Just when Pirelli appeared to be out of the woods, tires have once again become the focus of the Formula One fraternity after a series of spectacular failures during the early stages of the British Grand Prix.
With conditions very hot at Silverstone, many were expecting tire wear to be higher than usual, but it is unlikely anyone predicted the kind of tire failures that occurred. Lewis Hamilton was the first to lose out after pulling away into the lead from pole position. When going down the Wellington Straight, the left-rear tire of the Mercedes blew out, forcing Hamilton to crawl back to the pits and fall down the order.
Felipe Massa was the next driver to be affected, spinning on the entry to the Wellington Straight and too suffering a puncture. This second blowout signalled to the rest of the field that it was time to pit, with Jean-Eric Vergne being the lead runner in 7th who did not change his tires. As a result, the Toro Rosso suffered a puncture on the entry to Stowe, with the debris left on the racing line warranting the safety car to make an appearance.
Red Bull found cuts in Vettel’s rear tires, suggesting that the failures may be due to the way the kerbs have been cut. Regardless, the drivers may find themselves having to be very careful during today’s race.
NASCAR Hall of Famer Bill Elliott became the eighth driver to join the Superstar Racing Experience, the short-track series being started by Ray Evernham and Tony Stewart.
The two-time Daytona 500 winner and 1988 NASCAR Cup Series champion was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2015 and was voted NASCAR’s most popular driver 16 times (his son, Chase, has received the honor the past two years). Elliott also closed his full-time Cup career driving for Evernham’s Dodge team from 2001-03, winning the 2002 Brickyard 400.
“I am excited to reunite with Ray Evernham and some of the great legends of our sport,” Elliott, who joins Stewart and Bobby Labonte as NASCAR Hall of Famers in the SRX, said in a release. “I look forward to racing at some of the most historic American racing destinations and putting on an awesome show for the fans. We have a special driver field and it will be fun competing with some of the greatest drivers of all time.”
The series, which is expecting to have a dozen drivers, also has Tony Stewart, Helio Castroneves, Bobby Labonte, Paul Tracy, Tony Kanaan, Willy T. Ribbs and Mark Webber in its lineup.
SRX was co-founded by NASCAR Hall of Famers Stewart and Evernham and was unveiled July 13.
Several drivers have expressed interest in the new circuit, which is modeled on the International Race of Champions (IROC) series that matched drivers from various auto racing disciplines in equally prepared cars for an annual four-race series for 30 years.
With the addition of Bill Elliott, Superstar Racing Experience has yet to reveal a schedule or tracks, but it’s expected that Stewart’s Eldora Speedway will be on the slate.