Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel launched a verbal attack on the Pirelli tyres used in Formula 1, saying that the blowout that cost him a podium finish, and the similar failure Nico Rosberg suffered on Friday, are “not acceptable”.
Vettel was running third, fending off Romain Grosjean's Lotus in the closing stages of the Belgian GP at Spa, when his right-rear tyre failed on the Kemmel Straight – just after the Eau Rouge sequence.
He denied that Ferrari was being too ambitious with its one-stop strategy, and claimed its decision to run the medium tyre for a long stint shouldn't have been at the risk of a high-speed blowout.
"How many laps was I missing? Not many," he said. "Things like that are not allowed to happen. If it happens 200 metres earlier, I'm not standing here now.
"I'm at 300kph stuck in Eau Rouge. I don't know what else needs to happen.
"Upsetting is that one thing is the result, you know this is racing, for sure we deserved to finish on the podium, but the other thing is if this happens earlier then…
"You know [sighs]… It's the sort of theme that keeps going around, nobody is mentioning, but it is unacceptable."
"What's the answer?"
Vettel and other drivers spoke with FIA race director and safety delegate Charlie Whiting following Rosberg's issue on Friday, and said he thinks his concern was taken seriously, but wondered why nothing was done about it.
"I think it was but what's the answer? Same as every time – 'yeah, there was a cut, debris, maybe something was wrong with the bodywork, maybe the driver went wide' – bullshit.
"If Nico tells us he didn't go off the track, he didn't go off the track. Why should he lie to us?
"Same with me, I didn't go off the track. It's just out of the blue the tyre explodes. As I said, if this happens earlier… I think we need to speak to each other. It's probably not as bad as it was at Silverstone, but it's not acceptable."