Tyre manufacturer, and sole F1 supplier Pirelli will have to make an embarrassing public apology before the Italian Grand Prix at Monza, after it has been unearthed that they came to the wrong conclusion about Sebastian Vettel’s tyre failure at the Belgian Grand Prix.
The Telegraph launched a full investigation about Vettel’s explosion on the Kemmel straight at Spa, and has found the failure to be caused by a piece of debris on the track, or the curb. This will contradict Pirelli’s explanation, who blamed the ‘risky’ strategy of Ferrari almost immediately after the incident. The Telegraph believe that Pirelli will backtrack on this matter by stating that wear was only a subsidising factor.
Pirelli is the F1 sole manufacturer and supplier, however there is competition from Michelin, placing a bid to be the sole provider from 2017-2020.
Paul Hembery, Pirelli Motorsport director, stated that the current situation is a ‘PR nightmare’ for the Italian giant, and this will not have positive repercussions on their bid to supply F1 for the future – fans support tyres that can handle harder and faster racing. Michelin boosted their popularity by stating that they promise to deliver tyres that will allow drivers to ‘push to the max’.
These new discoveries regarding Pirelli are expected to recieve criticism from drivers at the upcoming Italian Grand Prix at Monza. After Sebastian Vettel and Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg suffered from tyre blowouts, drivers have commented that they have little faith in Pirelli’s tyres.
After Vettel’s blowout at Spa, the German confronted Hemberly, and accused him of risking his life.
For now, the safety of open wheel and open cockpits on the cars are under scrutiny by drivers, media and fans alike.
It is clear that Pirelli must act quickly and explain how they plan to avoid future issues. It is obvious that safety is key to the Italian manufactures, and they must do all they can to avoid other incidents, and keep PR troubles at bay.