• British Grand Prix

British Grand Prix was close to being stopped

ESPN Staff
July 1, 2013 « Silverstone tyre fiasco could have been avoided - Newey | Pirelli allowed two unrestricted tests - Ecclestone »
Lewis Hamilton was the first to suffer a blowout ... but not the last © Sutton Images

The British Grand Prix was almost called off on safety grounds yesterday after a number of "catastrophic failures" of tyres during the race.

Charlie Whiting, the race director, admitted he was on the verge of red flagging the race because of the risk to officials and well as drivers.

Teams warned their drivers to be careful around the Silverstone circuit after three early incidents where tyres exploded at high speed. Lewis Hamilton was the first when the rear left Pirelli on his Mercedes exploded while he was leading, throwing rubber across the track as he accelerated to top speed.

Ferrari's Felipe Massa, Jean-Eric Vergne (Toro Rosso) and later Sergio Perez's McLaren all suffered similar blowouts.

"It was quite close to being red-flagged; it did occur to me to do that," Whiting said. "Obviously to clear up all that debris was putting marshals at risk, and it is not satisfactory.

Whiting said the FIA needed to get answers from Pirelli about what it believes caused the incidents. "We haven't seen a failure like this before; we have seen other types of failure, and that's what has been addressed. So we need to analyse it very carefully to see if we can establish the cause.

"It's too early to draw any conclusions. They have a lot of analysing to do, including the tyres that didn't fail. Maybe we will find something there that was on the verge of failing that will give us a better indicator of what happened.

"It is too early to say what will happen, so it's too early to say what needs to be done."

© Press Association
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
ESPN Staff Close