Maurizio Arrivabene says it was always Ferrari's intention to adopt a one-stop strategy during the Belgian Grand Prix based on its data, denying it had taken a gamble by going longer on a set of tyres than Pirelli deemed acceptable.
Sebastian Vettel lost a potential podium finish after the right-rear tyre blew dramatically less than two laps from the chequered flag during the Belgian Grand Prix. He was the only driver to stop only once in the race and was using medium tyres that had completed 27 laps when they failed.
Prompting a furious reaction from Vettel
in the immediate aftermath of the incident, particularly as it occurred just moments after he had rounded Eau Rouge, Pirelli countered that Ferrari was to blame for pushing the wear-life of the tyre too far given it had recommended two or even three stops in the race.
However, Arrivabene insists Ferrari was confident in its reasoning to adopt a one-stop strategy, saying it would never risk a driver's safety in order to be overly aggressive, while every decision was made in the presence of its Pirelli race engineer, who flagged no warnings.
“It was our Plan A strategy – the main plan before the race. We decided that at 11 o'clock in the morning. Precisely. Normally, when you do the strategy at that time during the strategy meeting it is based on data that you have in your hands.
“The strategy was absolutely right – the one-stop. I want to clear up immediately that when we do the strategy we have the data and the data is based on the strategy. Seb, of course, was disappointed. When you are one and a half laps from third position on the podium and you are going to lose it suddenly, of course you are disappointed.
“I tell you, the strategy normally, even if aggressive is based on clear data that you have, so you are not so stupid or so crazy to take a risk for the driver if you are not reading the data quite right. Don't worry, our job was right.”
In the hours after the race, Pirelli has since gone on the offensive
, deflecting the emphasis onto teams by stating it proposed a cap to the number of laps a set of tyres can legally do, only for it to be rejected. However, Arrivabene says the sudden nature of the blow out was worrying given there was no indication it was about to fail.
“We had zero warning, I can show you the paper. We have an engineer and all the teams have an engineer from Pirelli, so what do you think that engineer is doing? He's not there to eat chewing gum, he's there to check the tyres, to follow all the runs that you are doing and to give the data to the team.”