Disclaimer: TheJudge13 provides a platform for Formula 1 fans to publish their voice on matters relating to Formula 1. The views expressed in Voice of #F1 Fans are those of the contributor and not those held by TJ13.
Sebastian Vettel is known to offer his uncensored opinion occasionally and dropping an f-bomb is not exactly unheard of either, but the way he ranted on TV, especially in his native language on Sky Germany and RTL was unprecedented.
Following Pirelli’s advisory that the medium tyre compound had a maximum lifespan of forty laps, which amounts to almost an entire race distance at Spa-Franchorchamps, Ferrari had opted for a one-stop strategy as their primary strategy for the race, which was why Vettel ran longer than most of his competitors on the initial set of options. When Vettel switched to primes at the end of lap 14, the set of primes would have to do 28 laps, more than 25% less than what Pirelli had deemed it capable of.
The rest, as they say, is history. The right rear tyre, the same as on Rosberg’s car on Friday, blew just after Eau Rouge. Auto Motor and Sport reports that Vettel stalked past Pirelli’s Paul Hembery, growling at him: “Your tyres are a catastrophe.”
Hembery was quick to dismiss Vettel’s comments as post-race emotionalism, but BBC reports that no less than three world champions – Lewis Hamilton, Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel – had voiced their concerns about the safety of Pirelli’s tyres in the driver briefing on Friday after Rosberg’s tyre blow-up. The worries were dismissed with the usual excuses of ‘external influence’, which the drivers had to accept, but obviously didn’t believe, as Vettel explained unmistakably.
He is backed up by team members of Lotus and Force India, who refuse to believe Pirelli’s explanation of excessive tyre wear. “If Pirelli tells us the tyres last 40 laps, they can’t possibly blow up after 28 laps. For us a one-stop strategy was only a backup plan, but we considered it as well,” Lotus’ Alain Permane explained.
Force India’s Andy Green puts it a bit more directly. “If Vettel’s tyres had been worn out, he’d have come into the pits. As soon as the rubber is worn below 30% the lap times go up by two to three seconds and tyre temperatures drop from 140°C to 110°C. You’re driving on ice in that case, you won’t even get anywhere near critical wear. Your team would call you in long before that happens.”
The general suspicion is, that both tyre blowouts of Vettel and Rosberg could have been caused by a phenomenon called ‘standing waves’. Pirelli dismissed any accusations of structural problems, but teams disagreed, after Auto Motor & Sport published a picture of a tyre deforming abnormally on Vettels car on Friday.
Pirelli defended themselves, citing their suggestion of a two-stop race, but Ferrari’s Mauricio Arrivabene doesn’t agree with Pirelli’s accusation that Ferrari simply ran the tyre too long.
“A one-stop race was our plan A. We decided that at 11am, using the data the engineers had collected during the practice sessions. There was a Pirelli engineer standing in our garage and he wasn’t just chewing bubblegum. He would have intervened if the data had shown anything suspicious. Our strategy was aggressive, but not risky.”
It looks like Pirelli may have yet another PR disaster on their hands.