Pirelli announces modifications to tyres

Pirelli has announced a range of measures designed to ensure drivers' lives are not put at risk in the wake of Sunday's British Grand Prix debacle.

Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes

The Silverstone race was overshadowed by several high-speed blowouts, forcing the Italian tyre manufacturer to act swiftly to guarantee the safety of not just the drivers, but also fans and marshals.

For this weekend's German Grand Prix at the Nurburgring, Pirelli is to use a belt made of Kevlar - a high-strength synthetic fibre which is more resistant to punctures - instead of steel on its rear tyres.

Later this month, from the Hungarian Grand Prix onwards, Pirelli is to use a tyre that fuses the structure, construction and belt from last year with the current compounds from this season.

Pirelli has been forced to respond given the dangerous incidents that unfolded at Silverstone where Lewis Hamilton, Felipe Massa, Jean-Eric Vergne, Esteban Gutierrez and Sergio Perez all suffered blowouts.

Following a thorough investigation, Pirelli has revealed a number of factors behind the failures that include the reverse mounting of the rear tyres, the adoption by the teams of too-low pressures, extreme cambers and the aggressive kerbing at Silverstone.

Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery said: "What happened at Silverstone was completely unexpected and it was the first time that anything like this has ever occurred in more than a century of Pirelli in motorsport.

"These incidents, which have upset us greatly, have stressed the urgency of the changes we already suggested - which will be introduced for free practice in Germany on Friday.

"We would like to acknowledge the willingness of the FIA, FOM teams, and drivers to act quickly to find an immediate solution to the problem.

"In particular, the adoption of winter tests, arranged with the FIA, that are more suitable for tyre development and the possibility of carrying out in-season testing, will contribute to the realisation of tyres with increasingly improved standards of safety and performance.

"I'd like to re-emphasise the fact the 2013 range of tyres, used in the correct way, is completely safe.

"What happened at Silverstone, though, has led us to ask for full access to real-time tyre data to ensure the correct usage and development of tyres that have the sophistication we were asked to provide and extremely high performance that has lowered lap times by more than two seconds on average.

"While we wait for a change in the rules, we will introduce tyres that are easier to manage."

The tyres to be used in Germany were those trialled in Canada last month, and which were designed to cure the delaminations seen in the first few races, which are not related to what happened on Sunday.

They were not introduced, however, due to a veto from three teams - Ferrari, Lotus and Force India - who were unwilling to switch given their performance levels in comparison to their rivals.

Pirelli is also keen to stress the new bonding process applied to the tyres for Silverstone to cure the delaminations was not at fault.

With regard to Hungary, the tyres to be used from there will first be put through their paces at the young driver test later this month.

To further aid Pirelli given the crisis that has unfolded, the FIA yesterday announced a change to their own testing regulations.

For the young driver test at Silverstone from July 17-19, the FIA is to allow regular drivers to take part, but only to assist with tyre work.

The FIA has since confirmed it is to send a number of observers to the Northamptonshire circuit to ensure the teams comply with their directive, with any car development work to be carried out only by the young drivers.

Pirelli claims the test will contribute to the final development of the new range of tyres from Hungary onwards.

Pirelli has pointed out that with regard to the reverse mounting of the rear tyres, they are not designed to be interchangeable.

Shying away from pointing an accusing finger at the teams, in their statement Pirelli say the practice "was underestimated by everybody, above all Pirelli, which did not forbid this".

In terms of the low pressures and extreme camber settings, Pirelli claim the choices made by the teams "can be dangerous under certain circumstances".

To address this, Pirelli "has asked the FIA for the parameters to be a topic of accurate and future examinations.

"Pirelli has also asked for compliance with these rules to be checked by a dedicated delegate."

Crucially, Pirelli underline the fact "the 2013 tyre range does not compromise driver safety in any way if used in the correct manner, and that it meets all the safety standards requested by the FIA".

Pirelli is now seeking a change to the regulations that will permit them access to the real-time data from the teams regarding parameters such as pressure, temperature and camber angles.

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