Race director Charlie Whiting has admitted that the British Grand Prix was almost stopped on safety grounds because of issues with the Pirelli tyres used at Silverstone.

Lewis Hamilton, Felipe Massa, Jean-Eric Vergne and Sergio Perez all suffered dramatic blow-outs when their left rear tyres failed in the race, with the first three incidents in the early stages leading to the Safety Car being deployed to allow marshals to clean the circuit.

Drivers were also warned to try and avoid the kerbs to try and ensure there were no further issues, although Perez then suffered his incident later in the race.

Whiting has now revealed that the incidents were almost enough to cause the race to be brought to an early conclusion on safety grounds, with the governing body seeking answers from Pirelli as to the cause of the punctures.

"Four catastrophic failures is a first," Whiting was quoted by ESPN. "It was quite close to being red-flagged; it did occur to me to do that," Whiting said. "Obviously to clear up all that debris was putting marshals at risk, and it is not satisfactory.

"We haven't seen a failure like this before; we have seen other types of failure, and that's what has been addressed. So we need to analyse it very carefully to see if we can establish the cause.

"It's too early to draw any conclusions. They have a lot of analysing to do, including the tyres that didn't fail. Maybe we will find something there that was on the verge of failing that will give us a better indicator of what happened.

"It is too early to say what will happen, so it's too early to say what needs to be done."

The FIA has since confirmed that race drivers will be able to take part in the Young Driver Test at Silverstone to aid with tyre development work.


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