Date: 1st July 2013 at 9:12am
Written by:

The British Grand Prix has witnessed some of the most iconic moments in Formula One history.

Recent generations will talk about the moves Nigel Mansell made on route to winning at Silverstone, in more recent times Lewis Hamilton won on a rain soaked Northamptonshire track.

This year, could well be talked about just as much, but simply not as fondly.

Formula One was finally caught out for its ridiculous testing regulations where the Pirelli tyres simply fell over under the pressure that today’s cars put through them.

It’s not the first time we’ve seen tyre failures during practice or racing, but the recent Mercedes/Pirelli tyre test in May highlighted the current issues and at Silverstone on Sunday the incidents ruined the race.

Six tyre failures during the race, four at high speed, with race leader Lewis Hamilton, Ferrari’s Felipe Massa, Toro Rosso’s Jean-Eric Vergne and McLaren’s Sergio Perez all having frightening moments.

As the tyres simply exploded, all the drivers managed to avoid serious crashes, Massa span, but the rest managed to keep the car in a straight line.

Debris fired across the track and at one moment, splattered themselves all over Kimi Raikkonen, with big lumps of rubber and other compounds that go into the tyres hitting the Finn square on the helmet.

The simple fact is it could have been a lot worse, these were serious incidents and Lewis Hamilton was quite right to be angry after the race.

‘After my incident, I was definitely nervous for the rest of the race that the tyres might go again. he told the BBC.

‘Safety is the biggest issue. It’s just unacceptable really. It’s only when someone gets hurt that someone will do something about it.

‘It’s a waste of time talking to the FIA and if they don’t do anything that says a lot about them.’


Of course it’s not the first time Hamilton has been outspoken in the media, but on this occasion, even his biggest critics will be inclined to agree with him as FIA race director Charlie Whiting admitted he came close to stopping the race due to safety fears.

‘I can’t remember anything like this, Four catastrophic failures is a first. It was quite close to being red-flagged.’

Pirelli of course were dumbfounded with what had caused the problems, but then they’ve been forced to develop tyres that do suffer wear issues to create a more exciting form of Formula One with different pit strategies etc, but the problem is the Italian tyre manufacturer has had to do this one with hand tied behind their back due to the lack of testing, so when the teams develop their cars during the season, Pirelli have limited data and no way of changing the tyres.

Pirelli of course will investigate the incidents, but in truth, under the current Formula One regulations they are limited in what they can do and certainly nothing will be done ahead of the German Grand Prix this weekend.

‘We can’t really say much more until we have fully investigated and analysed all of these incidents, which is our top priority,’ Pirelli’s Paul Hembery said after the race.

‘There might be some aspect to this circuit that impacts specifically on the latest version of our 2013 specification tyres but we do not want to speculate. We will now put together all the evidence to find out what happened and take appropriate steps should these be required.’