Pirelli explains Spa punctures amid Michelin return speculation

Michelin F1 tyres

Michelin F1 tyres

Pirelli revealed that metal debris, not a tyre design flaw, caused the rear failures and cuts seen at Spa-Francorchamps during free practice on Friday.

The latest tyre problems revived memories of June’s tyre-exploding chaos at Silverstone, and reportedly pushed the drivers back to the brink of boycott.

But Pirelli said on Saturday morning that the punctures had been traced to a piece of metal debris on the circuit that had fallen from Kimi Raikkonen’s Lotus.

Motor sport boss Paul Hembery told reporters: “There are certainly no tyre-related issues.

“We’ve seen no signs of fatigue and from our point of view there’s no reason to be concerned.”

Media reports said that the Pirelli investigation has allayed the drivers’ fears.

But it hasn’t stopped rumours that Michelin, reportedly backed politically by FIA president Jean Todt, is poised to return to Formula 1 to replace Pirelli in 2014.

The BBC said that the French marque has already held talks with the governing body, while a Michelin spokesman confirmed the company is still “interested” in F1 but would want a shift away from the new era of heavy tyre degradation. (GMM.)

Subbed by AJN.