Pirelli Pass The Blame On To FIA And Ferrari

In the wake of Vettel and Rosberg’s tyre blowouts in Spa, I must give credit to Pirelli for being extremely professional in their investigations and suggestions thereof – or at least one suggestion. (Read: Formula One Is Cruel)
Unsurprisingly, Pirelli’s self-investigation concluded that the FIA and Ferrari are to blame for Vettel’s blowouts, not Pirelli themselves. Unless of course I have read and interpreted the report wrong! Pirelli claim that the failures at Spa were ‘results of exceptional circumstances’ of excessive tyre wear combined with the effect of debris on track. (Read: A Strategy Of Errors)
This means that Pirelli passed the blame on to Ferrari for their impressive one-stop strategy that almost saw Vettel on the podium and on to the FIA for not cleaning the track of debris effectively. In Rosberg’s case too, they’ve been ambiguous at best indicating that track debris were to blame. There was no mention of Pirelli’s tyre that could’ve supposedly lasted 40 laps but decided to blow into pieces on lap 28. (Read: Change Is The Name Of The Game For F1)
Pirelli’s PR strategy seems to have worked though. It found good support in the two drivers who were affected in Spa – Rosberg and Vettel. In what seems to be a PR influenced move, the drivers praised Pirelli’s professionalism with Vettel specifically signing off with ‘we need long term answers’. Of course those who were expecting a confession from Pirelli (that we made a mistake!) or expected the usual ‘we are sticking to our brief’ (to make degrading but explosive tyres!) were grossly disappointed. (Read: Ban The Grid Girls)

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The FIA too released a statement indicating that they were ‘satisfied’ with Pirelli’s conclusions. Now this is where I am extremely surprised. The conclusions could also be interpreted as the FIA didn’t do their job well to ‘clean the track’ in Spa and that Pirelli are welcome to suggest better ways to do so. I guess Pirelli lacks guts to tell the FIA to do their job of managing track limits better! (Read: What’s In A Name?)
The short term answer for the 2015 Italian Grand Prix though is Pirelli’s advisory to teams for camber and pressure limits – also the most sensible conclusion of their investigation. I see this as a positive step by the stakeholders of the sport, but will this also mean that no one will attempt a tyre strategy that involves stopping one lesser than normal? Are we in for predictable strategies on Sunday? (Read: Lift And Coast)
The long term answer could yield more predictability too if matters proceed the way they usually do in Formula1. A ‘maximum laps per compound per circuit’ has been voiced already and if this does see the light of day, tyre strategy will become like DRS aided overtaking – a farce! (Read: The Truth About Overtaking)
For those who missed it, Mithila and I discussed ‘The Case Of The Right Rear Pirelli Tyre’ on the Inside Line F1 Podcast after the 2015 Belgian Grand Prix. You’re welcome to tune in!

Kunal Shah is an FIA-accredited Formula 1 journalist who has been reporting on Formula 1 for nearly two decades. He worked with the Force India Formula 1 Team for 6 seasons in Marketing, Sponsorship and Commercial roles. As a former single-seater racer, he was responsible for Force India's grassroots talent program, One from a Billion Hunt. Presently, he co-writes a regular Formula 1 column for Firstpost, speaks on Inside Line F1 Podcast & Pits to Podium and produces broadcast/OTT content for NENT Group (Viasport & Viaplay).

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