Pirelli insists that Sebastian Vettel's puncture on the opening lap of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix wasn't caused by a structural failure of his right-rear tyre.
The Red Bull driver had started the race from pole position but before he had chance to try and build a lead, the German was forced to retire when he suddenly suffered the puncture going into turn two; with the resultant damage putting him out of the race.
Although there was hardly any of the tyre left by the time Vettel had returned to the pits, there was enough for Pirelli to able to carry out a full investigation which ruled out structural failure of either the tyre of the valve.
“We can confirm that a structural failure was not the cause of Sebastian Vettel's deflation in Abu Dhabi, a conclusion that we have arrived at together with Red Bull Racing following a detailed examination and analysis of the remains of the tyre,” Pirelli motorsport chief Paul Hembery said.
“We cannot rule out debris on the track causing damage to the tyre, which then provoked a deflation, but having looked at the track closely there is no direct evidence of this.”
The retirement was Vettel's first of the 2011 season and first since the Korean GP last year.