Silverstone restoring Becketts kerb to previous specification following tyre cuts

2020 70th Anniversary Grand Prix

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Silverstone is changing a kerb at Becketts which may have contributed to the cuts which were discovered on some tyres during the British Grand Prix weekend.

The exit kerb where turn 13 leads into turn 14 was shortened ahead of last weekend’s event. Several drivers ran wide at the corner and Esteban Ocon suggested that caused an increase in the number of cuts seen on tyres.

The kerb is now being extended and will be closer to its 2019 form for this weekend’s second consecutive race at the track. Pirelli’s head of motorsport Mario Isola confirmed the change for this weekend’s 70th Anniversary Grand Prix when asked by RaceFans.

“Probably some of the cuts that we found on Friday were caused by that and by the fact that some debris was trapped in the kerb obviously some cuts on the tyre,” he said. “They are working around that, it’s a good action, it’s a good idea to have this small modification that is helping the situation.”

Lewis Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas and Carlos Sainz Jnr all suffered front-left tyre failures in the final four laps of the race. Pirelli said the failures were due to the exceptionally high loads Formula 1 cars put upon their tyres last weekend.

Bottas, Ocon, Max Verstappen and Sebastian Vettel all had to replace one of their tyres between qualifying and the race after cuts were discovered on them.

“It was due to cuts that were on the tread, they were quite deep,” Isola explained. “So we declared to the FIA that those four tyres were not safe to run and the FIA authorised the change.

“Cuts have been a topic of the week, I have to say, because of the fact that in some corners the cars are running wider, going somewhere [into] run-off areas and we had some parts of the circuit where the gravel was coming [on].

“The cuts in qualifying were caused, I think, mainly from the gravel that was on-track due to Hamilton. When he spun, it brought a lot of gravel on track and some drivers were running on the gravel. When the tyre is hot it is very soft so that’s why we had some cuts on tyres.”

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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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28 comments on “Silverstone restoring Becketts kerb to previous specification following tyre cuts”

  1. I see a lot of “may be”s and “probably”s. Does it mean they’re just throwing things against the wall and see what sticks?

    1. @rockgod They have to, because there’s never enough of the tyre left after these incidents to make an true diagnosis, but based on what they know (the abrasive track following resurfacing, the kerb change(s), the gravel, the length the tyres were being run for at the end of the race etc.) they’ve suggested changing the kerb.

      I also suspect Pirelli will issue usage limits on each of the compounds – have they confirmed if they’re walking back the one-step-softer plan? Will they have enough hard tyres in stock to bring to the race on short notice?

      1. I seem to recall them saying the softer tyres will remain but the minimum pressures will be increased for 70GP to reduce the deformation in the tyre.

    2. sounds like it, may be to early to tell.

  2. So is it the loads, or the kerbs, or the gravel?

    I’m sure they’ll be able to add a few items to the shopping list of excuses.

    1. So stay off the curbs. Or put in grass and then a paved run-off.

  3. Pirelli is as always. Facepalming

  4. It was rash of them to put the rotating knives in the kerbs….

  5. Well they cant kill the drivers so this change has to happen. Sometimes just leaving stuff alone is the best idea. Change the car or change the track?

  6. Oh, as I thought. First, higher tyre pressures, and now altering the kerbs.

  7. What if, you know, we just started adhering to the rules – If you are on the kerbs, you are outside of the white line. Being off track to gain an advantage is not allowed.

    So just stop doing so. I am sure laptimes will be higher, but does that really matter?

    1. @bascb

      A car is deemed on track if any of the 4 wheels is touching the white line. So therefore the curbs should be considered part of the racing surface. Touching the curbs is not being off track. Please learn the rules

      1. Sigh @megatron. What news do you think you put into the discussion there?

        I know the rules. And they just mention being on track and the white line being the track limit. Nothing about being allowed to be completely off track (as is tolerated in quite a few corners at most tracks), or being OK if you just go to the very edge of that white line.

        The currently accepted approach is indeed that if any tiny bit of the car is ABOVE the white line if looked at from straight above (remember Monza where a Ferrari wheel’s bulging sidewall being deemed to be above that white line was enough not to penalize and take away that laptime, it was not even touching that white line), then they do not get penalized for it. And at many many corners they don’t even look at it when drivers go off track, since it is accepted when people claim they did not gain an advantage.

        My post was therefore a call to CHANGE how they treat track limits in practice to be closer to what the rules really say. There is no reason to allow the cars to run off track at most corners and straights, or almost completely off track at the rest of them, and have to explicitly tell the drivers this before every single venue where that is the case.

    2. tony mansell
      6th August 2020, 9:20

      The track owners used to have your attitude in the 70s, ‘just slow down’ if you don’t want to crash and die. Fortunately there were brighter people around who pushed through the changes that meant people didn’t die whilst racing.

  8. Nitpicking: isn’t the kerb at Chapel instead of Becketts? Sure, it’s the exit kerb of Becketts, but the left hander is called Chapel, and the kerb is inside that corner.

  9. The kerb shown in the picture doesn’t really look like the issue that’s being discussed

    I think it’s the kerb later (on the outside of Beckets or inside of Chapel) where there was a “hole” visible in front of it. The kerb (just not visible) on the left of the article picture.

    The German F1 reporters were surprise Vettel was going through that so hard. They kept talking about it being dangerous since it would get deeper during the race.

    What’s surprising is that the teams didn’t tell their drivers to stay away from it. I remember when in Spa there were tire issues there also was finger pointing to debris and going over the kerbs. Mercedes told their drivers to stay off the kerbs. Ferrari didn’t and Vettel’s tyre blew.

    In that case a tire blew during training so they investigated that incident, but you’d think they inspect the tires coming off the cars in practice too. If it’s covered in cuts then you’d know upfront a tire blow out would be likely.

  10. Surely Pirelli contributed to the problem with their guidance on the number of laps the tyres could go. Very optimistic on this fast new surface track. By the time the teams recognised the discrepancy it was too late to come in and not lose position significantly.

  11. Did we get any clarification about the cause of Kvyat’s crash?? Clearly looked like rear suspension failure or a puncture to me but it seems to have gone down as driver error

  12. When debris was being proposed as one of the causes, I assumed “debris” meant shards of carbon fibre, etc, from damaged cars. Now Pirelli is including gravel in the definition of tyre-cutting debris. I’ve never had a problem accepting that shards of carbon fibre are going to be beyond the normal resistance of a racing tyre… but gravel…? If the tyres are now too weak to withstand gravel then it really is time to do something about the tyres.

  13. Can’t wait for their next explanation when the tyres will still fail in the same way in the second race.

  14. https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/formula1/53654385

    Looks like either a longer first stint or two stops is necessary.

  15. Don’t change the track or re-install the kerbs – the drivers should be changing their driving style to make sure they don’t damage their tyres.
    Now they all know where to not push too hard.

    To use a common expression – if there were a wall there, they would be over the white line, would they?

    1. I think the FIAs wet dream is a lights-to-flag procession where everyone finishes where they started and all the cars trundle safely down the centre of the track. :P

  16. Boooo most exciting finish in years and they conspire to prevent it happening again. No fun!

  17. Adrian Kendrick
    6th August 2020, 11:44

    It’s quite simple the outside tyre should not be allowed to go outside the white line which is the extent of the racing service, the drivers are just cheating and extending the width of the circuit. When I used to race it was grass or gravel the other side of the white line so we stayed away from it.
    As for the tyres another simple cure just make the tyres of a harder more durable material, which would be fair to everyone and safer.

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