Cars, not tyres, now focus of Pirelli vibration investigation
Pirelli is not worried about the integrity of its F1 tyres at Spa following overnight investigations into the vibration effect captured on by slow motion TV replays.
However, there remain concerns from some teams that vibrations could trigger car failures in the race.
TV replays, notably one of Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes, showed a resonance effect as cars accelerated out of the chicane onto the pit straight, with the rear tyres distorting and the whole of the car shaking. The effect was also seen under acceleration out of the hairpin.
Williams technical chief Paddy Lowe believes that a rear wing endplate failure on Lance Stroll’s car in Q1 resulted from the issue.
Some observers have likened the situation to Austria last year, when kerbs created a similar resonance and Nico Rosberg and Daniil Kvyat suffered failures.
Given that the two corners where the phenomenon is happening precede the high-speed run through Eau Rouge, and that even the loss of minor bodywork parts such as flaps could create puncture issues for following cars, it’s understandable that some teams have expressed concerns.
Indeed, having seen the TV images, Red Bull Racing is conducting ultrasonic crack tests on suspension today, a process that has to be requested under FIA’s parc ferme rules.
Pirelli F1 boss Mario Isola says that investigations are still ongoing, but following inspection of cut-up tyres at Spa and more work back in Italy, he’s confident that the tyres themselves are not at risk of failure.
“In all our investigations on the laboratories the tyres are OK,” Isola told Motorsport.com. “Now we’re having a look in the data more in detail on this specific effect.
"What is important to understand how is this effect generated. We had the time to speak to the teams last night, but then they had to go, and we had some more information this morning.
“It looks like we have this vibration is just out of Turn 19 and Turn 1, so it is a specific point, it’s not on all the circuit. But because it is the first time we see it so clearly – and maybe also the slow motion images were announcing a little bit this effect – when we see this, we want to understand it.
“We are checking with all the teams, because it’s important to have feedback from them. They have not only the data, they look at the suspension, they look at the floor, they look at the wings, so they can give us more complete feedback. Obviously if you touch certain frequencies, then you can generate a failure.”
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