Debris from a first-lap collision has emerged as the likely cause of the puncture which triggered last year’s Formula 2 crash at Spa, which claimed the life of Anthonie Hubert.
[f1tv2020testa]A summary of the FIA’s investigation into the crash published earlier this month concluded the accident began when Giuliano Alesi lost control of his car due to “a loss of internal pressure of the right rear tyre”, but did not indicate what caused the loss of pressure.
Formula 2’s official tyre supplier Pirelli told RaceFans they believe Alesi’s tyre began to deflate after he ran over debris.
The company’s head of Formula 1 and car racing Mario Isola said their investigation indicated they “can exclude” the possibility that a structural failure of the tyre could have been responsible.
“We made [an] investigation, we checked the tyres or parts of the tyres and so on,” Isola told RaceFans. “And there is nothing that can be wrong on the tyres. The tyres were OK.”
The crash, which also left Juan Manuel Correa with serious leg injuries, began on the second lap of the race when Alesi’s car spun into a barrier at Raidillon. One theory considered by Pirelli is that shortly before Alesi’s tyre deflated he ran over debris from a first-lap collision involving Nicholas Latifi and Mick Schumacher.
“[It could] be a puncture because in turn one there was contact, some debris. We know how sharp carbon fibre is and it’s easy to cut the tyre.
“If you have a slow puncture you lose air and obviously it was turn three – Eau Rouge/Raidillon. [Going] downhill you lose the pressure and then obviously you have this cut on tyre can generate a spin or something like that.”
Isola said Pirelli’s inspection of tyres from other cars lent further weight to the theory as some also showed signs of damage due to debris. “I think it’s highly probable or almost sure that it was a puncture because we found some sign of small cuts also in other tyres,” he explained. “Sometime you have a puncture, you have a loss of air. Sometimes you have just a marking on the tread.”
The FIA’s summary stated the investigation “found no evidence that any driver failed to react appropriately in response to the yellow flag signal or to the circumstances on track” and that “the reaction of marshals and race control in deploying signaling and rescue services in relation to the accident is considered timely and good.”
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