Pirelli’s head of car racing Mario Isola said that his engineers need to quickly launch an investigation into the tyre issues that happened in the closing stages of today’s British Grand Prix.
The Silverstone round turned out another race that saw Mercedes dominate every minute of the proceedings. Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas seemed to cruise to another double win for the Anglo-German outfit when their tyres failed in the dying stages. While Bottas's tyre exploded with three laps to go, Hamilton experienced a similar fate just 2 kms to go in the 52-lap British Grand Prix. The Briton could limp to the chequered flag to win the race thanks to his 30-second lead over second-placed Max Verstappen.
McLaren driver Carlos Sainz experienced a similar problem on the last lap which saw him lose a fifth-place finish. Mario Isola said that the late tyre drama could be down to high wear, but he did not rule out that debris caused the issues.
“It could be high wear because for sure tyres with 38 laps or more on this circuit are quite worn, but I’m not saying wear is the cause of the issue. It can be debris because we had pieces of front wing of Kimi [Raikkonen] which were on track, but also some other debris,” he is quoted as saying by formula1.com.
“This is why we want to investigate not only the tyres with the failures but all the tyres used in the last few laps of the race, to understand if we find any other cut or any other possible indication of what happened. We have the possibility to do some analysis in our laboratories at the track."
Formula One is staying for another race at Silverstone with the 70th Anniversary Grand prix taking place just in seven days’ time. After bringing, the C1, C2 and C3 compounds, the hardest ones for the British Grand Prix, for next weekend’s race, the Milan-based company will supply teams with a trio of compounds that is a step softer. Isola has urged his engineers to find out what problem.
“We don’t have a lot of time to investigate as we have another race [the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix at Silverstone] in another week, so we have to come to a conclusion as soon as possible. The target is to have something more by Tuesday at the latest.”
“What is clear is that when you have a tyre that is completely worn, the protection on the tread is less so if there is a small piece of debris on track, it’s easy to damage the tyre. Some chords are visible on the tyre, so that’s why I’m saying the level of wear is close to 100%.”
He added: “Each tyre has a maximum number of laps, but this depends on the car, it depends on set-up, level of energy, which is why we cannot say that the limit is the same for everybody.”
Isola has revealed that Pirelli might define a maximum number of laps for this weekend’s 70th Anniversary Grand Prix to ensure that drivers do not complete extremely long stints.
“What can we do on the short term? Implementing a maximum number of laps is something we have to discuss with the FIA, as soon as we find the cause of the issues today. If it is confirmed it is wear, we have to find a system,” the Italian concluded.