F1 team bosses defend Pirelli after Rosberg failure

Formula 1 team bosses have defended Pirelli in the wake of Nico Rosberg's tyre failure during practice for the Belgian Grand Prix.

Even though there remains uncertainty about what was the exact cause of the right rear tyre problem that pitched Rosberg off the track, McLaren and Mercedes chiefs are adamant that they have total faith in the F1 tyre company.

McLaren racing director Eric Boullier said that his outfit had been reassured about the situation, and was comfortable that a theory the issue was related to a car part touching the tyre (see main photo) meant it was something unique to Mercedes.

"Obviously we are in constant contact with Pirelli and we follow very, very carefully all the analysis," explained Boullier. "And actually we have also offered as much support as we could.

"As you know there is not a clear answer, but they [Pirelli] went through all the different possibilities and the most likely one is that part of the bodywork of the Mercedes has just touched the tyre, and this is why [it cut]. This is what we understand.

"Don't take this as a statement because there is no evidence about this, but this is something which at least has a logical explanation about it. And it is not about the structure of the tyres or anything like this.

"So before the session this morning we had a discussion with Fernando [Alonso] and Jenson [Button], and having this sort of answer we felt more comfortable."

He added: "At the same time they are still running some investigations, I know they analysed all the tyres yesterday and couldn't find anything strange.

"So there is no core evidence but one of the possibilities is this one: and it is more and more likely it is this one."

Mercedes takes measures

Mercedes remains convinced that bodywork coming into contact with the tyres was not to blame, having conducted numerous checks to try to recreate the situation.

However, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said the team had responded by taking extra precautions to guarantee no repeat.

"We have spent an awful lot of time together with Pirelli analysing what happened and really trying to tick all boxes in terms of safety," he said. "We couldn't find the problem.

"So I'm pretty comfortable that it comes down to something getting into the tyre, some kind of bizarre situation but not something we could understand.

"From that point of view we took all measures in order to avoid [it happening again]. We had a couple of limits that were set by Pirelli in terms of the tyre working mechanically and we are well within those limits, and have made a step even further today."

Button happy

McLaren driver Jenson Button also welcomed Pirelli's response to the incident.

"It is never nice to see anything like that happen," he said. "We have had tyre issues in the past but to have what looked like a tyre explode is never nice to see.

"I think he was extremely lucky where it happened, missing the barriers completely. If it had happened before or after, it would have been a very different situation.

"But as far as we know and from what Eric told us, I think Pirelli have done a very good job of looking in to what caused it and going through every single piece of data.

"Of course you have to trust the tyre manufacturer that supplies the tyres and we have to hope there is another reason for it, but I don't know what that reason was."

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Event Belgian GP
Track Spa-Francorchamps
Drivers Nico Rosberg
Teams Mercedes
Article type Breaking news
Tags pirelli