Rear tyre delamination caused Vettel’s front wing failure

2019 Bahrain Grand Prix

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Sebastian Vettel revealed his spectacular front wing failure during the Bahrain Grand Prix was caused by his left-rear tyre delaminating.

The Ferrari driver damaged his tyres when he spun while trying to prevent Lewis Hamilton from overtaking him at turn four.

“I obviously had the spin,” Vettel explained to media including RaceFans in Bahrain. “I thought it was not too bad but during the turn-around I think the rear-left tyre delaminated.

“Pirelli is still searching, apparently, where the rest of the tyre is. Due to that I had a lot of vibrations so when I was going down the straight I had lots of vibrations and that caused the front wing to break.”

A Pirelli spokesperson confirmed to RaceFans that some delamination occurred on the tyre and he also punctured another.

“Vettel had a spin at high speed, which caused big flat spots on all four tyres (and vibrations that were potentially significant enough to remove the front wing).

“The left-rear tyre was subjected to the most load, and this did indeed partially delaminate against the abrasive asphalt in Bahrain. The right-front however was the only tyre that actually punctured following the incident: the other three tyres stayed up.”

Pirelli noted that “all of the above was as a direct consequence of the high speed spin” and “there was no issue with any of the tyres before this happened.”

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Author information

Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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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16 comments on “Rear tyre delamination caused Vettel’s front wing failure”

  1. Beautiful image!

    1. Looks like Vettel is Back to the Future from 1955.

  2. Vettel had a spin at high speed

    Given the average speeds of cars after the exit of turn 4 (uncompromised, no less) is roughly 95mph, in F1 terms I wouldn’t exactly Vettel was going at high speed.

  3. Soooo, the fact you cracked under the pressure of wheel-to-wheel racing again is the cause of your front wing failure, then?

    I like Seb, but if this season continues as it’s started, it’s going to get increasingly more difficult for him to justify those records and titles – Especially after last year.

    C’mon man, pull it together or those Silver Arrows are going to run away with it!

  4. Panagiotis Papatheodorou (@panagiotism-papatheodorou)
    1st April 2019, 11:37

    That spin must have been caused by the wind. I don’t remember seeing a spin happening at the exit of the corner. Really fortunate for him because his racing with Hamilton was great both in defense and offense.

    1. Yeah, I think it was a combination of getting on the gas after the corner and the wind. It just knocked him sideways, just a case of very bad luck.

      1. I think it was the same seagull from Canada 2016, it flew by and knocked him off the path!

        3 times in the previous 9 races? Also evil seagulls!

        1. Yeah…..you can never trust a seagull……especially when it spits in your eye
          …….or pecks a hole in your rear left tyre…… really nasty little buggers
          aren’t they…..?

  5. Granted Vettel’s recent tendencies to do himself in, I am yet a bit bemused by the extreme fragility of the tires.

    1. Right? A spin at less than 100 mph delaminates one tyre and punctures another. It’s laughable how bad these tyres are.

  6. It’s a bit odd for a simple spin to cause as much damage to the tyre as it apparently did & even stranger for that to then cause a total failure of the front wing.

    1. BlackJackFan
      3rd April 2019, 5:30

      Indeed… There is likely more to this story than the pat (as in: glib and/or unconvincing) remarks from VET and Isola…

  7. Can anyone explain to me how in this era of maximum safety (and minimum fun) Pirelli is allowed to produce unsafe tyres, creating dangers previously unimaginable in Formula 1 with other tyre manufacturers? I mean, I know rea$ons behind it, but it’s absolutely unacceptable such spins can lead to delaminations, because in the past they didn’t. Schumacher spun during 2004 Chinese GP at very speed, putting huge stress into tyres, yet 2 laps later on the same “destroyed” set he was only few tenths off lap record. And if talking about Bahrain, in 2006 Massa spun behind Alonso and yes, he had to change tyres, but drove the rest of that lap safely with no problems. Yet on Pirellis it seems every innocuous spin can lead to tyre failure. Why are FIA and Jean Todt, preachers of maximum safety, not doing anything about this problem?

    1. @armchairexpert: Possibly because Pirelli provides maximum F1 trackside sponsorship. And is the only company willing to degrade themselves to provide tyres designed to degrade. For the show!

  8. We’ve now had three total front wing failures in the two races since they introduced the new front wing, all of them following fairly minor incidents:
    – Kubica after touching a rear wheel
    – Ricciardo from driving over a bump in the road
    – Vettel due to flat spots

    These were extremely rare with the old wings. Do they need to look at strengthening the new wings? Or is this a deliberate change to cause more pit stops?

    1. Kubica needed a new wing in a situation that often requires a new wing. Ricciardo didn’t lose his to a bump in the road, he tore it off in a ditch – the car pitched down at the nose and the wing ran straight into the other side of the ditch. Very unfortunate for him, but that would have happened with any kind of wing; it was like hitting a wall.

      Vettel’s is the only one slightly out of the ordinary, and it’s a bit of a stretch to go from that to a general problem with the regulations/design. It’s not clear to me if the wing mounts failed because the shaking was so intense, or whether the shaking was so intense that the wing actually hit the ground and got torn off. (Apparently Vettel had a slowly deflating front tyre, so presumably ride height was dropping too, so I suspect the latter.)

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