Pirelli reveals findings from Baku tyre failures investigation
Wednesday 16th June, 2021 - 8:46am
Pirelli claims that the failures which led to Max Verstappen and Lance Stroll crashing out of the Formula 1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix were caused by the operating conditions of the tyres.
Stroll was speared hard left into the wall on the front straight when the left-rear on his Aston Martin failed midway through the Baku race.
Verstappen also lost his left-rear tyre on the main straight when he had victory in sight, his Red Bull slewing into the barriers on driver’s right with just a handful of laps to go.
In both instances, the tyres in question were of the hard compound and had done approximately 30 laps, shy of the 41-lap life for which Pirelli had rated them.
However, a cut was found in Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton’s right-rear tyre after the grand prix, suggesting debris may have in fact played a part in the punctures.
Having sent the tyres in question back to its Milan headquarters to conduct an investigation, Pirelli has declared that they had no inherent faults, nor fatigue or delamination.
Instead, the supplier has stated that the dramas were caused by the running conditions of the tyres, citing how the failures began on each inner sidewall.
“This analysis also took in the tyres used by other cars in the race, which had the same or a higher number of laps on them compared to the ones that were damaged,” read a statement from Pirelli.
“The process established that there was no production or quality defect on any of the tyres; nor was there any sign of fatigue or delamination.
“The causes of the two left-rear tyre failures on the Aston Martin and Red Bull cars have been clearly identified.
“In each case, this was down to a circumferential break on the inner sidewall, which can be related to the running conditions of the tyre, in spite of the prescribed starting parameters (minimum pressure and maximum blanket temperature) having been followed.”
The latter remark suggests the possibility that, while Red Bull and Aston Martin adhered to the mandated minimum starting pressures, the pressures fell during on-track running, when no such stipulation exists.
Pirelli also reports that protocols for the management of tyres during a race weekend have now been updated.
“As a result of this analysis, Pirelli have submitted their report to the FIA and the Teams,” the statement adds.
“The FIA and Pirelli have agreed a new set of the protocols, including an upgraded technical directive already distributed, for monitoring operating conditions during a race weekend and they will consider any other appropriate actions.”
The French Grand Prix, Round 7 of the season, takes place this weekend, with Practice 1 commencing on Friday at 19:30 AEST.
CLICK HERE for Red Bull Racing’s response