SILVERSTONE, England (June 29, 2013) -- Pirelli Tyre S.p.A. is under the gun to explain a series of spectacular tire failures at this weekend's British Grand Prix, but company representatives declined to speculate too much on the causes other than to insist a change made in its bonding process was not responsible.
The change, introduced at Silverstone, was designed to stop tire delaminations seen earlier in the year. At Silverstone four drivers – Mercedes AMG Petronas' Lewis Hamilton, Scuderia Ferrari's Felipe Massa, Toro Rosso's Jean-Eric Vergne and McLaren F1 Racing's Sergio Perez – suffered catastrophic failures during the race.
Several drivers also made pit stops with tires that had issues or were on the verge of failing, including Red Bull Racing's Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari's Fernando Alonso and race winner Nico Rosberg of Mercedes.
Pirelli has been asked to join the Federation International de l'Automobile and team managers at the previously scheduled Sporting Committee meeting, to be held at the Nurburgring in Germany on Wednesday afternoon.
"There have obviously been some issues with rear-left tire failures which we have not seen before," said Paul Hembery, Pirelli's motorsports director. "We are taking the situation very seriously and we are currently investigating all tires to determine the cause as soon as possible, ahead of the next Grand Prix in Germany.
"At the moment, we can't really say much more until we have fully investigated and analyzed all of these incidents, which is our top priority.
"However, we can exclude that the new bonding process, which we introduced at this race, is at cause for the tire failures we have seen today. There might be some aspect to this circuit that impacts specifically on the latest version of our 2013 specification tires but at this point we do not want to speculate but will now put together all the evidence to find out what happened and then take appropriate next steps should these be required."
Pirelli had wanted to introduce an aramid-fiber-belted version of its Formula 1 race tires at this race, but needed unanimous approval from all the teams.
Story based on reporting by Adam Cooper of Autoweek magazine and original reporting by Tire Business staff