Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Red Bull Ring, 2016

Pirelli confirms debris as cause of Vettel puncture

2016 Austrian Grand Prix

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Pirelli has confirmed Sebastian Vettel’s tyre failure during the Austrian Grand Prix was caused by debris.

Formula One’s official tyre supplier issued a statement on Wednesday following their analysis of the Ferrari driver’s right-rear tyre which blew while he was leading at the Red Bull Ring.

“Analysis of the tyre issue that affected Sebastian Vettel at the recent Austrian Grand Prix has been concluded and the results shared with Ferrari,” said Pirelli.

“The few remaining parts of the tyre in question, together with an in-depth comparison to other tyres used in the race, reveal no signs of fatigue or structural failure in the right-rear tyre itself.”

“Consequently, the issue appears to be caused by an item of debris, which led to the breakage of the tyre.”

Pirelli initially attributed the cause of the crash to debris in a Tweet sent six minutes after Vettel’s retirement from the race. However the Tweet was swiftly deleted minutes later:

Vettel retired in similar circumstances at the Belgian Grand Prix last year when a tyre failed while he was running in third place.

2016 Austrian 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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  • 70 comments on “Pirelli confirms debris as cause of Vettel puncture”

    1. So yet more invisible & mysterious debris, yeah right OK.

      How many more times are they going to use this excuse without providing any evidence as to what this debris was & where it had come from?

      How much longer are F1 teams going to be supplied with such rubbish tyres?

      1. The tyres have been great this year. There has never been a season gone by without tyre blow outs no matter the supplier. Just bad luck i guess.

      2. That 6 minute tweet is an absolute scandal… And it wasn’t a puncture, it was catastrophic failure at the end of a tyre’s life.

        1. Yea it looks like the tyre just failed

    2. Does it matter what caused it? The tyre should explode and throw debris 30ft in the air!!!

        1. I’m pretty sure it’s Bernie’s idea to improve the show. Tyre shreds should hit 30 feet minimum!

          1. Of course, that’s the reason behind the high PSIs.

    3. Pirelli again covering themselves by inventing mysterious debris.

      1. But wasn’t there debris all over the track from all the incidents we had here both in F1 and in the enormous amount of support races, right @vettel1? Even though no one saw those crashes and races nor did anyone see debris around the track.

        Yeah, I can see that the drivers are seriously vexed and concerned about this kind of thing. Pirelli needs to sort their tyres out, because this really is not a good “explanation”. When we read what their investigation brought up, it looks like they just put it on debris being the cause as they were not able to find anything clearer from looking at data, looking at the (small shards) of the tyre remaining and saying “we just don’t know” would probably look worse for their bosses.

    4. Im really surprised Really really surprised
      They used same un-sighted and non existent debris passage again and again for nth time after a Pirelli tire failure

    5. if it was debris, it probably was rather small, with noone seeing it, and even then the tyre shouldnt blow up like a bomb!

      1. With the higher psis being run and the amount of torque being put through the tires by that engine, it seems about right that you’d get so violent a disintegration of the tire if it gets a puncture or other serious trauma.

    6. I have never seen a F1 tyre from up close, but I ‘m starting to imagine it like a big black balloon.

      1. ColdFly F1 (@)
        6th July 2016, 19:45

        exactly, @petrucci. You even got the colour correct!
        And like any body where the internal pressure is higher than the external, it can blow up.

    7. We don’t know what caused the failure so by the process of elimination it had to be debris. I can’t understand how the teams which are so reliant on data and analysis can be OK with that….not that they really have a choice.

      1. In a world in which you can sue for any old reason why can’t they sue for that?

    8. I accept the debris excuse since Ferrari appears to accept this as well. As far as its being mysterious and invisible, it really doesn’t take much to cut a tire. Vettel running over a small piece of carbon fiber or a piece of bodywork or a screw would be enough to make a cut in it. Just because we can’t see it, doesn’t mean it wasn’t there.

      1. Puncutre = / Explosion. It didn’t got punctured it just exploded.

        1. How do you know? You don’t. Your armchair does not offer you a view of the track surface. A cut in a tire can literally make it explode, because tires are pressurized.

          Then when it explodes, it loses it’s structure. The wheel is rotating at an insane rate, so the blown up tire comes apart.

          1. A Cut in tire can make it explode ?? the Structural changes they made after 2013 is to avoid exactly the very same Issue and yet we find every year a tire Explosion. These are the same Pirelli who said that there is an internal layer beneath the main layer so that they can make the Lap time drop work but no team can find that layer yet and after how the last year and now they are saying its a debris and we need to believe it because they say so?
            I may be an arm chair expert or may be even not but we have some thing that Pirelli doesn’t have that’s common sense. When ever a Explosive Puncture was caused Pirelli immediately puts the Review as Debris caused explosion yet drivers say they haven’t gone over any debris.
            Why suddenly Ric tire got punctured in Spain why Ros got a sudden slow puncture in Montreal why Vettel got such a explosive puncture in Austria
            We get the same answer Debris by Pirelli

          2. F1 is supposed to be the peak of automotive technology – surely they could create tyres that don’t explode if they hit debris? Doesn’t the technology exist to monitor the tyres and warn if they are about to fail?

            I do have some sympathy for Pirelli though – they set minimum tyre pressures and the teams cheat their way around it by heating the rims. We all know they’re doing it – it’s common knowledge. If Vettel had been hurt, who would be to blame for allowing the teams to cheat their way around this rule? I’m sure it would have been a talking point in court!

        2. The cut is just a spark. Whether a tire explodes or not depends on a whole host of factors.

        3. I love all the engineers and “i know everything” people in here. everyone’s a genius tire engineer now? well done!

          1. To be fair, you don’t need to be any kind of expert to read Pirelli’s statement and understand that they did not falsify the presence of a defect and that the role of debris is mere speculation on their part. If you have no evidence of debris or defect why does it make more sense to pick debris rather than just saying you don’t know?

          2. I may not be a tire engineer, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express…..

    9. The tyre exploded, it’s in about a million pieces and nobody can prove differently so Pirelli claims it was “magic debris” and we’re all supposed to accept that?
      I think a unicorn stabbed it with his horn! Yeah, that’s it…it was the unicorn!!!!

      1. They could find no construction issues. How can you, a internet comment poster, make the insane claim there no debris on track when there was multiple incidents?

        You can’t, so don’t.

        1. Im pretty sure his claim is thats its impossible to see on the tyre what caused the explosion and the Pirelli statement should be “we dont know”.

        2. Mark,
          I can tell you this: There is plenty of footage from onboard cameras on Seb’s car so if there was a piece of debris he ran over that was big enough to cause a tyre to explode, than it will show up on the film. So if Pirelli is so certain it was a piece of debris then they should show the proof of that either on film or on some “cut” on the tyre.


          as @rethla says, they should just admit they don’t know. That tyre was COMPLETELY shredded and parts of it were hanging onto and even ingested by Rosberg’s side pod intakes. They clearly have zero idea what happened and should not be allowed to blame it on debris.

      2. Pirelli would never say, maybe even believe, something that completely fits their narrative and intrests!

        I’ll bet it was a british racing green unicorn with glittery sparkles. Because it went after Vettel. Except of course it was invisible.

    10. Seb ‘pop’ Vettel. Only he can explode a tire without trying too hard.

      1. Teh Michael Jackson of tire pop.

    11. Now will Pirelli explain why the tire exploded into pieces, showering Rosberg with bits of rubber?

    12. F1 tracks should send out a road sweeping truck during a safety car period.

      1. Exactly! In fact I was just thinking on Sunday about whether there were a way to make safety car periods take even longer! At the moment they are just too short and that isn’t spoiling the race enough for my liking.

        1. Yep, an mandatory 15min sweep of the track every safetycar should do it.

          Ofc. Pirelli will just blame debris anyway.

          1. And whilst this mandatory 15min sweep is happening the cars should return to the pits and be prepared for a full restart!

    13. Well I don’t care if they’re debris or not, a tire shouldn’t explode like that..plain and simple. It’s a race track, what do you expect? One off instance is understandable but to these explosions every season just shows how poor these black circles are being made by Pirelli.

    14. Why is the company in charge of making the tires allowed to investigate why the tire exploded? No one will ever believe what they conclude happened.

      1. + 1 An independent Audit is needed by a Lab of some kind….

    15. Michael Brown (@)
      6th July 2016, 18:12

      Wouldn’t debris cause a puncture?

      1. they blew up right as the Ferrari was changing it’s attitude to put more weight on the rear. (at the bottom of the straight). If Ferrari carry more weight on their rear it’s possible the shift in weight to the rear was the final pin in those tires which probably had run over the dangerous curbs (like Spa) numerous times.

        1. *if they carry more weight on the rear, it’s possible the effect was exaggerated. I suspect Ferrari run a heavier rear, causing more extreme use cases, especially when curbs that cut tires up are concerned.

        2. look at the last turn before the start-finish straight. Thats probably where the puncture occurred, probably a minor, blown out on change of weight/max power.

          1. *anyone got video of Vettel coming out of the last turn before the blow up?

    16. It looked to me that it was the rotation that threw the debris so high after the tire blew out. It’s not like there was an unusually high level of “explosion” that was so much more extreme than many others that we’ve seen in F1. In this case the blow out occurred at 200+ mph on a straight and that cause the debris to go unusually high.

      It doesn’t seem unreasonable to me that debris could have caused it. The track almost always has bits of carbon fibre at many places.

    17. Just because there weren’t any obvious construction issues above the norm does not mean that the construction is adequate for handling the stresses exerted on it.

      It is awfully convenient that this undocumented debris punctured the tyre of the car that happened to be on worn tyres – the fundamental structure shouldn’t be compromised by compound degradation.

    18. We new the result of the investigation before Vettel car had stopped spinning. Why waste a few days we all knew it was debris. Nice if they could say exactly what debris.

    19. I would tend to believe Pirelli
      It’s well publicised that Pirelli want to be able to test tyres but aren’t given access
      So Pirelli’s preparation of a tyre for a track can depend only on data sent by the FIA
      Given the bad press they have received in the past I assume there quality control is tight
      So the cause is either
      1. Poor data
      2. Poor quality control
      3. On track damage
      Given also the number of broken wishbones, which I think the FIA wouldn’t have expected
      I would say the cause of the blow out is 1 and/or 3

    20. It was totally Lewis’s fault!!!

      1. He lied about his relationship with the Nico, he trashed his hotel room, mislead us about the case for war in Iraq, and advised Hillary to keep her own email server.

        We should just stop listening to him.

        1. @slotopen
          Don’t forget, he’s also responsible for alien probing! That naughty Lewis!

    21. It’s like they construct tyres without taking into account there’ll be debris on a race track, where drivers collide and litter the Tarmac with carbon fibre.

    22. Pirelli, oh how foolish are you. How much did you spend investigating this?

      Did you not know there are at least 20 tyre failure experts on F1 Fanatic. They’re all here, in this thread. Employ them all and never again will a tyre capitalistically fail. No more infinite variables, they got them all covered…

      1. capitalistically!?

        Perfect auto-correct!

        Catastrophically in fact!

      2. Maybe you can explain the 6 minute tweet @psynrg? Debris is clearly the default position, whereas it should be ‘we don’t know’. But maybe you’re right, what do _we_ know?

    23. JungleMartin
      6th July 2016, 23:02

      There seems to be a lot of speculation, opinion and uninformed comment here. Let’s get back to basics…

      – Teams have tyre pressure monitors.
      – They might feel unable to communicate slow pressure changes to drivers, but a rapidly deflating tyre is surely a safety issue.
      – However, we also know that not all radio comms are made public. (Regardless of relatively recent clampdown on permitted radio comms.)
      – I say: A delaminated but correctly inflated tyre should not disintegrate. (Let’s not use the word explode, because that implies over-pressure.)
      – I say: A disintegrating tyre implies overheating of tyre due to pressure loss and excessive movement of carcass.

      So I say, I would expect there must have been pressure loss before disintegration.

      When did it occur?

      Was the driver warned?

      Could it really be so quick and so catastrophic that neither the team nor the driver could do anything about it?

      1. there is no point in talking about tire pressures unless you are going to address corner weights, suspension loads/geometry. Tire pressure is a function of a few dimensions, it is not just down to the tires, even if the tires are designed and built with very specific use cases/performance envelope in mind.

      2. So I say, I would expect there must have been pressure loss before disintegration.

        When did it occur?

        Ferrari halve explicitly said there wasn’t AFAIK

      3. You are looking for the spark before an explosion. You wont find it and the team certainly didnt react to it.

        1. If the tyre was cut deep enough ‘by debris’ to affect its integrity then there wouldn’t be any pressure loss before it ‘exploded’, the carcass would suddenly let go as it failed.

    24. jimmi cynic
      7th July 2016, 7:53

      F1, the pinnacle of auto technology and they still don’t have run-flat tires. Pfft!

      1. And that would be the last pfft! we hear around here…

        1. hehe, not if you are Seb Vettel it would appear!

    25. If i get this correctly the rationale is this:

      Bodies with content that is stored at a higher pressure than ambient can explode.

      There are many ways in in which such an explosion can occur.

      The parties involved have had access to lots of data.

      The parties involved have concluded that an outside penetrator somehow compromised the structural integrity of the body in question leading to an explosion.

      So, why is this hard to accept for people without the understanding or data?

      1. Because the conclusion is actually “Well– we don’t see any signs of internal failure, so it must be debris”. Negative proof is a poor justification for a conclusion.

    26. “We don’t a see nuthin’, so it’s a gotta be debris!”

      Has a Pirelli tire ever failed due to a failure within the tire itself, or are they only destroyed by external forces?

      Can we get Michelin to investigate Pirelli’s tire failures? ‘cuz I’m thinking there might be a small conflict of interest with Pirelli investigating it’s own blow outs.

    Comments are closed.