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British Grand Prix: Silverstone defends kerbs amid tyre crisis

BRDC president Derek Warwick says F1, its teams, the FIA, Bernie Ecclestone and Pirelli all need to take an inward look before blaming Silverstone's kerbs for Sunday's tyre failures.
BRDC president Derek Warwick has dismissed suggestions that the kerbs at Silverstone played a major part in the spate of tyre failures seen at the British Grand Prix.

Several sources claimed that potential rough or sharp edges to the kerbs, especially around the extended section of the circuit, could have made a contributory factor to the four very public rear tyre failures that occurred during the race, with Pirelli's Paul Hembery also suggesting that the venue – and not specifically the kerbs - could have played a role in the situation.

"There might be some aspect to this circuit that impacts specifically on the latest version of our 2013 specification tyres but, at this point, we do not want to speculate,” Hembery commented, “We will now put together all the evidence to find out what happened and then take appropriate next steps should these be required.”

Having seen both Lewis Hamilton and Felipe Massa suffered blow-outs in the early part of the Wellington Straight, teams were quick to warn their drivers to stay off the kerbs in that section, although the suggestion went largely unheeded once racing resumed. The other two failures, suffered by Jean-Eric Vergne and Sergio Perez, occurred at opposite ends of the Hangar Straight, on the other side of the circuit, while the Mexican also had a tyre let go in the area of Becketts during Saturday morning practice.

Warwick – a former F1 driver with the likes of Renault, Lotus and Arrows – insists that there was nothing amiss with the kerbs, which had been in place for the past three British grands prix on the extended layout, and also played host to other international motorsport events on both two and four wheels without apparent problem.

"Absolute rubbish - these kerbs have been in since 2009 and we have had thousands and thousands of cars go over them and they have been absolutely fine," Warwick told Sky Sports News, "We have had them checked by the FIA and they conform fully with the FIA.”

The Briton's belief tallied with that of third-place finisher Fernando Alonso, who revealed that he too suffered damage to a tyre, but was fortunate not to have it destroy itself before getting back to the pits.

"I don't think that the kerbs have any influence because I have been racing for twelve years now in Silverstone and the kerbs they were never a problem,” the double world champion claimed, “I don't think that this year they were a problem."

Warwick instead suggested that the teams take a good look at themselves and their inability to reach an accord on the introduction of an alternative tyre specification, after Pirelli's attempts to bring a revised tyre to Silverstone were stymied by a minority who felt that the change would be more beneficial to their rivals.

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July 01, 2013 4:55 PM
Last Edited 1457 days ago

Silverstone has not been resurfaced or had new kerbs placed since last year when the new layout track was first used for F1 & there was not a problem with tyres then. Problem has to lay either at the construction of the tyres or at the teams themselves if what was said during the Sky commentary was true. According to the sky commentary Pirelli advised teams to run between 15 & 17 psi pressure in the tyres but some teams were running as low as 13psi. Lower pressure gives more grip but also allows sidewalls to run lower sometimes becoming an extension of the contact surface, If this happens the sidewall will give in fairly quickly.


July 02, 2013 1:06 AM

Wolfy35, I agree, having heard the same data from multiple sources now. The steel vs Kevlar carcass may have played a role in the severity of the failures, but it seems that under inflation was the primary cause for the failures due to the sidewall flex and curb interface. If the FIA are going to continue to regulate the tires to the degree they now are, perhaps they now need to place a minimum tire pressure regulation on the teams, just as they do for other important measurements. If everyone had been "properly inflated", I strongly suspect these failures would not have occurred.

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