as long was Romain Grosjean who lasted for a total of 26 laps before pitting, which helped elevate him to seventh position.

In the immediate aftermath of the incident he was asked whether he thought they were too ambitious he replied “No, I think it was fine. Other people went as long or longer. I didn’t go off anywhere.”

Vettel was adamant there was no warning that the tyre about to let go, “I didn’t feel nothing, there were no signs before, the tyre exploded out of the blue”

Pirelli released a tweet saying that “debris on track caused the tyre problem” six minutes after Vettel’s crash. However it was then deleted a few minutes later.

Vettel’s drama drew immediate comparisons with his tyre failure during the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps last year, which also happened without warning. He called the failure “unacceptable” at the time.

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Chris Turner
Being pelted by rain on his first visit to an F1 race at the 1998 British Grand Prix wasn't enough to dim Chris's passion...

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  • 35 comments on “Vettel says his tyre exploded without warning”

    1. It is unacceptable that a tyre explodes without warning, especially if the lap times are stable.

      1. Next year, FIA will place ai sensors inside tyres to warn drivers for explosions 0.00000000001s ahead of time :)

      2. Watching from Ham’s onboard it is clear that drivers were compromising their pace in order not only to avoid the yellow kerbs but also the red and the regular kerbs. The teams, Pirelli and FOM knew they were running risk with the new kerbs.

    2. Of course it exploded without warning, otherwise they would have pitted him earlier. Not sure if going long was the right strategy anyway. The softs seemed quite durable.

      1. He means there was nothing on the telemetry to show there was a drop in tire pressure in the immediate build up to the tire failing.

    3. Now the Blowout makes pirelli increase the tire pressures even more with out trying to find the root cause.

      1. how will they find the root cause if they can’t test

        1. I dont know what that means. They have thousands of laps of data on track with the specimen they have every weekend and yet they claim that they didn’t have time to test. What is Pirelli changing year after year to ask “we want to have more testing” Compound Mixtures / Belt of tire or what. They know how much load their product is facing in all kind of corners for the last 5 years.

    4. Traverse (@hellotraverse)
      3rd July 2016, 16:33

      What did Vettel expect, a text message from the tyre? Something along the lines of: “Hey Seb ma main man, wassup dawg! Ah, yeah so umm, I’m about to explode anytime now endangering you and other drivers…ciao!”

      Something like that? :P

      1. no, but maybe slower laptimes as usual if tires are worn out?

      2. Ferrari shouldn’t have to risk their drivers life to beat Mercedes because Pirelli isn’t able to make a tyre that doesn’t explode.

    5. His lap times were consistent 1:11 during that stint so no performance drop at all.
      25 laps consistent on 1:11 before it explodes with no indication?

      On the other hand.

      ”What do you want for your birthday Seb?”
      ”A competent strategy team.”

      1. he was leaning on curbs more to keep the times, as his last explosion happened in spa…. both times he claimed he was within the track limits, when cameras showed off track and over the curbs times and times again…

        ham was warned by team about curbs during the race…

        1. @mysticus I guess when I’m driving my road car I should just park it and walk fearing for my life as I can’t even trust the safety pressure gauges, as the tyres are not made to work at all.

          1. Depends on how you are driving your car… When you are on the road, do you drive over curbs? or hard shoulders or within white lines?

            Problem I see is curbs are to deter people going wider than track limits, yet everyone goes over limits to degrees, gets weird cuts and damages to tyre structure which we probably cant see on a car going 150-250kmh over curbs or 300+ on the straights…

    6. Ferrari were stupid today. They had two new US sets and 1 new SS set for Vettel and yet they left him out doing very slow laps. The track allows for overtaking, could have easily done a two stopper.

      The first mistake was not having enough softs though. Waiting for their explanation on why Vettel was out for so long.

      Doesn’t take away blame from Pirelli for exploding tires. Hopefully Ferrari learned their lesson for Spa.

      Shame for Vettel though. The car had the pace today for a decent challenge.

      1. Another mistake was not pitting Raikkonen earlier. I guess they were waiting for rain with Seb which wouldn’t work out either.

        1. Absolutely no idea what happened with Kimi. Looking at where Verstappen finished today, major chance of win gone.

    7. Ofcourse it is not okay for tyres to be blowing up during the race and should loose their grip instead, but, you could also argue that if a driver is pushing qualy or near qualy laps during a race on his tyres near the end of their life, they have the chance of blowing up.

      And what is it about them claiming to not have had any warning? Was spa last year not warning enough?

      PS Including his qualy run, I’d say the tyre pretty much blew when its life ended.

      1. I completely agree with you. We saw blistering during free practice like we had not seen in a quite some time. There was a lot of controversy with the kerbs issue and most drivers were staying off them in the race plus the tyre pressure was raised. We praise Pirelli when they are bold with their tyre choice because they make for a more exciting race and they give teams a wider range of options in terms of strategy. Please let’s not bash them now. I’m not going to go into whether Vettel’s strategy was good or bad. They just pushed that precise compound way too far and it blew up… end of story

        1. That the track temperatures were nowhere near what we saw on Friday/Saturday and that Vettel didn’t have any offs during the race; we will ignore that as well. Not to mention the consistency in lap times just before the explosion.

          Finally Pirelli’s cheap act of tweeting about debris and deleting it.

        2. @guidof1 Tires are supposed to wear out – not explode without warning. It’s as simple as that. Ferrari never pushed them beyond their ‘operating window’. Pirelli have a history of issues in this regard, so the bashing is well-deserved.

    8. Not sure if they do it already, but Pirelli should say before each race: “the soft tyre is expected to last 30 laps”. And if the teams want to push that further, it’s at their own risk. After all, it’s only the teams that have all the data to back up such a risk.

      Tyres suffer a lot, and it depends on track conditions, car setup, suspension design and a lot of other things. The loads involved are all specific to each car, even within the same team. The teams know better of course, but this was the only tyre failure of the race and it happened to the guy that was pushing the tyres the furthest.

      I also don’t know what kind of information you get before a tyre explodes. Isn’t it catastrophic failure? such situations don’t give you much clues before it happens.

      1. @fer-no65 I thibk avcording to Sky Pirelli said htat the tyres were supposed ro last ≈30 laps before hitting the cliff/needing to atop/ something like that.

        NOT 30 laps before exploding though

      2. Michael Brown (@)
        3rd July 2016, 18:04

        A vibration would precede a blowout.

      3. Actually they did it, planning 16 lap max on SS.

        1. Do you have a source for that?

    9. @fer-no6 “Not sure if they do it already, but Pirelli should say before each race: “the soft tyre is expected to last 30 laps”.”

      They don’t give outright life limits but they do give teams recommendations on how many laps they expect a tyre to do before falling off the performance cliff.

      This weekend I gather than teams were told the Super-Soft’s would do 30-35 laps before hitting the performance cliff.

    10. The carcass should last a full race distance unless it is exposed through wear.

    11. Michael Brown (@)
      3rd July 2016, 18:04

      Pirelli tires exploding without warning? Nothing unusual here.

      1. Your comment against Pirelli in baseless.. onll Vettel had a blowout because Ferrari chose to keep him out longer and while pushing hard to stay on the lead.. knowing that pushing will have more wear than just cruising. It is common sense that his tires will have more wear. Clearly Ferrari is the one to blame by another F-upped strategy with both Kimi and Sebastian

    12. There’s a difference between performance drop off and exploding without warning. It’s lucky there were no cars on the path where his car rolled backwards.

      Pirelli need to make their product safe before someone else becomes a statistic.

    13. A find it amazing really. Pirelli is in F1 since 2011, and they still cant produce a tyre that can sustain the forces of a F1 race! I’m not talking about degradation here, I know it is imposed by FIA and FOM that the tyres lose performance according to temperature and other variables, but come on! A tyre exploding because of the lenght of the stint is ridiculous! It should lose performance, not risk someones life. It’s total hypocrisy to keep testing halos and aeroscreens for the sake of safety, while the goddamn tyres can explode because of use, causing an accidents at more than 300 km/h!

    14. It’s cool to see when they explode.
      The debris went so high! Someone must have snipered Vettel’s tyre for sure.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VwvsYQVETe0

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