Pirelli: Long stints caused tire issues at British GP

HUNGARORING, HUNGARY - JULY 18: Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W11 EQ Performance during the Hungarian GP at Hungaroring on Saturday July 18, 2020 in Budapest, Hungary. (Photo by Charles Coates / LAT Images)

Pirelli completed its investigation into the multiple tire issues experienced at the British Grand Prix last weekend. The deflation of the front-left tires on both Mercedes cars as well as the McLaren of Carlos Sainz.

Some were suggesting that it may have been debris on the track that was cutting the tires but Pirelli have argued that it was the overly long duty cycle the teams asked from the tires that caused their demise. Here is Pirelli’s press statement:

Pirelli Statement

Milan, August 4, 2020 – Pirelli has concluded its initial analysis on a number of tyres that were run at the British Grand Prix last weekend. This allowed to identify the cause of the failures followed by deflations that affected both Mercedes and the McLaren of Carlos Sainz.

The key reason is down to a set of individual race circumstances that led to an extremely long use of the second set of tyres. The second safety car period prompted nearly all the teams to anticipate their planned pit stop and so carry out a particularly long final stint: around 40 laps, which is more than three-quarters the total race length on one of the most demanding tracks of the calendar.

Combined with the notably increased pace of the 2020 Formula 1 cars (pole position was 1.2 seconds faster compared to 2019) this made the final laps of the British Grand Prix especially tough, as a consequence of the biggest forces ever seen on tyres generated by the fastest Formula 1 cars in history.

The overall result was the most challenging operating conditions for tyres. These led to the front-left tyre (which is well-known for working hardest at Silverstone) being placed under maximum stress after a very high number of laps, with the resulting high wear meaning that it was less protected from the extreme forces in play.

For the second race at Silverstone this weekend, Pirelli confirms the nominated compounds: C2, C3, and C4, being one step softer than those seen at the last GP.

Also the usage prescription will be reviewed, increasing the minimum tyre pressures to reduce the stress on the construction.

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Xean Drury

Hopefully they won’t start talking about that ‘Mandating maximum lap distance’ nonsense from Seb’s blow out at Spa a few years ago.