Formula 1 tyre supplier Pirelli has announced the results of an “initial analysis” into the tyre failures that occurred during the British Grand Prix.
The two Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas, as well as McLaren’s Carlos Sainz, all suffered punctures in quick succession in the closing stages of the race.
All three had been running on C1 compound tyres that had completed nearly 40 laps, after Daniil Kvyat’s crash and subsequent safety car had forced the vast majority of the competitors into early pitstops.
Though debris, possibly from Kimi Raikkonen’s front wing failure, have been mooted as a potential factor responsible for the punctures, Pirelli’s analysis did not mention these as a probable cause, instead highlighting excessive wear.
“The key reason is down to a set of individual race circumstances that led to an extremely long use of the second set of tyres,” Pirelli’s statement read.
“The second safety car period prompted nearly all the teams to anticipate their planned pit stop and so carry out a particularly long final stint: around 40 laps, which is more than three-quarters the total race length on one of the most demanding tracks of the calendar.
“Combined with the notably increased pace of the 2020 Formula 1 cars (pole position was 1.2 seconds faster compared to 2019) this made the final laps of the British Grand Prix especially tough, as a consequence of the biggest forces ever seen on tyres generated by the fastest Formula 1 cars in history.
“The overall result was the most challenging operating conditions for tyres. These led to the front-left tyre (which is well-known for working hardest at Silverstone) being placed under maximum stress after a very high number of laps, with the resulting high wear meaning that it was less protected from the extreme forces in play.”
Pirelli has also communicated that the failures will not impact the plan to deploy a softer range of tyres for the second Silverstone race weekend.
The British GP used C1, C2 and C3 tyres, but C2 will become the hard for the 70th Anniversary GP event, with C3 named as the medium and C4 as the soft.
Pirelli says it will “review the usage prescription” for the event, and will raise minimal tyre pressures for slicks.
These were 25 psi for the front tyres and 21 psi for the rear during the British GP.
The tyre pressures for an F1 weekend are usually revealed in the race director notes, normally published on Thursday morning before the event.
Gary Anderson says…
What Pirelli found is not really a surprise given the high loads at Silverstone, wear was always likely.
I expected the increased front tyre pressure and although it hasn’t anything specific yet, I expect the lap limit on any tyres compound will be reduced.
The result of all this is that it will be dependent on how the race unfolds. If we get a similar safety car usage then I’m sure someone will try to bring it home on one stop, even if the softer compounds dictate that a two-stop strategy is fastest.
I suppose you could say this is another opportunity to try something different being wasted.