Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Silverstone, 2017

Pirelli says slow puncture caused Vettel’s tyre failure

2017 British Grand Prix

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Formula one’s official tyre supplier Pirelli says a slow puncture caused the failure on Sebastian Vettel’s tyre which cost him a potential podium finish at Silverstone.

Both Ferraris were struck by tyre failures in the latter stages of the British Grand Prix. According to Pirelli, Vettel suffered a slow puncture which developed into a full failure of the tyre as he drove back to the pits.

“Pirelli has concluded the analysis on Sebastian Vettel’s damaged front-left… soft tyre which affected him two laps from the finish of the British Grand Prix,” the manufacturer said in a statement.

“As appeared clear since Sunday afternoon, a full investigation has now confirmed that the original cause of the failure was a slow puncture. The consequent driving back to the pits on an underinflated and then flat tyre led to the final failure.”

Several laps before the end of the race Vettel commented “I have no more fronts,” on the team radio. “They’ve been blistering for 20 laps. I have zero front.”

Pirelli also said it has not yet determined what caused Raikkonen’s tyre to fail. “Kimi Raikkonen’s damaged tyre shows less evidence of what occurred, so further tests and analysis are still ongoing in Pirelli’s laboratories and indoor testing facilities,” it said.

“It will take a few more days to reach a definitive conclusion.”

Raikkonen’s tyre appeared to remain inflated as parts of the tread came away. He was able to return to the pits more quickly than Vettel and continued to finish in third place, while his team mate fell to seventh.

2017 British 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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32 comments on “Pirelli says slow puncture caused Vettel’s tyre failure”

  1. Miltiadis (@miltosgreekfan)
    21st July 2017, 16:48

    So Massa suffered 2 punchures(slow as well), Ocon had 2 punchures in Monaco(perhaps from a draining cover). In Silverstone we had the 3 Ferraris…Well,those tyres are really sensible & need to be fixed.. Its not he first year with many punchures and just like 2013, the teams havent push the tyre life to “justify” a punchure(Like Vettel Austria 2016). Pirelli needs to do a better job(although in-season test with all the teams would definetely help)

    1. Miltiadis (@miltosgreekfan)
      21st July 2017, 16:49

      * 2 Ferraris obv :)

    2. pastaman (@)
      21st July 2017, 17:25

      So 9 races x 20 teams x 4 tires x the number of pit stops per race, and there have only been a handful of punctures. I’d say that’s pretty good…

      1. pastaman (@)
        21st July 2017, 17:28

        Err 20 cars, not teams.

        1. Well, not wishing to appear pedantic, and I am not the OP, but surely, Hamilton has ‘his’ team, Bottas has his etc etc, so, 20 teams…..maybe?

        2. Miltiadis (@miltosgreekfan)
          21st July 2017, 17:38

          If we see how many punchures we have per year in the Pirelli years vs the Bridgestone slicks,the difference is big…

      2. Umm, how is it good? 9 races * 20 cars, each driving for about 90 mins per race have had at least 6 punctures. That is one puncture every 2700 minutes.
        Assuming you drive 100 mins every day (to work, groceries, etc.), that is one puncture every month. Does that sound good enough to you now?

        1. Well, I guess we should ban every driver who ever made contact with another car, then. I for one haven’t had an accident in 20 years of driving. How are these guys considered good drivers?

        2. Time isn’t really how you should be measuring it Sumedh. Distance travelled would be more appropriate.

          1. Total combined distance of first 9 races: 1,877 miles

            1,877*20 = 37,540 miles (obviously not all cars have covered full distance so it’s an overestimate).

            If we’re going off 6 punctures, that’s a puncture every 6,257 miles at most. We’re comparing apples and oranges here, but if a regular road car punished its tyres in a comparable fashion for 6,257 miles I’m not sure they’d last too long either.

          2. If you pushed a roadcar tyre like that it wouldnt last many laps, if any.

        3. Michael Brown (@)
          22nd July 2017, 3:43

          I don’t cut the tires of my road car on other road car’s wings

      3. And since Vettel told the team a couple of laps before the failure that “his fronts are gone” they rather should have just pitted him to make sure he finished.

        1. @bascb I agree with you 100%. Ferrari gambled and it rightfully bit them with Seb.

          That puncture was the perfect way to end the first half of the year especially since the Baku row.

    3. I remember how VET did in the WDC the last time Pirelli made tyre modifications post-silverstone

      1. Miltiadis (@miltosgreekfan)
        21st July 2017, 17:41

        @davidnotcoulthard The problem is,we must not reach halfway in the season to figure out what the problems are…& like 2013,any tyre change can affect the championship just like 2013 when RBR did 9/9 wins.There must be more preseason tyre test,with all team participating & not only the “big” ones.

        1. All teams were offered to test but most declined. Only Ferrari, Merc and RB bothered? Both Ferrari cars had the issue at the same corner. A few laps earlierv2 cars came together going into the previous corner…coincidence?

          1. Miltiadis (@miltosgreekfan)
            21st July 2017, 20:31

            Ιf it was debris,Pirelli would have said that & the tyres would have more violently explode.This didnt happen,so it seems that there was a structual issue related with the Ferrari car/front suspension settings.As for the tests,if i remember correctly,most teams didnt go,because of money issue.Testing is an part that F1 must change its aprroach & return to the days of unlimited testing.

        2. Michael Brown (@)
          22nd July 2017, 3:46

          9/10 wins, actually. The revised tires were introduced in Hungary, which Hamilton won

      2. (I mean that comment as a joke but unfortunately later realised it was never gonna work without an /s – my bad, oh well)

  2. The problem isn’t with the tyre, it’s the car set up Ferrari used in the race and how the drivers managed them. Other teams managed longer stints on the soft tyre without issue.

    1. Other drivers didn’t badly flatspot their left front tyre either.

  3. I don’t understand. If there’s no rubber left on the tyre, then pit or face the consequences. Of course the tyre will be susceptible to a puncture if it’s practically down to the canvas.

    Not Pirreli’s fault, more Ferrari for pitting so early for the undercut.

  4. F1 needs tires with much less degradation, no matter any other negative considerations. You care about safety don’t you?

    1. degradation is not the same thing as failing tyres.

  5. So unsurprisingly Pirelli says it was a puncture and not a construction fault. Again hinting at Ferrari going too long on the tyre.

    It feels like Pirelli has a lot more tyre issues than any manufacturer has had in F1. Perhaps apart from Michelin during that fateful race weekend in the US. Funny how Ecclestone pushed dragged and pushed Pirelli down everyone’s throat to spite Michelin and then Pirelli performs even worse.

  6. A slow puncture that happened very fast, they mean.

    1. Inching slowly towards the cliff edge, then plummeting fast.

  7. Vettel had the oldest tires with the biggest flat spot on it. There is nothing structurally wrong with Pirelli tires.

  8. Peppermint-Lemon (@)
    22nd July 2017, 9:03

    Meh we need multiple tyre manufacturers in F1. Pirelli have been awful I think. I was excited about their return years ago but it’s just been a poor show since.

    Bring back tyre wars.

    1. @peppermint-lemon, that would be a situation where, at best, two teams might benefit at the most probable expense of the rest of the grid, since in previous tyre wars tyre manufacturers have almost always backed just one team and screwed the rest.

  9. Like all other teams, Ferrari monitor tyre pressures very closely. If there was a slow puncture, it would have been spotted by the engineers prior to failure – surely?
    There is no doubt in my mind that Ferrari were doing something slightly too aggressive with the car set up, and/or pushing harder than most to make up for being slower relative to Mercedes at Silverstone, but a slow puncture should have been picked up way before it caused any structure problem in the tyre… So, either Pirelli are fibbing or the Ferrari engineers missed it.

    I don’t blame Pirelli for the failure, only Ferrari had an issue – so it’s car specific… Unless this really was a slow puncture and the team did miss the slow(ish) pressure drop/temperature rise that would happen as it built up to failure. I’d love to see the team data.

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