Formula One’s sole tyre manufacturer Pirelli has revealed that the late-race tyre drama at last weekend’s British Grand Prix was caused by the extreme longevity of the hard-compound stints.
In the closing stages of the British Grand Prix, several drivers suffered punctures including the leading pair of Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas and the fifth-placed Carlos Sainz. While the Finn and the Spaniard failed to score a single point due to the late tyre drama, the Briton was lucky to enjoy a comfortable lead and limped back to the chequered flag to win his seventh victory at the British Grand Prix.
The Milan-based tyre supplier has quickly launched an investigation into the problem to find out the cause of the punctures. The results were very much needed and urgent as the field is staying for a second race at Silverstone that will take place this weekend and will be titled as the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix.
Pirelli has now issued a statement, confirming the results of its investigation. According to their analysis „the key reason is down to a set of individual race circumstances that led to an extremely long use of the second set of tyres. The second safety car period prompted nearly all the teams to anticipate their planned pit stop and so carry out a particularly long final stint: around 40 laps, which is more than three-quarters the total race length on one of the most demanding tracks of the calendar.
Pirelli also stated that the increased speed and the subsequent increased aerodynamic loads also played a part in the tyre failures. Lewis Hamilton's lap time of 1m24.303 with which the Briton secured the pole position for the British Grand Prix was over a second faster than his team-mate Valtteri Bottas' 2019 record-breaking pole position time.
„Combined with the notably increased pace of the 2020 Formula 1 cars (pole position was 1.2 seconds faster compared to 2019) this made the final laps of the British Grand Prix especially tough, as a consequence of the biggest forces ever seen on tyres generated by the fastest Formula 1 cars in history.
„The overall result was the most challenging operating conditions for tyres. These led to the front-left tyre (which is well-known for working hardest at Silverstone) being placed under maximum stress after a very high number of laps, with the resulting high wear meaning that it was less protected from the extreme forces in play,” read the Pirelli statement.
The tyre manufacturer that returned to F1 in 2011 confirmed that the nominated compounds C2, C3, and C4, being one step softer than those seen at the last GP will be used this weekend. In order to guarantee safety at the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix, the usage prescription will be reviewed, increasing the minimum tyre pressures to reduce the stress on the construction.