Pirelli is claiming to have found the cause of the punctures that raised concerns amongst drivers after F1 practice at the Belgian Grand Prix, pointing the finger at a piece of metal found close to the edge of the track at Fagnes.
Both Sebastian Vettel
and Fernando Alonso
returned to the pits with deflated right-rear tyres, while other teams reported cuts and nicks in their rubber at the end of the session. Pirelli's Paul Hembery maintained that debris was to blame, rather than a repeat of the structural problems that blighted the tyres at Silverstone, but admitted that proof would be needed to put minds at rest.
Following a search of the section between turns 13-15, where both Vettel and Alonso picked up their punctures and including the spot where Giedo van der Garde went off into the barriers in an unexplained incident, Pirelli claimed to have found a piece of metal, a tungsten part thought to have come from Kimi Raikkonen's Lotus, on the racing line close to turn 14.
"There are certainly no tyre-related issues," Hembery told reporters ahead of Saturday's third and final practice session, "We've seen no signs of fatigue and, from our point of view, there's no reason to be concerned."
The explanation appears to have calmed fears amongst the drivers, according to GPDA chairman Pedro de la Rosa.
"We only asked to know what it was," he told BBC Sport
, "If it had been the first time we'd seen it we would have been relaxed but, after all the problems this year, we were definitely concerned."