Sebastian Vettel has played down the threat of drivers' boycotting this weekend's German Grand Prix in the wake of the tyre issues experienced at Silverstone.
The Grand Prix Drivers' Association [GPDA] released a statement
on Thursday in which they said “if similar [tyre] problems should manifest themselves during the German GP, we shall immediately withdraw from the event, as this avoidable problem with the tyres endangers again the lives of drivers, marshals and fans.”
However, speaking after practice on Friday, in which no drivers' experienced any blow-outs, the German, a director on the GPDA, emphasised that they do trust Pirelli and that it was not meant as a direct threat.
“It was not a threat,” he told reporters at the Nurburgring when quizzed by Sky Sports F1
. “You must have got it wrong. I think we expressed that we trust Pirelli and it was a good day today. But we also expressed that should there be an incident we would think about something like that. Fortunately nothing happened today and the tyres worked fine.”
“We didn't say we won't race,” he added. “We said first of all we trust that within a couple of days the steps that Pirelli took are working, which they were today despite high tyre wear - especially on the soft tyre. Yes, we came together but the point was not to threaten.”
Vettel meanwhile finished the opening day quickest on a 1min 30.416secs, although in the morning session he was only eighth.
“I think Mercedes were bloody quick this morning, we couldn't have done that,” he noted. “I wasn't entirely happy with the car in the morning but in the afternoon I was in better shape and the long runs were determined by traffic etc. So we'll see, but quite happy with where we were in the afternoon.”
Team-mate Mark Webber echoed those thoughts: “It was okay today and we had dry weather, which was good – it meant we could get our runs done on both compounds and the new tyres seem okay,” said the Aussie, who was third fastest in both sessions. “Pirelli have done what they can and gone back to tyres they know work here.
"It's impossible to tell how they will affect the performance of the car – but it feels comfortable so far,” he concluded.