F1 drivers mull boycott over tyre blowouts

Formula One searched for answers after headline-grabbing British Grand Prix tyre blowouts triggered talk of a possible driver boycott

Written by Reuters | London | Published:July 2, 2013 2:11 am

Formula One searched for answers after headline-grabbing British Grand Prix tyre blowouts triggered talk of a possible driver boycott in Germany next weekend. Tyre supplier Pirelli began an immediate investigation after four drivers suffered rear-left tyre failures at Silverstone. Ferrari’s Felipe Massa,who was almost killed by debris shed from a car in front of him at the 2009 Hungarian Grand Prix,would not rule out drivers considering a boycott if solutions were not in place for Sunday’s race at the Nuerburgring.

“I don’t want to say that (drivers would walk out) because I don’t want to create loads of problems but this is something that for our safety we can do,” he said. McLaren’s Sergio Perez,another victim of the exploding tyres,said drivers were risking their lives and needed assurances.

Australian Mark Webber,second for Red Bull in the race,said it had been like Russian Roulette and he had been praying for a safety car because nobody knew who would be next.

real threat

Perez’s team principal Martin Whitmarsh warned that driver action could not be ruled out. “I think there’s that danger (of a boycott) and rightly so,” he told Sky Sports television. “If the drivers and the teams can’t be convinced that they can do so safely,then they would have to resort to that. “That’s not what we want for Formula One. We’ve faced some of these issues before. We had it in Indianapolis and that was terrible for the sport,” Whitmarsh said,referring to the 2005 US Grand Prix when only six Bridgestone-shod cars started after problems with the Michelin rubber.

The immediate question is whether the problem was track specific or something related to the construction and design. Pirelli’s director Paul Hembery said that the company had ruled out the cause being linked to a new bonding process. He will join a meeting on Wednesday of Formula One’s sporting working committee,although teams will want to see something tangible before then.

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