5 July 2013
German Grand Prix: GPDA will assess tyre issues before boycott
GPDA chairman Pedro de la Rosa has said thare will be no rushing drivers into pulling out of the German Grand Prix amid concerns over tyres.
Grand Prix Drivers Association chairman Pedro de la Rosa has revealed that the F1 grid will not stage a mass walk-out at the first hint of tyre trouble at the Nurburgring, despite threats of a boycott following the problems encountered at the British Grand Prix a week.
Round nine of the 2013 F1 season opened with concerns that the event may not happen if Pirelli could not find an adequate solution to the blow-outs that afflicted five drivers during the Silverstone race. Concerned that their safety may be at risk, the drivers, almost unanimously, said that they would be prepared to sit out the Nurburgring event if there was any repeat of the tyre issues, despite Pirelli being able to introduce a revised rear specification, containing a Kevlar belt in place of the steel one used to this point in the season.
Speaking less than 24 hours after the GPDA issued a statement setting out its concerns and threatening a potential boycott, de la Rosa attempted to calm the waters by explaining that the drivers' body would approach any incident in a rational manner.
""Boycotting is not the word at all, it is about being safe," the former racer reasoned, "There was not one driver against what was decided. Safety comes first and, if there is any issue with blowouts this weekend, we have to think about our own lives, [as well as those of] the marshals and the fans.
"It is not worth taking any more risks. All the drivers have gone through enough risk already, for the past few races and especially the last. However, if there is a blow-out, we will think about it, look at the case in particular and decide.
"You can have punctures, blow-outs for many other reasons, like if there is a big piece of carbon fibre that goes through the tyre. That is part of racing. There is no problem with that. "It is about being sensible and analysing what happens.”
The Spaniard admitted that, should any incidents only rear their head during the race, rather than practice or qualifying, it may not be down to the drivers to take action.
"In the race, there is not much we can do," de la Rosa confirmed, "It is up to race control to take a decision or red flag it. [Safety delegate] Charlie [Whiting] has always been very supportive of us when there has been too much water [on track] and we consider this at least a similar scenario, so we trust Charlie. We are happy to be in his hands."
de la Rosa, currently Ferrari's test and development driver, was quick to praise both the FIA and Pirelli for the way in which they responded to the Silverstone situation, with the tyre supplier bring enough of its revised rear tyres to cater for the whole Nurburgring weekend.
“We really think what Pirelli has brought here is safe,” he noted, “They have done incredible work to bring [the tyre] here in such a short time."
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