Pirelli: Tire failures caused by outside factors

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Pirelli’s motorsport director Paul Hembery has explained that the tire failures which occurred towards the end of Free Practice 2 today at Spa-Francorchamps were due to “outside factors” besides the tires themselves.

Sebastian Vettel suffered a tire delamination with around twenty minutes remaining in FP2, forcing him to crawl back to the pits and costing him the final part of the session. Although the Red Bull driver still finished P1, the cause of the puncture was not identified by the team. Just after the session, Fernando Alonso revealed that he too suffered from a slow puncture during his final lap. However, Hembery has been quick to clear Pirelli’s name.

“Towards the end of the afternoon session, both Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso had a puncture on their right-rear tire around turn 14 and we are currently investigating the cause,” he said in a statement from Pirelli. “From initial analysis it appears that both were caused by an outside factor, probably debris on the track.”

The incident involving Vettel harked back to the tire blowout fiasco that ensued at the British Grand Prix earlier this year, where five tire failures risked the safety of the drivers and caused the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association to threaten to boycott the German Grand Prix.

However, Pirelli have since introduced a new construction of tire – matching the one used in 2012 – to prevent such occurrences.

INDYCAR: Josef Newgarden quickest again in second practice at Road America

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Josef Newgarden continued to be quickest around Road America, first this morning and again this afternoon in the second practice session for Sunday’s KOHLER Grand Prix.

Newgarden had a best lap in the second session of 1:42.6279, followed by rookie Robert Wickens (1:42.9025), Sebastien Bourdais (1:43.0020), Will Power (1:43.0545) and teammate Simon Pagenaud (1:43.1599).

Sixth through 10th were Graham Rahal (1:43.1995), Scott Dixon (1:43.4212), Ryan Hunter-Reay (1:43.4755), Takuma Sato (1:43.5410) and Marco Andretti (1:43.6221).

One significant incident of note occurred during the session when Alfonso Celis Jr., making his IndyCar debut this weekend, lost control coming out of a turn and slammed into the tire wall, causing damage to his suspension.

The third and final practice session of the weekend will be Saturday at Noon E.T., followed by qualifying later in the afternoon.

The race will take the green flag on Sunday shortly after 1 p.m. ET. It will be televised live on NBCSN.

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