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Pirelli: Tire failures caused by outside factors

Aug 23, 2013, 3:30 PM EDT

A McLaren Formula One technician checks Pirelli tyres in Spa-Francorchamps Reuters

Pirelli’s motorsport director Paul Hembery has explained that the tire failures which occurred towards the end of Free Practice 2 today at Spa-Francorchamps were due to “outside factors” besides the tires themselves.

Sebastian Vettel suffered a tire delamination with around twenty minutes remaining in FP2, forcing him to crawl back to the pits and costing him the final part of the session. Although the Red Bull driver still finished P1, the cause of the puncture was not identified by the team. Just after the session, Fernando Alonso revealed that he too suffered from a slow puncture during his final lap. However, Hembery has been quick to clear Pirelli’s name.

“Towards the end of the afternoon session, both Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso had a puncture on their right-rear tire around turn 14 and we are currently investigating the cause,” he said in a statement from Pirelli. “From initial analysis it appears that both were caused by an outside factor, probably debris on the track.”

The incident involving Vettel harked back to the tire blowout fiasco that ensued at the British Grand Prix earlier this year, where five tire failures risked the safety of the drivers and caused the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association to threaten to boycott the German Grand Prix.

However, Pirelli have since introduced a new construction of tire – matching the one used in 2012 – to prevent such occurrences.

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