Kimi Raikkonen’s British Grand Prix tyre problem was caused by external factors and not any structural weakness, Pirelli said on Wednesday.
Raikkonen and his Ferrari team mate Sebastian Vettel both suffered front left tyre problems in the closing laps at Silverstone two weeks ago, forcing both to pit.
Pirelli has already said that Vettel’s issue was caused by a slow puncture.
That problem dropped Ferrari’s Formula One championship leader from third to seventh, slashing his advantage over Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton to a single point with half the season remaining. Raikkonen ended up third.
On Wednesday, ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix, Pirelli said an analysis of Raikkonen’s tyre had found specific damage “consistent with contact against an external body”.
It said no issues had emerged connected with the tyre itself.
“The results of the analysis on Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen’s front-left soft compound tyre, which experienced an issue at the end of the recent British Grand Prix, reveal specific damage in two places at the edge of the belt close to the internal shoulder area.”
“This damage is not present throughout any other areas of the tyre whatsoever. Furthermore, the belt and the structure do not show any signs of fatigue.”
“The possible initial cause of this damage is consistent with contact against an external body, leading to a partial separation of the belt from the carcass in the two affected areas. In one of these two places, as a logical consequence, part of the tread also became detached.”
“This damage did not however compromise the actual tyre structure, with Raikkonen able to make his way safely back to the pits on an inflated tyre.”
“A number of detailed tests have since been carried out, both destructive and nondestructive, on other tyres used by frontrunners at the British Grand Prix with a similar or bigger distance on them compared to the set used by Raikkonen (for 25 laps). On no occasion was there any sign of fatigue, detachment or laceration – or even the beginning of such problems – that affected the structure of the tyre.”
“In conclusion, Pirelli can confirm that no issues have emerged connected with the tyre itself.”