Curb problem claim “absolute rubbish” – Warwick

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Derek Warwick, former F1 driver and president of the British Racing Drivers’ Club which runs Silverstone, rubbished claims the tire failure seen in yesterday’s race were caused by problems with curbs.

“Absolute rubbish – these curbs have been in since 2009 and we have had thousands and thousands of cars go over these curbs and they have been absolutely fine,” Warwick told Sky.

During the race drivers were told to avoid using the curbs in several corners as teams suspected they might be contributing to the problems.

The curbs at The Loop and Becketts were under scrutiny as all five of the tire failures during the race occurred immediately after these bends.

But Warwick is convinced there was nothing wrong with them: “We have had them checked by the FIA and they conform fully with the FIA.”

“I think the problem is that we had the secret three-day test for Mercedes a few weeks ago – that test was to build a tire that was strong enough for the British GP.

“They came up with a tire and the teams then had to vote on bringing that new tire to Silverstone and three teams voted against bringing the new tire to Silverstone. So the teams need to look at themselves – they made the decision not to bring the new tire.

“I kind of blame Pirelli, but they did their best to bring a new tire to Silverstone and three teams voted against it.”

Teammates James Hinchcliffe and Robert Wickens earn top-fives at Barber

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For the first time this season, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports teammates James Hinchcilffe and Robert Wickens earned top-five finishes in the same race at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala.

Hinchcliffe finished third in the Grand Prix of Alabama; Wickens was one spot behind in fourth.

Wickens had one previous podium at Phoenix with his second-place finish. Hinchcliffe’s best result was a fourth in the season-opener in St Petersburg, Fla., so this marked his first podium of the year.

Both drivers needed a little help from the rain.

As precipitation began to fall in the closing stages of the race, Hinchliffe asked his team on a couple of occasions if it was wet enough to pit for rain tires. He was told twice to stay out and was then called into to the pits at the optimal time.

“Solid weekend for us after coming here before – not a great test,” Hinchcliffe said. “Two cars in the top 10 qualifying; two cars, top five in the race. Pretty proud of these boys, everybody on the Arrow car.”

The rain helped Wickens’ race strategy come together.

“I was having to save a lot of fuel in that second stint,” Wickens said. “So once (Scott) Dixon starting getting close to me I was thinking ‘Oh God, I’m going to actually have to give this one up.’ And then the rain came, so the fuel mileage happened naturally. So, yeah, it saved us a bit.”

And while both were pleased with their top-five finishes, drivers are rarely satisfied unless they are standing on the top step of the podium.

Wickens’ top-five finish was hard-fought. After winning the pole at St Petersburg and starting sixth at Phoenix, he failed to advance to the Fast 6 in back-to-back races at Long Beach and Barber – qualifying 10th both times.

“I was a little gutted that we came out in a big bunch of traffic,” Wickens continued. “It made the race fun, but a little frustrating as well because of people off sequence and whatnot. We lost a lot of track position there. Both of us could have been fighting for higher steps on the podium, but we need to do a little better job in qualifying. “