Formula One race director Charlie Whiting has admitted that he considered red flagging today’s British Grand Prix after a series of large tire failures during the early stages of the race.
Lewis Hamilton, Felipe Massa and Jean-Eric Vergne all experienced blowouts before their first stops during the race, with the Toro Rosso’s failure leaving debris strewn across the track and warranting a safety car period. Later on, Esteban Gutierrez and Sergio Perez also suffered similar failures, all of which caused Whiting to question the future of the race.
“It was quite close to being red-flagged; it did occur to me to do that,” Whiting told Autosport.
Whiting’s primary concern was the marshals who had to complete the large clean-up after Vergne’s failure.
“Obviously to clear up all that debris was putting marshals at risk, and it is not satisfactory.
“We haven’t seen a failure like this before; we have seen other types of failure – and that is what has been addressed. So we need to analyse it very carefully to see if we can establish the cause.”
Whiting has once again shown himself to have a cool head under pressure, prioritizing the safety of all involved with the grand prix going ahead. The failures have caused great concern, with Felipe Massa believing that his safety was “in the hands of God” during the race. Pirelli are expected to have a meeting with the FIA in the coming few days to discuss the issues.