• German Grand Prix

F1 drivers threaten German GP boycott

ESPN Staff
July 5, 2013 « Driver strike was a serious threat - Perez | FIA to police tyre usage »
The drivers have made it clear they will not tolerate a repeat of the British Grand Prix failures © Getty Images

Formula One's drivers have threatened to pull out of the German Grand Prix if a repeat of the problems at Silverstone are seen this weekend.

Pirelli has moved to ensure there are no more tyre failures by tweaking the rear tyre specifications, with a Kevlar belt replacing the steel one which had been introduced this season.

At a meeting of the Grand Prix Drivers' Association (GPDA) on Thursday evening the drivers made it clear they were not prepared to risk their lives. A statement was issued which said "the drivers have decided that, if similar problems should manifest themselves during the German GP, we shall immediately withdraw from the event, as this avoidable problem with the tyres endangers again the lives of drivers, marshals and fans".

Speaking before the meeting, Jenson Button, a director of the GPDA, was asked if he agreed with Pirelli's assertions its tyres were safe "if used the right way", he replied: "All I know is what I saw at the weekend. Yes, we used the tyres the other way round but were told we could by Pirelli."

He also queried why Pirelli is introducing a new range of tyres in Hungary in a fortnight. "I don't know why it's necessary if these tyres are fine."

Marussia chief executive Graeme Lowdon told the BBC the teams fully understood the drivers' concerns. "I have sympathy with the feelings of the drivers because they are at the sharp end. You can understand why feelings are running very high. But equally we as a team would not put our drivers in a position which is unsafe. I think there are more people than the drivers looking at this.

"I think anything involving the drivers would also involve the teams. We are extremely concerned with safety."

The GPDA statement said the drivers wished "to express their deepest concerns about the events that took place at Silverstone," and that "we trust that the changes made to the tyres will have the desired results and that similar problems will not occur during the German GP weekend".

"We are ready to drive our cars to the limit, as we always do, and as it is expected by our teams, sponsors and fans."

Kimi Raikkonen, Adrian Sutil and Valtteri Bottas are the only three drivers on the grid who are not part of the GPDA.