Massa bewildered by Bahrain tyre failures

Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari F138 makes a pit stop
Felipe Massa makes a pit stop in Bahrain

In the wake of the Bahrain GP weekend, a new problem could be emerging for Pirelli, as the mere safety of its already controversial 2013 Formula 1 tyres is now called into question.

The occurrence of tyre failures – or delaminations – appears to be on the rise this season, amid already widespread criticism of the heavily-degrading Pirellis.

“I’ve never had two problems (failures) with tyres in one race. I don’t know what it is, but it’s too much,” Ferrari’s Felipe Massa is quoted as saying by Sky Italia after the Bahrain race.

“Maybe there was debris on the track, but I didn’t feel any contact,” he added.

Pirelli chief Paul Hembery said the Italian marque’s engineers had identified “cuts” on the failed tyre, “and we’re currently trying to find out what caused those cuts”.

But Massa told Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport that his first problem was caused “probably by delamination of the tread, like (Lewis) Hamilton in practice”.

One theory doing the rounds is that Pirelli’s extreme, show approach to degradation in 2013 has compromised the basic safety of the tyres.

“It’s hard to say,” Massa responded, “it hasn’t happened to me before, and we’ve already had a few races this year, so no.But we do need to understand what happened and then make sure we are putting any complaining in the right direction.”