Pirelli: No structural issues with tires in Rosberg blowout


Pirelli has confirmed that there are no structural issues with its tires after conducting an investigation into the cause of Nico Rosberg’s tire blowout in practice for the Belgian Grand Prix on Friday.

Coming into the high-speed Blanchimont corner at over 300km/h, Rosberg suffered a right-rear tire failure that prompted safety concerns among some of the drivers at Spa.

Pirelli looked into the incident overnight, and confirmed ahead of qualifying on Saturday that the cause of Rosberg’s blowout had been a cut caused externally.

Here is Pirelli’s statement in full:

“After a full investigation which continued overnight into the issue which affected Nico Rosberg’s Mercedes yesterday, these are the conclusions:

  • There are no signs of structural integrity issue of the tire, neither on other tires used by Mercedes nor on tires used on other vehicles.
  • Video footage shows a tire problem on Rosberg’s car which is consistent with an external cut into the tire structure.
  • Quality data check on other tires has shown no anomalies.”

“We have conducted a thorough investigation to find out exactly what happened with Nico’s tire,” Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery said.

“This investigation now excludes any structural integrity issues. Based on the information and data available an external source of damage is the conclusion made.”

In other safety-related news, the FIA confirmed on Saturday morning that a sausage kerb placed at the top of Eau Rouge to prevent corner cutting has been removed.

Drivers had raised concerns about the severity of the new kerb at such a quick corner, prompting the stewards to make a change to the track overnight.

“Further to the discussion in the meeting, and as a result of the change to the kerb in turn four, a report will only be made to the stewards if a driver has exceeded the track limits (principally but not limited to the areas behind the kerbs in turns 4 and 15), and is suspected of gaining an advantage from doing so,” a statement reads.

Helio Castroneves ‘hustling’ for IndyCar, IMSA rides; talking with four to five teams

Helio Castroneves IMSA IndyCar
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As his season gathers steam, Helio Castroneves said his prospects for finding new rides for 2021 in IMSA and IndyCar also are gaining momentum.

The three-time Indianapolis 500 winner said Monday he is optimistic about landing in either or perhaps a combination of both series when Team Penske and Acura end their DPi partnership after this season.

“A lot of people I spoke with, four to five teams, are interested,” Castroneves said. “Whether it’s doing Indy 500 only, whether it’s pushing to do full time or do the sports cars as well. It’s been a very nice conversation.

LOOKING AHEADTeam Penske drivers seeking new rides for 2021

“I have a lot of respect for all the teams that have been talking, and I feel the same feedback. We just have to wait for their (sponsor) connections, and I’m also looking for some connections on my side as well, so hopefully we’ll be able to put this together and get something very soon.”

Given two decades of success with Penske in IndyCar and IMSA, Castroneves’ resume hardly needs burnishing. But the Brazilian has combined with co-driver Ricky Taylor in the No. 7 Acura DPi to win the past two overall victories at Road America and Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.

But Castroneves, who doesn’t have a manager, said he has been working the phones hard rather than wait for the strong results to bring in the calls.

“At this point, I feel like I’m the one who needs to be talking to them because people need to know I want to continue racing and understand my desire,” Castroneves, 45, said. “There is opportunity, no question, in both (IndyCar and IMSA), which I’m really happy about it. However, because of the COVID-19, a lot of things sometimes have to be a little delayed. But I’m excited. Whatever the opportunity and whatever destiny guides me, whether IndyCar or sports cars, trust me I’ll be as happy as it could be and doing my 100 percent like I always did.

“It’s like politics, you need to be out there, good news or bad news. People have to make notice of your presence. I’m hustling. I want to continue to keep it going. Hopefully, we’ll have good news very soon.”

The news has been all good lately on track for Castroneves and Taylor, who hope to continue their run Sunday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

The No. 6 duo has surged to sixth in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship standings, 10 points out of the lead with four races remaining. After thinking there was “no hope” to be competitive after opening the season with three consecutive poor finishes, Taylor now sees an opportunity for a happy ending.

“With the program going away, Helio has won all the big races and given so much back to the team and left such a mark, he’s really part of Penske history,” Taylor said. “For me, it’s been an opportunity of a lifetime to be a part of it. I’d like to leave my little mark as well. Helio has won everything except for a championship.

“Obviously, we’ve won races already together, but we can win a championship now. I think if both of us can do that together and both win our first championship for ‘The Captain,’ that would be an absolute dream come true, and we can tie a bow on it and be happy.”