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Nurburgring race under threat after tyre failures?

Martin Whitmarsh: There is that danger [of a boycott] and rightly so if teams and drivers aren't convinced that they can [race] safely...
McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh has revealed that German Grand Prix this coming weekend could be under threat following the various tyre failures that blighted the event at Silverstone on Sunday.

Lewis Hamilton, Felipe Massa, Jean-Eric Vergne and Sergio Perez all suffered high-profile failures of the left-rear tyre, the Mexican enduring his second such fright of the weekend after a similar problem in Saturday's final practice session.

While Pirelli has promised to investigate the issues and has been summoned to meet the FIA Sporting Committee this Wednesday, Whitmarsh added that there is a need for unity rather than finger pointing and he has called on everyone to work together in a bid to prevent further blow-outs.

“There is that danger [of a boycott] and rightly so if teams and drivers aren't convinced that they can [race] safely,” Whitmarsh told Sky Sports News. “But that's not what we want for F1. We have faced some of these issues before at Indianapolis [in 2005, when all the Michelin runners withdrew from the race] and that was terrible for the sport so we have really got to work together.

“This is not a time to point fingers, it's time to work together, find a solution and get on with it,” he added.

Hamilton, who had been leading when he suffered the first failure in the race on lap 8, was clearly not amused: “The safety is the biggest issue,” the Mercedes driver told British newspaper, The Daily Telegraph. “It's just unacceptable. We had that tyre test to develop and improve the tyres to stop that from happening and after that tyre test they didn't do anything.

“Someone could've crashed. I was thinking behind the safety car that it's only when someone gets hurt that something will be done about it.”

Perez and Vergne echoed those thoughts and both revealed that they had no warning prior to the blow-outs: “My race had been going well. I'd been running inside the top 10 for most of the afternoon when my left-rear tyre suddenly exploded. I just felt an explosion along the Hangar Straight – there was nothing I could really do about it,” Perez explained. “The tyres are a big concern. Luckily nothing too serious happened to anyone, but we need to sit down together, get an explanation and get something done.

“It was not dangerous this time because it happened on the straight but it could have been really serious. We are risking our lives and if something like this happens again, we don't want one of us to be killed.”

“I don't know what happened, I did not feel any warning signs and it just let go under braking,” Vergne continued. “I did manage to come back to the pits, fit new tyres and go out again, but the team immediately told me I had quite significant damage to the car, which in any case I could feel. I did not feel in danger, but it's just a shame that this sort of problem can waste a whole weekend's work for the team. I am very upset about it and something needs to be done about it soon.”

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
30.06.2013- Pirelli Tyres
30.06.2013- race, Felipe Massa (BRA) Scuderia Ferrari F138 with rear left tire exploded
30.06.2013- Race, Sergio Perez (MEX) McLaren MP4-28 with rear left tyre exploded
30.06.2013- Race, Sergio Perez (MEX) McLaren MP4-28 with rear left tyre exploded
30.06.2013- Race, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W04

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July 01, 2013 11:27 AM

The three teams are now lifting their opposition to the Kevlar belt tyres so I doubt this will happen. Mallya made me cringe though, said a tyre exploding in front of another driver wasn't a problem, as Newey suggested if the tyre hits the driver behind at 160+ it's a big problem. Mallya clearly doesn't but much value on the drivers well being.

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