Pirelli: New bonding process ruled out as cause of British GP tire problems (VIDEO)

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Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery has told Formula One’s official website that while a final, exact cause for the multiple tire blowouts in today’s British Grand Prix has not yet been found, the tire manufacturer’s new bonding process was not to blame.

Lewis Hamilton, Felipe Massa, Jean-Eric Vergne and Sergio Perez all suffered blowouts during the event, which was won by Nico Rosberg.

“At the moment, we can’t really say much more until we have fully investigated and analyzed all of these incidents, which is our top priority,” Hembery said in his comments. “However, we can exclude that the new bonding process, which we introduced at this race, is at cause for the tyre failures we have seen today.

“There might be some aspect to this circuit that impacts specifically on the latest version of our 2013 specification tyres but at this point we do not want to speculate and will now put together all the evidence to find out what happened and then take appropriate next steps should these be required.”

Pirelli had planned to bring in modified tires for the Canadian Grand Prix, but rain in Montreal led to a vote amongst the teams that scrapped the plan and the company instead opted to try and correct delamination issues with the aforementioned bonding process.

The Silverstone incidents have brought a fresh wave of criticism toward Pirelli, with Massa declaring the blowouts as “unacceptable” and “very dangerous.”

NHRA: John Force-like motor explosions get contagious during Sunday’s Gatornationals

Photo and video courtesy NHRA
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John Force is rubbing off on others – but probably not the way they or he would like.

The 16-time NHRA Funny Car champion has had spectacular motor explosions in each of the first three races of the new NHRA season, including during Friday’s qualifying for this weekend’s Gatornationals.

During Sunday’s quarterfinals of eliminations, Force’s teammate (and son-in-law and president of John Force Racing) Robert Hight squared off with fellow Funny Car driver Matt Hagan.

As the duo closed in on the finish line, both cars experienced spectacular motor explosions of their own – virtually side-by-side and nearly at the same time.

Hight’s car was the first to explode, tossing its body high in the air. A split-second later, Hagan’s car exploded, also sending the body flying.

Check out the NHRA video:

Hight wound up losing the race.

Hagan, meanwhile, and his crack pit crew rolled their backup car off the hauler, put in a new motor and went on to race through the semifinals and into the finals, losing to race winner “Fast Jack” Beckman.

“We had a pretty great race day, to be honest,” Hagan said. “I’ve never been to the finals in Gainesville.

“We obviously had a huge blow up in the second round, then to watch these guys pull the other car back out and put it together in the amount of time they had, then turn a win light on against Capps (Don Schumacher Racing teammate Ron Capps in the semifinals), then to be able to go to a final, it was huge and it speaks for itself.”

As for Hight, here’s his take on what happened with the motor explosion:

“I couldn’t see (Hagan) over there and it wasn’t like it was hazing the tires or anything else. As it turns out it wasn’t spinning at all. It kicked two rods out when it blacked the bearings in the crank then it hit the valves and blew up.

“The thing gave me no indication at all before that. What really scared me was once I got it under control and I look over and see his body is off his car. I am thinking ‘Oh man, he got gathered up in me.’ Then I stood up and looked and his injector was sideways so I realized he had an explosion as well. We are just lucky we didn’t get into each other.”

As for the guy who has had so much trouble in the motor department, John Force, he lost in the first round of Sunday’s eliminations to daughter Courtney Force.

John Force planned on shutting the motor off on his car at around the 700-foot mark of the 1,000-foot dragstrip, not wanting to risk another motor explosion – even though it meant a likely loss to his daughter.

Now John Force and his entire four-car team, including Courtney Force, Robert Hight and daughter and Top Fuel driver Brittany Force, will be off for extensive testing to try and determine what’s been causing the motor explosions.

“We have to evaluate it and go test,” Force said. “We’ll figure it out.”

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