Sebastian Vettel slams Pirelli after dramatic Belgian Grand Prix tyre failure
Sebastian Vettel has launched a furious attack on Formula 1 tyre supplier Pirelli after the Ferrari driver suffered a dramatic tyre failure in the ...
Sebastian Vettel has launched a furious attack on Formula 1 tyre supplier Pirelli after the Ferrari driver suffered a dramatic tyre failure in the closing stages of the Belgian Grand Prix.
The four-times world champion was running a distant third behind Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg when his right rear tyre exploded as he ran onto the Kemmel straight on lap 42 of the 43 lap race.
Vettel had been attempting to get to the end of the race on a one-stop strategy and was fending off Lotus driver Romain Grosjean when the failure occurred, mere seconds after he’d passed through the high-speed Eau Rouge corner.
After the race, Vettel gave a heated interview to the BBC where he blamed Pirelli for the failure as the Ferrari team were under the impression the medium compound tyre could do 40 laps. The puncture occurred 28 laps into the German driver’s second stint.
Vettel said: "Things like that are not allowed to happen. If it happened 200m earlier, I'm not standing here now; I'd be stuck in Eau Rouge.
"I tell you what's upsetting. What's upsetting for one thing is the result. We deserved to finish on the podium.
"[Tyres are] a theme that keeps coming around, that nobody is mentioning, but is unacceptable. What was the answer? The same as every time: ‘there was a cut, debris, there might be something wrong with the bodywork, the driver went wide.”
Pirelli had already been under scrutiny during the weekend at Spa after Rosberg also suffered a dramatic tyre failure in Friday’s second practice session that Pirelli said was caused by debris cutting the tyre.
Vettel indicated that in both incidents, neither driver went off the circuit and picked up debris that could have caused the punctures.
He said: "If Nico tells us he didn't go off the track, then he didn't go off the track. Why should he lie to us? It's the same with me, I didn't go off the track, just out of the blue the tyre explodes. If this happened earlier then I'm f****d.
"It's probably not as bad as it was at Silverstone some years ago but it's not acceptable."
Pirelli motorsport boss Paul Hembery responded that although the medium compound tyre had an indicated wear-life of approximately 40 laps, the changing conditions in the race meant that could not be relied on to absolute certainty and it was Ferrari’s choice to run the tyre for so long.
Hembery said: "[Vettel did] 28 laps, it was more we thought the strategy would be based on two or three stops, as the majority did, but they clearly felt they could make it work on the one stop. They obviously felt that was feasible.
"Wear-life was indicated at around 40 laps, but it's an indication and race conditions can change that and some factors involved in racing mean that sometimes it's not a precise datum. Other teams were taking a different direction."
Vettel had done 189km on the medium compound tyres on the high loadings of Spa before he hit trouble.
Looking back through the season for comparables; at Silverstone last month, another track with very high corner loadings, the same Medium compound tyres went for 36 laps or 212km on the Manor car, but this much slower car would not have stressed the tyres like a Ferrari.
Felipe Massa did 32 laps in Bahrain on a set of mediums, which is 172km. THe longest stint at Barcelona on mediums was Rosberg at 138km.
The failure dropped Vettel to 12th in the final classification as he was forced to tour slowly back to the pits and his non-score meant he has dropped further out of contention for the world title.
Massa finished sixth and Bottas ninth in the Belgian GP
Sahara Force India scored ten points on the Belgian GP