Pirelli issues statement following Rosberg tire blowout in Bahrain

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Pirelli has insisted that its tires for the 2014 Formula One World Championship are safe following a Twitter report from Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg that he suffered a high-speed blowout during the final day of this week’s tire test in Bahrain.

Before deleting it from his account (possibly due to influence from either Pirelli or Mercedes), Rosberg’s missive read: “Just spun at full speed 320km/h on Bahrain straight because my tyre blew up without warning.thanks to that need to get some toilet paper now..”

Afterwards, Pirelli noted in a statement that the tire that failed on Rosberg’s car had yet to be tested on the track:

“The tyre tests in Bahrain regarded a number of prototypes, which were completely innovative in terms of structure and compounds, with the aim of developing the most suitable solutions for the next season. This morning, Nico Rosberg’s Mercedes was fitted with one of these prototypes, a tyre which had only been tested in the laboratory and which will not be proposed again. Thus, the safety of the tyres which will be supplied for the next championship is not in question. The accident which happened to Rosberg’s car is being investigated and the findings will be communicated to the FIA and the teams.”

Prior to Rosberg’s tweet, things had been quiet in terms of news regarding the test from Bahrain, which also included World Champions Red Bull (with reserve driver Sebastien Buemi), Ferrari (Pedro de la Rosa and Marussia racer Jules Bianchi) and Toro Rosso (2014 race drivers Jean-Eric Vergne and Daniil Kvyat).

The Bahrain test was meant to help Pirelli as it continues to prepare its tires in advance of major rules changes for the 2014 season. With multiple problems suffered this past year – including several tire failures during the British Grand Prix – Pirelli is doing all it can to avoid more disasters.

Fernando Alonso will decide this summer whether to pursue F1 again

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Fernando Alonso said he will determine by this summer if he would consider a return to Formula One next season.

After announcing Tuesday that he will return to Indianapolis Motor Speedway in May with Arrow McLaren Racing SP, Alonso said “right now the Indy 500 will take all of my concentration” but left the door open for F1 in 2021.

“In my case, probably during the summer period, I’ll make a decision on 2021 if Formula One is still appealing to me,” Alonso told IndyCar on NBC announcer Leigh Diffey in an interview (watch the video above). “The 2021 rules (in F1) are definitely a step forward, and hopefully things can be more mixed and not only three teams capable of winning races. So all this factors into play. I may consider that possibility.”

Alonso won consecutive Formula One championships in 2005-06 with Renault. He has 32 victories in an F1 career that started in 2001 and also includes stints at Ferrari and McLaren.

His last victory on the circuit was May 12, 2013 in Barcelona. He is winless in his most recent 110 starts, including the past 77 races with McLaren in 2015-18.

The Guardian recently reported that McLaren CEO Zak Brown said Alonso wouldn’t be returning to F1 with the team.

Alonso also told Diffey that returning to F1 from a two-season absence wouldn’t necessarily be linked to McLaren’s performance.

“I think they did well last year, and hopefully they make another step forward and close to the top three because they deserve it and are a fantastic team,” he said.

Though he is optimistic about more parity, Alonso said six-time champion Lewis Hamilton should be a favorite for the 2020 title based on preseason testing in which Mercedes turned heads with a new steering system.

“It seemed Mercedes is still quite competitive,” Alonso said. “They show enormous potential on the development side and on the progress from one year to next. Formula One is impossible to predict because many things happen in season.

“At the starting point, (Mercedes) are the favorites. When you have Lewis in the car and Mercedes with the potential they have, they have to be No. 1 probably.”