Date: 12th April 2011 at 9:50am
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Were marbles from the new Pirelli compound tyres really to blame for Vitaly Petrov crash?

With just a few laps of the Malaysian Grand Prix remaining, Petrov ran wide on turn eight of the Sepang circuit, the Russian kept his foot on the accelerator hoping to return to the track with minimal loss of time.

‘I think I picked up just a little bit of rubber, and as soon as you take one piece of rubber, you have a little bit of understeer. I think I had this little bit of understeer and then I went wider and wider. You should be able to come back to the track there, so I just kept going ? but then I hit the big bump.’ he told Autosport Magazine.

When his Renault hit the grass bump, it acted as a ramp and catapulted his Renault two or three foot into the air.

When the car crashed back down onto the track, the force of the impact was enough to brake the steering column mount, leaving Petrov with his steering wheel disconnected from his car.

The Russian was left unhurt following the incident, but the Renault driver hopes that alterations can be made to avoid a similar incident in the future.

‘It is not scary. You know it will be a big shunt but it is scarier when you see a wall when you are crashing.’

‘I know it is difficult, but it should be less bumpy ? because can you imagine what would have happened if something happened differently. You could have quite a big crash.’


The comments regarding the marbles will be a concern for Pirelli who find themselves in a no-win situation.

Their brief was to create more emphasis on tyre strategy by developing tyres with a high degradation compared to last seasons Bridgestone tyres, which offered little performance differences and only one or two pit stops per race.

The new Pirelli tyre has successfully forced teams into different tyre strategies, with teams now having to react to how the tyres perform rather than having set pit stops which had been previously calculated to achieve an optimum race time.

However one down side to this has been the amount of ‘marbles’ or rubber debris that has been left on the track, making it difficult for cars to leave the racing line without picking up marbles on their tyres.