Verstappen’s tyres were not “abused” before race-ending failure

2021 Azerbaijan Grand Prix

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Red Bull believed Max Verstappen was in no danger of failing to reach the end of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix until the tyre deflation which put him out.

Team principal Christian Horner said that based on their practice running they expected Verstappen’s hard, C3 compound tyres “could have lasted easy” to the end.

“From the durability that we could see and from the way that Max was driving the car it should have been more than comfortable,” he said. “From what we could see in the race, you could see all the wear pins were there. The tyre wasn’t being abused. The temperatures were all good.”

In the two laps before his crash Verstappen set the fastest lap of the race, then lapped within a hundredth of a second of it. His tyre failed as he began his 46th lap.

“His race engineer had basically only just checked in with him, just to make sure everything was under control and then boom,” said Horner. “So it was totally unexpected.”

Despite the failure and Verstappen’s subsequent crash, the left-rear wheel and tyre was largely undamaged. Horner hopes this will aid Pirelli in their investigation of the similar failures which Verstappen and Lance Stroll suffered.

“Of course we have to understand what caused the issue,” he said. “Max’s tyres visually were looking in great shape.

“The good thing is the tyre has remained largely intact so at least we have the evidence on. So if it is a bit of debris that’s caused the puncture or something else, at least we have all the evidence to be able to piece together the cause.”

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2021 Azerbaijan Grand Prix

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33 comments on “Verstappen’s tyres were not “abused” before race-ending failure”

  1. “No, really, we kicked the tyres on this one Max”
    “Yeah, so did I.”

  2. DarkSChneider
    8th June 2021, 11:49

    Maybe someone behind him used a red turtle ? :p

    1. Señor Sjon
      8th June 2021, 14:31

      It was a blue shell from Bottas. ;-)

  3. Apparently Pirelli already knew something was up with the tyres, otherwise they wouldn’t have changed the minimum pressure after FP2.

    1. That’s actually fairly normal & something they do most weekends after looking over the data from Friday practice.

  4. Just a few laps before the accident tgey showed the trye wear graphs and perezes rear tyres had just 10% left. I cant believe verstappens was far off that. He did a fastest lap then anotber fast lap then boom….

    1. I am always curious how the FIA measures the tyre wear they show on the live broadcast. But Stroll’s tyre giving up after 30 laps should have been a warning sign for all teams. On the other hand: being able to drive the fastest lap on a tyre that is worn out to the point of deflating makes no sense. I think the possibility of a cut tyre due to debris is still a realistic possibility.

      1. The FIA doesn’t measure that: they get no data from Pirelli at all. It’s complete guesswork, like everyhing else they use AWS Insights for

      2. @matthijs I don’t think it’s meant to be an indication of wear but more the basic performance of the tyre at that point.

        If I remember correctly the graphic is generated by machine learning software that is looking at lap times over a stint, tyre temperatures & historical data to try & build a model of how a tyre’s performance may drop off. It may therefore see a driver backing off a bit to cool tyres/brakes or save a bit of fuel as a sign tyre performance has dropped.

        That’s my issue with a lot of these AWS graphics. They are presented as actual data & David Croft for example usually pushes them as facts when they are in fact simply estimates & should be presented as such.

        1. @stefmeister @nvherman Yeah, I should have written how FIA ‘measures’ the tyre wear. Thanks for the insights @stefmeister!

          1. @matthijs There isn’t any way of really accurately measuring tire wear while cars are out on track. @stefmeister explained how the graphics are produced but teams (And Pirelli’s engineer’s embedded in each team) only have driver feedback & tire temperatures to go on.

            Drivers can obviously say when the tires are starting to lose grip, Grain, Blister or suffer a flat spot. And monitoring surface temperature can also give indications as tire temperatures will drop & be harder to keep within the optimal working window as it gets down to the bottom of the compound.

            The way they are able to accurately measure tread depth is actually the same way you do it with road car tires. On a road car you have a depth gauge that you place into the grooves of the tread to measure how much tread you have left.

            On a slick racing tire you may notice several small holes going across the tread. They are wear markers & Pirelli will use those to check the tread depth in the same way you do on a road car.

        2. A person somewhere
          8th June 2021, 15:59

          I’m not sure that’s entirely accurate, the AWS prediction models may have access to some of the car telemetry during the race, as all the car / team transmissions go via FOM equipment (indeed that was why there was a session earlier in the season where the teams had no telemetry or radio, because of issues with the FOM setup).

          That’s not to say they aren’t an inaccurate gimmick though ;)

    2. Pjotr (@pietkoster)
      8th June 2021, 12:32

      Wayne, in front you can easy manage your tyres. Ham does it Ves does it. Just cruising around. That is also the big problem with this bad tyres from Pirelli. No one can drive the car to the limit the whole race. Lap 20 to 50 or so they drive like as if they are on vacation.

      1. Pjotr (@pietkoster)
        8th June 2021, 12:33

        Bad English in this one

        1. I didn’t think it was that bad: I’m British and it was perfectly understandable to me

  5. Verstappen has been quite aggressive with the rear tyres this year, but it appears that Red Bull work the rear tyres harder than Mercedes. However, it does look like that there was a lot of debris on the track after Stroll’s crash or even before the incident. I think we need to do a better job of cleaning the tracks while a race is going on. I’d rather red flag the session if there is too much debris to be safe.

    1. Verstappen ‘aggressive with the rears’ . Based on what info or sources?

      1. He kicked one of them! I saw it too!

  6. F1oSaurus (@)
    8th June 2021, 12:51

    Verstappen set the fastest lap of the race


    The tyre wasn’t being abused

    But yeah it’s a numbers game with these tyres and then running them sort of long. The cuts from debris will wear deeper and deeper. At some point some tyres will give.

    1. Verstappen was cruising and only set the fastest lap immediatly after Lewis set it 1 lap before. After that he went on cruising again, keeping Perez and Hamilton at distance.

    2. Setting the fastest lap does not necessarily equate to abusing the tyre. If he was keeping off the kerbs and not breaking traction or locking brakes, as well as being well within the projected life of the tyre (according to Pirelli), then that seems like normal racing use.
      Did Stroll set Fastest Lap prior to his very similar issue?

      1. Ignore, if Lewis set the fastest lap its because he is great in tire management. If Verstappen does it, this will cause a tire failure.
        The F1trolloSaurus dimension is not from this world.
        And accept its a troll with problems looking at the rate Lewis fu@#€ up.

        1. Hamilton had a cut in his tyre

        2. No doubt a lot of irrelevance and unpopularity from his opinions!

  7. From the way it is described it’s either a catastrophic construction failure or it is debris/kerb/track related damage, or someone has been shooting tires.

    With the information we have now, there is no other logical deduction to be made.

  8. Pjotr thanks for ur opinion. I agree with with kribana from past races. Go back and watch some of the races befor monaco. And if i am to be correct the commentators also comment on the agression and wear of vers rears.

  9. Please excuse my spelling. Replying while at work….

  10. Did Max overwork his tyres or not?

    1. No, he did not.
      Verstappen says he didn’t, his engineer says he didn’t, Horner says he didn’t.
      Pirelli didn’t say he overworked them.
      Only fans of other drivers say he did.
      Draw your own conclusions…

  11. “Horner says he didn’t.” Hmm

  12. I still think Ericsson hit him!

    1. “Your car has been sabotaged! Would you like to Restart?”

  13. Coventry Climax
    9th June 2021, 16:43

    The most important thing is that they will actually do something about it, once the investigation is done and the cause known. But it being mainly Pirelli that investigates, and the FIA that has to make the decisions, I personally doubt that very much will be done.

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