Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin, Paul Ricard, 2021

Vettel reluctant to declare total confidence in F1’s tyres

2021 French Grand Prix

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Sebastian Vettel said he doesn’t have complete confidence in the structural integrity of F1’s tyres following the failures at the previous round in Azerbaijan.

His Aston Martin team mate Lance Stroll was one of two drivers who crashed after experiencing a tyre failure at high speed during the race.

An updated technical directive on tyre use has been issued as a result of the crashes, specifying new checks of teams’ tyre pressures and temperatures during sessions. However Vettel said Aston Martin were already complying with the existing restrictions on starting tyre pressures

“The bottom line is that I think everybody gets control in the grid whether they are fine on pressures or not,” he said. “And I know that we were so that’s the most important thing.

“Then I think we don’t need to debate. I think there’s prescription in place, we stick to those in order to run the tyres in a safe window. When the tyre obviously fails we need to exactly understand why that is.”

Vettel acknowledged F1 tyres have to cope with a demanding range of conditions, but believes “the first priority should be that the tyres are safe.”

“Obviously in a race you have many different scenarios that the tyre needs to withstand. [It’s] not really news that this can be quite challenging.

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“You’re going at high speeds, you are going at low speeds. You’re braking very hard. It can be very hot outside. The Tarmac can be smooth or can be rough.

“You have Safety Car windows where we have to follow the Safety Car because there’s a hazard on the track where we go very, very slow. In that scenario, the tyre pressures drop dramatically and then you have a green flag and everybody goes flat out, straight away. So the stress on the tyres, no doubt, is very, very high.

“But obviously it is a product that should be designed to, first of all, be as safe as possible.”

Vettel has experienced tyres failures on several occasions in previous seasons, including at Spa in 2015, the Red Bull Ring in 2016 and Silverstone in 2017.

“Over the last years we had plenty of occasions [and] I think there’s always been a proper follow-up and report. But from our side, and I can only speak for us drivers, the priority is clearly that the tyres are safe or safety has the highest priority and everything else, every other interest will always have to to come second,” he reiterated.

Asked whether he had confidence in structural integrity of the tyres, Vettel said: “I think the short answer will be I can’t say 100 percent yes and I can’t say 100 percent no.”

Formula 1’s official tyre supplier Pirelli is understood to have tried to arrange a meeting between the drivers and its head of motorsport Mario Isola today, but were unable to arrange a suitable time. Drivers will have the opportunity to speak to Isola at tomorrow’s briefing.

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2021 French Grand Prix

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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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9 comments on “Vettel reluctant to declare total confidence in F1’s tyres”

  1. We’ve seen this typical avoidance of blame many times but the facts speak for themselves. Otherwise pirelli would have you believe in a total coincidence of the same debris causing the same failure in the same stretch of the circuit. Coincidence-theorists…

  2. I don’t think the drivers have ever had much faith in the pirelli’s.

    They were bad in 2011 and are just as horrid in 2021.

    F1 should give another supplier a call so we can finally get some decent tyres back in F1.

    1. I seriously doubt any reputable tyre manufacturer would be interested in getting involved in the ruling mess that is F1 now… The last one to “compete” with Pirelli was Hankook, something like two years ago.

  3. F1 wasvbetter when the teams had control over their tires rather than having to put up with bad tires that fall apart and degrade rapidly. Now the vast majority of discussion during a race is about whether tires will hold up. I don’t like this aspect of the current tire arrangement.

  4. I don’t think anyone should have any faith in these unsuitable for F1 comedy tires.

    F1 has bent over backwards to try & hide the deficiencies of the awful tires. At no point ever in the sports history until this awful Pirelli era has the sport ever needed to bring in regulations to alter the cars to suit the tires, It was always that the tires needed to be modified to suit the cars… Now it’s backwards because of how bad the Pirelli comedy joke tires have been since day 1.

    After a decade of terribleness from the comedy tires its time to let somebody else have a go.

    #PirelliOut!

    1. Yes, wtb tyre war again, then the teams would leave the worse supplier, I guess pirelli would be no competition for michelin.

    2. @roger-ayles The teams that inflated their tyres to the correct minimum pressure had no issues with them though. Two teams willingly take the risk to cheat and they suffer the consequences. And then their drivers cry crocodile tears.

      That’s why you hear none of the other drivers chime in. Unlike the times when there were actually issues with the tyres themselves.

    3. BRIDGESTONE! LET’S GO!

  5. Reading that UEFA threatens to penalise federations when their players merely move bottles, I wonder what FIA will do when drivers almost overtly criticise their partner.

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