McLaren backs Pirelli’s “safe product”, but wants F1 tyre failure clarity

by Jun 18, 20210 comments

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The FIA issued a technical directive earlier this week in reaction to the left-rear tyre failures for Lance Stroll and Max Verstappen in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, clamping down on tyre pressure levels used by teams.

Pirelli F1 chief Mario Isola revealed on Thursday that both Aston Martin and Red Bull were running lower pressures than expected in the Baku race, but did not break any rules. 

F1 world champion Lewis Hamilton said that Pirelli was not to blame for the failures, while Alpine executive director Marcin Budkowski felt it would be “worrying” if teams were playing tricks with tyre pressure levels.

McLaren team principal Seidl said on Friday that there had been “carefully-chosen words in the press releases and statements from all parties”, but felt disappointed there had not been greater clarity on what caused the failures.

“What is a bit disappointing for us is that there is not more transparency in what actually happened, because it was a safety-critical topic,” Seidl said.

“Normally, that was a good practice in other cases in the past, with cases like that happening, there is transparency of what is happening, which didn’t happen so far towards the teams.

“So that’s a bit disappointing.”

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, climbs out of his car after crashing out from the lead

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, climbs out of his car after crashing out from the lead

Photo by: Steve Etherington / Motorsport Images

Asked what information he felt the teams were lacking about the failures, Seidl thought it was important to clear up assumptions, saying criticism towards Pirelli was not fair.

“There’s a lot of criticism up in the air towards Pirelli, but in the end, I think that’s not something we would support from our side,” Seidl said.

“I think Pirelli has produced a safe product for this year. If we look at our car for example in Baku, if you were running the car within the regulations and following the prescriptions from Pirelli, there was no issue with the tyre.

“So that’s why I think it would be important for everyone, for the entire paddock to have transparency in understanding what actually happened, and what was causing these failures in the end.”

Ahead of this weekend’s French Grand Prix, the FIA reminded teams that it was their responsibility to ensure they ran their tyres within the prescribed pressure levels, with more checks taking place as a result.

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While Seidl said that McLaren would “definitely welcome” the clarifications, he did not think they were required as the regulations were already clear to teams.

“From our point of view, they were not really needed – the regulations were clear before,” Seidl said.

“There is a clear reason why we get the prescriptions from Pirelli, and why these regulations are in place.

“We as a team are fully aware of that, and we know we have to act responsibly with these prescriptions within the regulations in order to make sure that there are not tyre failures and we do not put our drivers at risk.

“The TD doesn’t change anything in terms of what we did, what we have to do now or what we did in the past. As I said before, the regulations were clear before.”

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