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Newey feared for drivers' safety

ESPNF1 Staff
August 30, 2011 « Lopez surprised by Heidfeld reaction | »
Adrian Newey was relieved to be able to join his drivers on the podium © Sutton Images

Adrian Newey admits that he feared for Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber's safety during the Belgian Grand Prix due to tyre problems.

Following qualifying it was evident that heavy blistering was occurring on the soft Pirelli tyres, with Red Bull worst affected. Having held discussions with Pirelli and the FIA, the team was left with the decision to start the race on the damaged tyres or make setup changes and start from the pit lane. In the end, both drivers completed very short first stints before pitting, and Newey admitted that a tyre failure was always a possibility.

"Pirelli were telling us after qualifying that our tyres were very marginal and they wouldn't say whether it was after half a lap or five laps, but they were going to fail," Newey told The Telegraph. "I have to say it was one of the scariest races I've been involved in; it was heart-in-the-mouth stuff, as first and foremost our duty of care is to the drivers' safety.

"And trying to make that call in making sure the car was safe, while not handicapping ourselves from a performance point of view, was quite a difficult judgement to make. Frankly at the end of the race I was very relieved that both our drivers were safe.''