Verstappen not convinced by Pirelli's conclusions

The Red Bull driver finds the Italian manufacturer's explanations “vague” and invites him to do more introspection. 

Published on 17/06/2021 à 16:21

Julien BILLIOTTE

0 View comments)

Verstappen not convinced by Pirelli's conclusions

Verstappen and Hamilton have a different reading of the tire failures in Baku / © DPPI

Without surprise, Max Verstappen did not really like the report drawn up by Pirelli following the spectacular crash which deprived him of victory in Baku two weeks ago. 

Victim of a sudden deflation of his left rear tire in the middle of a straight line, the driver Red Bull, who comfortably led the Azerbaijan GP, ​​had finished in the wall, fortunately without seriousness. 

A bit resigned and cynical, the Dutchman expected Pirelli to blame a piece of debris to explain the failure which had also struck Lance stroll and his Aston Martin in very similar circumstances 15 laps before him. 

The Italian manufacturer, however, ruled out this hypothesis and instead mentioned a “ circumferential crack on the inner sidewall of the tire », linked to the rolling conditions of the tire. Even though Red Bull and Aston Martin were cleared, suspicions persist that strategies were being employed to circumvent Pirelli's recommendations for minimum pressure and tire temperatures. 

Asked this Thursday at Circuit Paul Ricard whether he was satisfied with Pirelli's conclusions, Verstappen responded in the negative. 

« Personally, no, he retorted. I find the result a bit vague. All I can say is that the team scrupulously respected all the recommendations in terms of pressure, etc. There was nothing to complain about on our side.  

It would be nice to know if it was related to tire pressure, and to have clear explanations to better understand what happened. ». 

The FIA, guarantor of regulations and safety, sent a technical directive last Monday to detail the reinforced monitoring which will be put in place from the French Grand Prix, with pressure checks now carried out after use as well. 

« We are told that they (Pirelli, Editor’s note) did not have the control tools during the race but we gave them the pressure of our tires and they were on target, added Verstappen. If their recommendations are not correct, there is nothing we can do about it. If we need to increase the pressure, we will do it, like everyone else.

They said they didn't have the right measurements but we gave them our data and it showed we hadn't done anything wrong. Ditto on the Aston Martin side. They can't blame us for that. They must be introspective ».  

The Dutch newspaper The Telegraph, always well informed, revealed that Pirelli had wanted to organize a special Drivers' briefing this Thursday afternoon at Le Castellet (Var) but that the riders had refused to accept it. This information was subsequently confirmed to AUTOhebdo.

Present alongside him at a press conference, his rival Lewis Hamilton, however, defended the official and exclusive tire supplier. The pilot Mercedes, who is 4 points behind Verstappen heading into the French round, also implied that some teams were playing with fire when it came to tire pressures. 

« As soon as there has been a failure, they immediately raise the minimum pressures: this indicates something, commented the seven-time world champion.

Most of the time, tires are not at the advertised pressures. I think Pirelli did a great job and I don't think they are to blame in this situation.

Safety remains priority number 1. The teams and drivers receive very clear instructions for use. 

So I was very surprised to learn that they (the FIA, Editor’s note) needed to clarify these recommendations. We can interpret it however we want. 

I'm glad they felt the need to clear things up. The most important thing now is to see how the new control measures will be implemented. It's good that there was a technical directive. Now, we must be vigilant and ensure that it will be followed by effects ». 

First elements of response this weekend in the Var. 

Julien BILLIOTTE

AUTOhebdo deputy editor-in-chief. The feather dipped in gall.

0 View comments)