• Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Pirelli to investigate Vettel's tyre failure

ESPNF1 Staff
November 14, 2011 « Massa blames spin on medium tyres | Gonzalez included for Lotus »
Sebastian Vettel limped back to the pits but the flailing tyre damaged his suspension © Getty Images

Pirelli says that it will investigate the tyre failure which caused Sebastian Vettel to spin off on the first lap of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Vettel had led away from pole when he attempted to take the fast left hander and lost the rear of the car. He had suffered a "sudden deflation" of his right rear tyre and the damage it caused to his Red Bull on the way back to the pits meant Vettel was forced to retire at the end of the first lap. After Pirelli announced that the cause "is still being investigated by Pirelli's engineers", motorsport director Paul Hembery said it would work with the team but had no obvious answers yet.

"Together with Red Bull Racing, we're still examining the remains of Sebastian Vettel's tyre in order to try and piece together what happened," Hembery said. "It certainly seems to be a very unusual incident and we've already been to look at the place with Sebastian: there seems to be no reason that is immediately obvious and the set of tyres was one that he had already used for qualifying. But until we know for sure, there's no point in speculating."

Lewis Hamilton had said he wouldn't yield to Vettel in the first corner, and after a number of recent collisions team principal Martin Whitmarsh admitted his first reaction had been that it was contact between the two which had caused the incident.

"We were a bit worried that Lewis had hit him and so it was a bit of relief when we could see clearly that he was far away from him," Whitmarsh said.