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Tyres 'not a major safety issue' - Mallya

ESPN Staff
July 2, 2013 « FIA rips up its own rule book | Mercedes improvement linked to illegal test, say rivals »
Vijay Mallya: "It really isn't a major safety issue" © Sutton Images
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Force India team principal Vijay Mallya believes tyre safety concerns have been over-hyped following the British Grand Prix, but says he will not block a change to the tyre specification.

After five tyres blew out in dramatic fashion at Silverstone, the FIA is changing its own regulations to allow Pirelli to alter its tyre specification without the full agreement of the teams. Several drivers expressed their concerns about the rubber tread flying off cars after a blow out, but Mallya believes the safety issue has been hyped up because of the dramatic way the tyres failed on Sunday.

"Other than the car behind and the driver who might get a bit startled with the sudden explosion in front, it really isn't a major safety issue from that point of view," he was quoted by Autosport. "We didn't see cars wildly spinning off and crashing into the barriers. But Pirelli needs to do what it needs to do and work with the various teams to come up with an appropriate solution."

Force India had been one of three teams that blocked Pirelli's attempts to change the belt material from steel to Kevlar following delaminations at earlier rounds. Even though the FIA has now gone over the teams' heads by changing the rules, Mallya said Force India would not kick up a fuss if the tyre specification is changed.

"We are having no issue, so why should we make other people's issues our issues?" he said. "But there is no question of this team being irresponsible in any way, and objecting for the sake of objecting to any proposed change that impacts on safety in Formula One - no question. However, if we believe that a few teams have understood the tyres better, and are able to manage the tyres better, without compromising safety, why should we vote for change?"