Fuming Vettel lashes out at Pirelli after tire failure (VIDEO)


Sebastian Vettel has lashed out at Formula 1 tire supplier Pirelli after suffering a tire failure on the penultimate lap of today’s Belgian Grand Prix when running third on track.

Ferrari opted to gamble with a one-stop strategy at Spa, despite Pirelli recommending that teams either pit two or three times for tires across the course of the race at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps.

With Romain Grosjean closing in on his car, Vettel continued to push in the closing stages of the race, only to suffer a tire failure on the Kemmel Straight that caused him to drop down the order.

After the race, Vettel launched into a tirade against Pirelli regarding the state of its tires, believing that he was fortunate not to have suffered the failure seconds earlier at Eau Rouge, the fastest part of the circuit.

“Things like that are not allowed to happen, full stop,” Vettel told BBC Sport after the race.

“If it happens 200 meters earlier, I’m not standing here now. I’m stuck at Eau Rouge. So I don’t know what else needs to happen.

“I’ll tell you what’s upsetting. One thing is the result – we deserved to finish on the podium. But if this happens earlier… it’s unacceptable.”

Vettel’s tire failure was the second of the weekend at Spa following Nico Rosberg’s on Friday in practice. Pirelli confirmed that Rosberg’s had been due to a cut thanks to an external body, whilst Vettel’s was due to excessive tire wear.

However, Vettel does not believe that these are good enough answers.

“The same as every time: “There was a cut, debris, bodywork, maybe the driver went wide… b******t.

“If Nico tells us that he didn’t go off the track, then he didn’t go off the track. Why should he lie to us? I didn’t go out of the track, just out of the blue it explodes.

“As I said, if this happens earlier, then I am f****d.

“I think we need to talk to each other. It’s probably not as bad as it was at Silverstone [in 2013, when another series of tire failures occurred] but it is not acceptable.”

Position of F1 start lights altered to compensate for safety halo

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MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — The position of start lights will be altered on Formula One tracks this season, in a bid to ensure the drivers’ line of vision is not impeded by the controversial halo protection device.

The halo is a titanium structure introduced this year in a bid to ramp up driver safety, forming a ring around the cockpit top. It is designed to protect the drivers’ head from loose debris and offer better safety during eventual collisions.

Although drivers largely understand the need for it, very few like it. They are worried it impedes visibility, it looks ugly and also that fans will no longer be able to identify a driver properly from his race helmet. Drivers also take longer to climb in and out of their cars.

Formula One’s governing body has addressed concerns and asked every circuit “to make the lights at a standard height above the track,” FIA race director Charlie Whiting said.

“Pole position seems to be the worst case scenario with the halo,” Whiting added at the season-opening Australian GP. “Maybe the driver can’t quite see the lights, or see only half of them, and he might have to move his head too much.”

The new start lights were positioned lower for Friday’s first two practice sessions at Albert Park. Drivers were also allowed the rare chance to rehearse grid starts at the end of both sessions.

“We haven’t normally allowed practice starts on the grid here because it’s quite a tight timetable,” Whiting said. “What I thought would be a good idea was to give the driver sight of those lights, rather than for the first time on Sunday evening.”

A repeat set of lights has been moved from its usual position halfway up the grid to a more convenient position to the left.

“Those repeat lights were normally halfway up the grid, and they were fitted round about 2009, when the rear wings became higher on the cars,” Whiting said. “But now the wings have been lowered, there’s no need for those halfway up the grid.”