Lewis Hamilton's tyre, Silverstone, 2020

Drivers unhappy over tyres failing without warning

2020 70th Anniversary Grand Prix

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Formula 1 drivers are unhappy over the tyre failures which three of them experienced without warning during last weekend’s British Grand Prix.

Grand Prix Drivers’ Association director Romain Grosjean said the failures which Lewis Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas and Carlos Sainz Jnr experienced will be discussed in their meeting this weekend.

“It’s definitely going to be a subject there in the GPDA’s agenda,” he said. “I think we are not very happy that the tyres go that way.

“Obviously I was lucky not to experience the issue. But the tyre should lose completely the performance and force you to pit before it actually goes away or explodes or punctures, whatever you call it, I don’t know what’s the exact word.

“So, yes, I guess we will have a word inside the GPDA and make sure that we get the understanding and we can get better in the future.”

Formula 1’s official tyre supplier Pirelli said the failures occured because of the exceptionally high stresses generated by the latest F1 cars at Silverstone, one of the fastest circuits on the calendar. Part of the reason for the failures was the unusually long stints teams did because of an early Safety Car period, said Pirelli.

“We’re still learning about these tyres as we go on,” said Hamilton, who’s front-left tyre failed on the final lap. “We thought that the tyres could go further than perhaps they could with a track like this.”

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Formula 1 is using tyres which were designed for last year’s season, after new rubber created for 2020 was rejected by teams.

“Normally the hard tyre is pretty durable,” Hamilton continued. “If you look at last year I did that one stop on the high tyre, which is this tyre, and did the fastest lap on the last lap. And it’s the same tyre.

“So our understanding, we’ve learnt from the experience and I’m sure this weekend we’ ll do a better job with it.”

Pirelli’s head of motor sport Mario Isola said the 2020 tyres, which teams unanimously rejected, could have withstood the forces better. However Hamilton does not believe the decision to not to use the 2020 tyres was wrong.

“No, because they were worse,” he said. “It’s not because we didn’t like it, they were just slower. So I don’t think they would have really made any difference.”

Pirelli confirmed today the tyre failure Daniil Kvyat suffered during the race was caused by a mechanical problem.

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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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  • 26 comments on “Drivers unhappy over tyres failing without warning”

    1. A shocker. I thought drivers were happy, delighted or may I even say super excited about it!

      1. Maybe the drivers shouldn’t be banging their front lefts into the curb at 185 mph. Just a thought.

    2. “No, because they were worse,” he said. “It’s not because we didn’t like it, they were just slower. So I don’t think they would have really made any difference.”

      Euh, So slower tyres are worse than tyres that suddenly blow up without warning..?

      So silly

      1. Tyre engineer Hamilton knows more about the 2020 tyres than Pirelli does, even though he used them only for few hours.

        If those 2020 spec tyres were slower, that would suggest that they were producing less friction and grip, therefore lowering the stresses the sidewall, shoulder and tread have to accept. No?

    3. Drivers unhappy over tyres failing?

      How much do we have to pay these selfish little tossers to do their job?

      I have worked as a driver and I would not have been thanked for whining about bald tyres.
      Do these guys live in our world at all?

      1. GtisBetter (@passingisoverrated)
        6th August 2020, 21:25

        Why so angry?

      2. He’s not angry, he’s right. And what’s wrong with anger anyway. Why are you so passive? That’s a bigger crime in my book. Bed wetter drivers want a warning a tyre is going to blow…. REALLY !!!

        1. One can be both you know. There is nothing wrong with anger itself but getting angry over a bunch of F1 drivers who are unhappy that tyres start to explode without a warning is a bit unwarranted IMHO.

      3. You crash a car at 300kmh and tell me how you feel about it!

    4. What kind of “warning” do they want? If the air is on the OUTSIDE of the tire, you have a problem. If you insist on driving the tire beyond the recommendation of the manufacturer, you have a problem.

      1. He clearly says what kind of warning they expect:

        But the tyre should lose completely the performance and force you to pit before it actually goes away or explodes or punctures

      2. to be fair, Pirelli said these tyres where could for up to 40 laps. nobody exceeded that

        1. Could. Not would.
          And the words up to were used, and if not, they were certainly implied.

          1. So if the tyres explode after two corners it’s ok? Since the manufacturer said “could” rather than “would”, and “up to”? Pirelli also had a series of tyre explosions with their steel belt tyres in 2013, and we heard the same excuses. They switched back to kevlar belts and the tyres suddenly weren’t exploding anymore.

            1. How can Pirelli be expected to guarantee that their product will last a certain distance?
              They can’t. They have no control over the cars’ design, setup or use, nor the conditions posed by the weather or the track surface condition. So they suggest a maximum duration based on the information they have.

              Surely, if a tyre is blistered heavily and vibrating like crazy it’s getting pretty close to the end of its life, regardless of the number Pirelli gave in the estimate. Wouldn’t you think?
              None of the teams planned to use it for that long for a reason… SC just came out a little too early for them, so they had to change early.

      3. @waptraveler They didn’t drive it outside the recommendation of the manufacturer though

        1. Then I apologize. Sure thought I had read that some of the drivers had exceeded thel number of laps. My mistake, I’ll be more careful next time.

    5. Does this one qualify for the ‘thanks, captain obvious’ headline of the year?

      I’m not really too surprised they’re not pleased that a tyre can randomly fail and potentially sent them into a wall at 180mph.

      I would probably have been at least a little more shocked if they’d come out and expressed their delight at it….

    6. The drivers themselves should also think that when they are going for a very long stint that they don’t punish the tyres so much.

      We’ve seen for instance Vettel go for long stints in Spa and Silverstone where he just kept banging the kerbs. With ultimately the tyre failing.

      Last race at Silverstone a gap was exposed after they removed some old asphalt just before the Chappel kerb.
      This hole is fixed now with the kerb extended forward, so it shouldn’t be an issue for the next race, but they were banging that exposed edge of kerb every lap.

      It’s a very important corner to get out of as fast as possible due to the straight right after, but still. They must (deep down) know it increases the chance of a broken tyre enormously.

      For that Spa race Mercedes told their drivers to stay away from a dangerous kerb which damaged the tyres. Which they did. So perhaps the team can also play apart, but the drivers know this too.

    7. We were all complaint about degrading tyres before just to complaint there’s no tyres degradation now.

    8. They say they want a warning before the tyre goes, but Valterri was on the radio complaining about severe vibrations long before his tyre gave up. Hamilton was also complaining about severe blistering. Everyone watching could see the tyres were in a bad state and they kept pushing them to the end. I’d say that there was plenty warning that the tyres were not holding up for that long.

    9. “Formula 1 drivers are unhappy over the tyre failures which three of them experienced without warning during last weekend’s British Grand Prix.” What about Kvyat? He anticipated tyre failure? In my opinion Kvyat’s case is the most disturbing from technical perspective, of course.

    10. Pretty certain that it was four, not three drivers who experiences tyre failures with warning during that race. Daniil Kvyat was a victim of such an event as well. The poor sod even crashed into a wall because of it.

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