Drivers have called for answers from Pirelli demanded an end to tyre blow-out following to dramatic tyre failures at the Belgian Grand Prix. The chairman of the union which represents drivers the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association Alexander Wurz said: “We need to stop the sudden explosions.”
Both Sebastian Vettel and Nico Rosberg suffered tyre failures during the weekend. Manufacturer Pirelli is conducting a forensic investigation to understand the failures.
A spokesman said it hoped to have a comprehensive explanation of the causes of Vettel’s incident by Thursday. In a statement from Wurz and fellow directors Vettel and Jenson Button said “As drivers, we strongly believe the end of a tyre’s performance window can and should not be a tyre delamination in the form of an explosion.”
It adds they believe there is technologies which prevent such sudden delamination, but for the short term we need to give Pirelli the freedom and support to introduce any measures.
Wurz adds “We need to work together to get on top of such safety concerns.”
Vettel hits back
Sebastian Vettel has launched a strong defence of Ferrari’s strategy which may have contributed to his tyre blowout on Sunday. Vettel called his accident “unacceptable.”
Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery said he was “surprised” by Vettel running a one stop while everyone else ran a two or three stop strategy. In a statement on his website the 28 year old said “Just to make things clear: The Team and I decided our strategy for the race together.”
It added “I support the Team and the Team supports me. And this is what makes us a team. Our strategy was never risky, at any point. The Team is not to blame.”
He said they deserved to finish on the podium which is a difficult thing. Saying “This is not easy to accept for a driver, even if it’s not as bad as in Silverstone a few years ago [when numerous blowouts occurred during the 2013 British Grand Prix].”
Pirelli investigation into the cause of the blowout should be known by the end of the week.
I may quit – Wolff
Susie Wolff the leading female driver has told CNN that she is considering abandoning the sport because of a lack of opportunities. The Scottish driver has been working as Williams test driver for three years.
Wolff has taken part in testing and practice sessions over the past few years but not in any races. She told CNN that she can’t wait for on the sidelines for ever. Saying “There doesn’t seem to be many opportunities for next year to get onto the grid. This is going to be a winter of reflection because either it happens or it doesn’t.”
Deputy team principal and supporter of Wolff Claire Williams adds that she still needs to prove she had the ability to earn a seat in F1. Saying “She has to make sure she’s the full package she can be. At the moment Susie is our test driver. We’ll see where we end up at the end of the season.
Cut out mistakes – Bottas
Valtteri Bottas says Williams need to stop making mistakes after a tyre mix up at the Belgian Grand Prix. Williams were set lose out on valuable points after fitting a medium tyre with a set of soft tyres.
However Sebastian Vettel’s tyre blow-out helped Williams gain points. Both Bottas and team-mate Felipe Massa finished ahead of the German but Vettel was on track for third. Bottas says Williams cannot afford mistakes like the one on Sunday.
He told Autosport “It is another weekend which we need to learn from and we need to make sure we don’t do this kind of mistake again.”
“We definitely didn’t get 100 per cent out of the weekend. We just didn’t have the pace to challenge the guys in front.”
He added that it has been difficult for Williams to get the option tyres to work for the team this year saying the team still has plenty of work to do to overcome the problem.
Change of goals
Jenson Button has admitted that McLarens ambitious target of winning a race this year is unlikely. McLaren and engine supplier Honda have struggled for reliability this year.
After Fernando Alonso scored their best result of the season in Hungary there was hope that progress had been made. However despite a good result and a upgrade over the summer the team finished a lap down. Button now says comments made pre-season that they could gain a podium are “unlikely.”
Button told Autosport “For us, you have to think our best race is going to be Singapore; it’s a slow-speed circuit with low-speed corners which we’re very strong in. So that’s probably the race where we will pick up the most points I should think.”
Alonso agreed with button’s comments but he adds the rest of the season is still important for McLaren in the context of ensuring 2016 is more productive.