Formula 1 News

Pirelli under pressure after another tyre failure

Sergio Perez had a spectacular tyre failure during the Korean Grand Prix, another indication of the fragility of Pirelli's tyres
Sunday, October 6, 2013

October 6th, 2013 (F1Plus / Chris Cameron-Dow) - Pirelli have come under fire this weekend from a few drivers, not least of all due to a failure on Sergio Perez's car during the race.

Sergio Perez locked up heavily under braking for turn 1 on lap 31 and then on the straight after turn 2, the tread came loose from his right front tyre in quite dramatic style. The carcass of the tyre was punctured, which caused it to crumple as he made his way back to the pits around the rest of the lap. 

When the tyre failed, it left debris all over the track and caused some damage to Perez's car. Bits of tyre and bodywork missed Perez's head by not very much and then caused a puncture on Mark Webber's Red Bull, as he made his way down the straight in Perez's wake. Lewis Hamilton, who was passing Webber at the time, was fortunate to escape damage to his tyres as he ran over the debris.

Autosport quoted Mark Webber as saying critically after the race, "That is how it is. The drivers aren't super important - it is what other people want," said Webber after retiring from the race.

"The tyres are wearing a lot and they also explode a bit - but that is for Pirelli to sort out."

Webber was referring to Pirelli building tyres to make racing artificially more exciting, rather than concentrating on building quality racing tyres that the drivers can use to push their cars to the maximum.

Webber went on to say, "Pirelli will put the puncture of Perez down to a lock-up but the reason the drivers are locking up is because there's no tread left."

Earlier in the weekend, Fernando Alonso was one of a few drivers who were critical of Pirelli, particularly due to the very short life of the supersoft tyre around the Korea International Circuit - the supersoft was barely good enough for a single flying lap in qualifying. 

Based on the comments of Kimi Raikkonen after qualifying, it seems that locking up the tyres just once or twice can be enough to damage their performance so significantly that they are barely suitable for a qualifying run.

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