Formula 1 News

The heavily-degrading Pirellis now into question for safety

Felipe Massa suffered two flat tyres during yesterday's race at Bahrein, which might be becoming too recurrent overall.
Monday, April 22, 2013

April 22nd, 2013 (F1plus) A new problem could be emerging for Pirelli, as the mere safety of its already controversial 2013 tyres is now called into question.

The occurrence of tyre failures - or delaminations - appears to be on the rise this season, amid already widespread criticism of the heavily-degrading Pirellis.

"I've never had two problems (failures) with tyres in one race. I don't know what it is, but it's too much," Ferrari's Felipe Massa is quoted as saying by Sky Italia after the Bahrain race.

"Maybe there was debris on the track, but I didn't feel any contact," he added.

Th brazilian double-tyre issue happened in the same rear back wheel, which might also suggest it could be related to car balance or other reasons no strictly tied to the tyres construction but more the car itself. Still, it brings a new 'safety' issue to the tyre conversation. 

Pirelli chief Paul Hembery said the Italian marque's engineers had identified "cuts" on the failed tyre, "and we're currently trying to find out what caused those cuts".

But Massa told Germany's Auto Motor und Sport that his first problem was caused "probably by delamination of the tread, like (Lewis) Hamilton in practice".

One theory doing the rounds is that Pirelli's extreme, 'show'-approach to degradation in 2013 has compromised the basic safety of the tyres.

"It's hard to say," Massa responded, "it hasn't happened to me before, and we've already had a few races this year, so no.

"But we do need to understand what happened and then make sure we are putting any complaining in the right direction."


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