• British Grand Prix

Whitmarsh calls for quick response to tyre issues

ESPN Staff
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McLaren's Sergio Perez suffered a tyre blow out on Saturday © Getty Images

McLaren's Martin Whitmarsh wants Pirelli to propose a solution to its tyre blow outs on Sunday evening, arguing that waiting for the meeting of the Sporting Working Group on Wednesday will be too late.

He believes reverting to 2012 specification tyres is the most logical solution if Pirelli has the tyres in stock, but has called for a quick decision in order to give the teams time to react ahead of the German Grand Prix. The FIA has asked Pirelli to propose a solution by Wednesday, but Whitmarsh sees no reason why it should not be sooner.

"We've just got to say to Pirelli you should do whatever you can do by Germany," he said. "I don't think Working Groups on Wednesday is the right approach. They [Pirelli] know what tyres they have in stock and what options they can practically do before Germany and they should do whatever they can to enhance the safety and durability of the tyres.

"I don't think you need a think tank or a Working Group to do that. I think Wednesday is too late to be making decisions. The decision should be made this evening and in Formula One style you've got to respond urgently and as immediately as you can."

Whitmarsh believes using 2012 tyres would be an acceptable solution and does not think continuing to find solutions with the current tyres is the way forward in the short term with a grand prix looming next weekend.

"Now isn't the time to start testing, there have already, controversially, been a number of tyre tests that didn't fix the problem," he said. "In 2012 we weren't having this problem and therefore if that's a known, established and durable specification then you would have thought that would be the easiest thing to do.

"But I say that and I don't know what the stock position is and what they can possibly do and that's why we have to rely on Pirelli now. Having Working Groups is not going to fix it. By the time we get to Spa we need something completely different, but we have to give the drivers the best opportunity of avoiding that. In my view, we mustn't fall into the trap of saying Germany and Hungary aren't as severe so we can fix it by Spa. We've seen this on a number of tracks and we've been lucky we haven't been hurt so far."

Pirelli attempted to change the belt material of the tyres ahead of the Canadian Grand Prix in order to avoid a repeat of the delaminations it suffered in earlier races but was blocked by three teams. Whitmarsh believes the time has come for Pirelli to act regardless of the teams' wishes.

"You've got a force majeure," he added. "You've got safety [issues] where you don't need all the teams to agree and I spoke to the president of Pirelli yesterday and told him 'don't wait around for the teams now'. And that was before this race.

"To fix a problem you've got to accept you've got one and there's sometimes a reluctance to do that. I would hope today there is enough graphic evidence and I would say decisions have to be made today. You don't wait until tomorrow and you certainly don't wait until a committee on Wednesday."

Pirelli believes Sergio Perez's tyre failure on Saturday was caused by a cut to the sidewall of the tyre, but Whitmarsh thinks the tyres should be able to endure the challenges posed at circuits.

"We've had five tyre failures here and I'm sure lots of people have got theories about what that is, whether it's a fatigue failure, a puncture caused by debris, but the fact is that Formula One tracks often have debris on them and the tyres got to be up to that. In fairness, we've got to work for Pirelli and they have been good technical partners for Formula One. We have got to support them through this and we have to do something. Formula One couldn't possibly not respond to the events of this weekend, the five tyre failures, and we have been lucky that no one has been hurt. First and foremost we've got to be concerned about the safety of our drivers in the sport."