Formula 1 responds to tyre exploding crisis by allowing more testing

Pirelli tyre technicians at work during the British GP weekend

Pirelli tyre technicians at work during the British GP weekend

The world of Formula 1 has already begun to respond to the crisis triggered by Sunday’s tyre-exploding British Grand Prix, with the sport’s bosses agreeing to unlimited testing in order to get the problems ironed out.

Earlier this year, because Pirelli insisted the problem was merely aesthetic rather than a matter of safety, a few teams blocked moves to introduce a new tyre to stop delaminations.

DPA news agency said the most powerful men in Formula 1 – Bernie Ecclestone and FIA president Jean Todt – met at Silverstone and arranged for Pirelli to be able to conduct two three-day tests.

Formula 1 chief executive Ecclestone said Pirelli can even use 2013 cars, even though the Italian marque’s recent test with Mercedes was heavily frowned upon by the FIA.

“They can use what they like,” said Ecclestone. “No restrictions. None at all, so they can do what they want.”

Jean Todt with Bernie Ecclestone

Jean Todt with Bernie Ecclestone

Red Bull designer Adrian Newey, hitting out at those resisting teams including Lotus, Ferrari and Force India, blamed the Silverstone chaos on their “short-sightedness”.

“It’s a sad state of affairs but such is the nature of F1, really,” he is quoted by the Telegraph.

However, Lotus team boss Eric Boullier has reacted immediately to Silverstone by insisting that because it is now a safety issue, the team will no longer block any changes.

And Telegraph correspondent Tom Cary said on Monday that Ferrari and Force India have also now acknowledged “that safety came before their own competitive interests”.

Nonetheless, Force India owner Vijay Mallya has been quoted as questioning the seriousness of the tyre explosions, while Lotus’ Alan Permane pointed out to Auto Motor und Sport that Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean had no problems at all on Sunday.

Vijay Mallya at Silverstone

Vijay Mallya at Silverstone

Force India sporting director Otmar Szafnauer added: “We had no problems. Maybe it’s because we adhere strictly to Pirelli’s guidelines regarding tyre pressures and camber.”

The most immediate issue for F1, however, is how to react to the Silverstone crisis just days ahead of the next race at the Nurburgring.

A step in the right direction is the immediate decision to relax F1’s strict testing rules for Pirelli.

Sir Jackie Stewart is quoted by the Daily Mail: “They’ve got to open up the regulations and do as many tests as [Pirelli] needs to drive in order to feel comfortable that their tyres are durable.” (GMM)

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