Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium – Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel has expressed his disappointment with the tire explosion during the Belgian Grand Prix, bringing the reliability of Pirelli’s rubber at high speed into question.
During the event on 23 Aug, Vettel was the only driver to try a one-stop strategy, but with two laps to go his right rear tire suddenly let go, robbing him of the third place he was holding.
“We deserved to finish on the podium but that’s racing; a different thing though is not to finish the race because of what happened,” Ferrari’s website quote Vettel as saying, adding that Vettel was “deeply disappointed” with missed podium.
There’s no explanation for what happened, said Vettel: “it’s not a puncture, the tire just exploded.”
In an interview with the German broadcaster RTL, Vettel said: "It has to be said that the quality of the tires is miserable... Of course I knew that the tires would degrade but something like that can't happen."
Pirelli also reacted to the incident, stating that its 2013 request to fix a maximum limit to the number of laps with the same tire was not heeded.
“In November 2013, Pirelli requested that there should be rules to govern the maximum number of laps that can be driven on the same set of tires, among other parameters to do with correct tire usage,” said a Pirelli statement on 23 Aug.
The proposal, which Pirelli said was not accepted, put forward a maximum distance equivalent to 50 percent of the Grand Prix distance for the prime tire and 30 percent for the option.
These conditions, if applied during the Belgian GP at Spa, would have limited the maximum number of laps on the medium compound to 22, the tire-maker concluded.
The incident will put Pirelli under pressure as Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg also had a rear tire blowout in the second practice session on Friday, 21 Aug.