Explosive Grand Prix

2013-pirelli-tyre-sectionSomeone at the FIA has a sense of humour. The press release they put out after Sunday’s British Grand Prix was hit with rear tyres going bang left, right and centre, proclaimed: “Rosberg Wins Explosive Grand Prix”. British fans made themselves heard on Sunday when they cheered Hamilton as he led the race, fell silent when Hamilton was the first to lose a rear tyre and then cheered even louder when Vettel’s Red Bull broke down.

In the end we were treated to some very exciting racing, with the second safety car period giving us a superb last six laps. Drivers on newer tyres were able to catch and pass others on older tyres. Alonso, Webber and Hamilton making the most of the opportunity. Since the chequered flag, journalists have been picking over the exploding tyre issue, with most recognising that it is not all Pirelli’s fault. They were asked to make changes to the tyres to make the racing exciting and they have delivered!

Unfortunately, no matter how well the journalists do in making the case for Pirelli, the brand is suffering. When we commented on our Facebook Page about the race, there were a lot of comments that showed the public think Pirelli’s tyres are not good enough. Unless Pirelli and F1 take decisive action, then both brands will suffer as a result. The next couple of races do not put the same sort of pressure on the tyres. Neither the Nurburgring or Hungaroring feature the sort of high speed corners that Silverstone provides, but by late August the drivers will have to be confident that they have tyres that can handle Spa – a track that features very high speeds and very fast bends.

Alonso is a very hard racer, so for him to comment that he was “scared” when he dodged flying steel-reinforced rubber by a centimetre shows just how serious the issue is for the drivers. I know that I wouldn’t want to be following a car when its tyre separates itself from the wheel at 200mph, nor would I want to be driving the car that suffered the tyre failure.

Pirelli and F1 employ some very clever people. I am sure that they will resolve the problem. The good news for us fans is that Vettel’s gearbox failure stopped him from extending his lead when Hamilton’s tyre failure handed him the race lead. A race win is worth 25 points and Vettel’s lead is just 21 points, so the championship remains alive and well.

Jim Graham

Thanks to PlanetF1.com and Pirelli for the images used.