GPDA: Talks, not boycott right way to solve F1 tyre issue

The Grand Prix Drivers' Association believes that dialogue, rather than a boycott threat, will be the best way for Formula 1 to move on from the Belgian Grand Prix tyre controversy.

Sebastian Vettel and Nico Rosberg were left furious after suffering high-speed tyre failures at Spa-Francorchamps, and said the situation was 'unacceptable'.

They have asked for changes to be made for this weekend's Italian Grand Prix to ensure there is no repeat.

Back in 2013, in the wake of Silverstone tyre blowouts, the GPDA said its members reserved the right to strike if there were further failures, but such draconian action has been ruled out this time.

Speaking to Motorsport.com, GPDA chairman Alex Wurz said: "We are far away from a boycott scenario.

"These things have happened to lots of manufacturers, not just Pirelli. We have had Michelin and Bridgestone too, because in F1 everything technically is always evolving and the forces can grow rapidly on tyres.

"There is a fine line of performance and safety, which we all accept. But then every so often we have to sit down and say 'okay, where are we on this line?' Are we below or above? We have to have this constructive conversation going on."

Monza talks

Wurz said that the GPDA had been in contact with both Pirelli and FIA after the Belgian GP, and the priority from all parties was that driver safety was not compromised.

Discussions will continue this week ahead of the Monza race.

"There is a dialogue ongoing which is extremely important for the evolution of the sport to exchange what drivers think, what Pirelli finds and what the FIA's standpoint is," added Wurz.

"So talks are going on but I think in these situations, with a few parties involved, it is best to keep the details of the dialogue private for now, and I don't want to go in to details now.

"But what I can assure you is that each of these parties is always putting driver safety at the highest level."

No blame game

While Pirelli and Ferrari have yet to release any official statement about the exact cause of Vettel's blowout, Wurz said the important thing now was to make sure there is no repeat in the future.

"With regard to the tyre failures, we have seen two in Spa, one we can explain, one is still under investigation. But in the history of F1 we have seen many tyre failures.

"We are not blaming [anyone], we just want to know how is the future now looking and what steps will be done. This is not finally decided and at this stage it is not a conversation I want to go in to detail about."

The FIA said last week that it is prepared to enforce any safety guidelines that Pirelli proposes to guarantee no repeat tyre dramas at the Italian GP.

Interview by Sam Smith

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Article type Breaking news
Tags gpda, pirelli