Sunday was an interesting race, wasn’t it?
Two safety cars, Vettel scoring zero points, tyre explosions all over the place, and a sprint finish resulted in quite an extraordinary Sunday afternoon in Silverstone. As the dust settles from the weekend, Pirelli are once again made to appear to be public enemy number one – and not for the first time this year.
First, we had teams complaining the tyres were too inconsistent and their degradation rates were too poor. Next, they were involved in ‘tyre-gate’ with Mercedes doing in-season testing. Now we have had multiple failures. Pirelli’s PR team have been taking quite a hit in 2013
This should never occur over the course of a motor racing weekend in any discipline – let alone in the pinnacle of the sport. The replay of Kimi getting showered in debris as Vergne’s left rear gave up the ghost was a worrying sight, and Alonso was a rather lucky boy too to not get caught up behind Perez’s failure.
Pirelli may have their name on the side of the black wheels, but if the kerbs are allegedly razor sharp down at Turn 4 as found out by BBC’s Gary Anderson post-race, is it really unfair everyone is pointing blame at Pirelli again?
The FIA must take a lot of responsibility here. They have created the rules that have minimised in-season testing, plus Pirelli have made it clear they wanted to change the design and construction of their tyres for quite a while. Only if Pirelli deemed the change was necessary for the safety of the sport would a change be enforced – but as is the way politics is in F1, if the change is requested as a preference, each team must agree to the change unanimously, which would never happen as they will only ever vote for what benefits them most.
Pirelli’s new construction technique clearly has not worked – they are at fault for that, but without any significant testing allowed, such drastic changes ought to have been allowed to be tested with an older spec car well in advance of an official race weekend.
Although potentially unfair for some, the safety of the spectators, marshals and the drivers take precedence over all else. The next few tracks are easier on the tyres than Silverstone, but reverting back to the reliable 2012 spec has to be the only conceivable option. Both Martin Whitmarsh and Christian Horner, team bosses at McLaren and Red Bull respectively, have asked for this exact change, and I am inclined to agree. There have been too many arguments between the teams, the FIA and Pirelli in getting a solution done behind closed doors, but that opportunity has now gone after Silverstone. Let’s put this issue to bed once and for all, stick with a known and safe solution, and let Pirelli concentrate in making sure the 2014 tyres are up to spec for top-end racing.