Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Paul Ricard, 2021

Verstappen: Pirelli “cannot put the blame on us” over Baku tyre failures

2021 French Grand Prix

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Max Verstappen has insisted neither Red Bull nor Aston Martin are to blame for the tyre failures he and Lance Stroll suffered during the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

The pair retired after suffering left-rear tyre failures at the Baku City Circuit. Having inspected the tyres used by both drivers, Pirelli said its product had performed correctly and also confirmed the two teams had complied with the minimum tyre pressures it specified for the start of the race.

Verstappen said Pirelli’s explanation for the failures was “a bit vague.”

“The only thing I can say, from our side, is I think the team did everything like they should have done. I mean, they followed all the guidelines with tyre pressures and stuff, so there was nothing to be found there.”

Pirelli has specified minimum tyre pressures of 19.5psi at the rear and 21psi at the front for this weekend’s race at Paul Ricard.

“For sure we’ll go up on pressures here for this weekend,” said Verstappen. “I’m actually 100 percent sure we will.

“Probably it has something to do with that, what happened in Baku. But it would also be nice to just know if it was tyre pressure related. Just speak out, that would be a bit easier to understand than the explanation we got so far because the team didn’t do anything wrong.”

An updated technical directive has been introduced for this weekend’s race to ensure teams adhere to minimum tyre pressures during sessions.

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“They explained that they don’t have measurement tools during the race,” said Verstappen. “But we gave them our tyre pressures and they were within the limits they set.

“If those limits are not correct, there’s nothing we can do about it. We just follow what is possible within the rules. If that means that we have to go up on pressures, we will, everyone will go up on pressures.

“They say they didn’t have the correct measurements, but we gave it to them after the race and it was shown that we didn’t do anything wrong there. And also Aston Martin didn’t do anything wrong. So they cannot put the blame on us.

“I think they have to look at themselves. We are here happy to help, of course, with everything.”

Verstappen suspects the starting tyre pressures were not set high enough in Baku, where Pirelli increased front tyre pressures on Saturday morning. “They already went up on pressure from Friday to Saturday so that means something, but maybe it wasn’t enough,” he said. “We’ll go up on pressures here for sure. And hopefully that’s enough.”

Stroll’s team mate Sebastian Vettel also said their team had complied with Pirelli’s pressure limits. “The only thing that really matters, I can only speak for ourselves – obviously it happened in our team to Lance, he had a failure – we’ve been doing what Pirelli asked us to do. I don’t know anything else.”

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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
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13 comments on “Verstappen: Pirelli “cannot put the blame on us” over Baku tyre failures”

  1. Couldn’t agree with Max more, the explanation that Pirelli gave . . well “Vague” is generous – I have read it a few times and still am not sure what the problem was.

    1. The problem was that the tyres were made by Pirelli.

      1. You, sir, hit the spot

    2. If Max is as skeptical as he is of Pirelli, then why shouldn’t Pirelli be skeptical of RBR?
      They probably have more reason to lie than Pirelli do.
      Perhaps I am wrong, but Max seems to suggest that RBR gave Pirelli the tyre pressure, not that Pirelli took the tyre pressure themselves. (If anyone knows better? Do Pirelli take the pressures themselves during the race or do they rely on the team?)
      So if according to Max, Pirelli could by lying, then surely the same conclusion can be made that RBR could be lying to Pirelli?
      And maybe that is why we cant get a solid answer? And why regulations and testing have been made stricter to ensure there are no unknowns?

      1. I just reread the article and I see did Max say that Pirelli dont have the tools to do it during the race, so then they have to rely on the team to give the correct pressures.
        Which in that case, I honestly don’t see why Pirelli should give RBR benefit of the doubt after the accusations they have received from Max since the incident.

        1. Why should pirelli have the benefit of the doubt. It’s obvious they screwed up big time.
          Every team will try the rules to its fullest and rbr and am did nothing wrong.

      2. Well, let Pirelli publish their measurements on the tires they captured immediately after the incident. It is impossible to have discussion without sharing the data.

        1. Indeed. If Red Bull and Aston Martin used lower pressures, then why Pirelli didn’t publish the exact values measured in the remaining tyres after incedents?

          1. @hoshino:
            I’m not sure if that would have been fair? why? because when the cars stop, tyre temps go down and the pressure goes down as well. And I think they’ve realised this is a problem, that’s why in the new technical directive, they are introducing a graduated temps/pressures scale, ie., for a given temp ‘x’, there should a given pressure ‘y’. This way, they can give the minimum cold tyre pressure and the expected pressure at x temp….and monitor that at any point during qualifying and the race.

          2. tyre temps go down and the pressure goes down as well. And I think they’ve realised this is a problem,

            They have those tables already (fairly simple to develop) and are using them.
            But if starting temperatures are higher or running temperatures are lower, or if the air moisture percentage and/or filling gas composition is different than assumed (not sure if this is prescribed) then the running pressure can be lower than the ones expected.

  2. This may be a huge issue by the time Silverstone, Spa, and especially Zandvoort rolls around. High speed straights, high banked corners? Indianapolis all over again? Let’s hope not.

    Reply moderated
  3. Ryan Tan Chueo Whai
    18th June 2021, 5:08

    How can Pirelli be at fault when they are the player and the judge. They produce, they investigate, they reporting. Amazing

    Reply moderated
  4. And yet Pirelli did and rightly so it seems.

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