Pirelli has responded to criticism levelled by Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel in the aftermath of Sunday’s Belgian Grand Prix by revealing that teams rejected a request to limit the number of laps that could be complete on each tire compound two years ago.
On the penultimate lap of the race at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, Vettel suffered a right-rear tire failure when heading along the high-speed Kemmel Straight, costing him a podium finish.
After the race, the German was left fuming with Pirelli, believing that the Italian tire supplier was not being thorough enough in preventing failures with its compounds.
Pirelli responded by issuing a short but revealing statement on Sunday night following the race that claimed Vettel had gone five laps longer on his set of tires than it advised two years ago.
“In November 2013, Pirelli requested that there should be rules to govern the maximum number of laps that can be driven on the same set of tires, among other parameters to do with correct tire usage,” the statement said.
“This request was not accepted. The proposal put forward a maximum distance equivalent to 50% of the grand prix distance for the prime tire and 30% for the option.
“These conditions, if applied today at Spa, would have limited the maximum number of laps on the medium compound to 22.”
Vettel’s tire failure was the second of the weekend, following Nico Rosberg’s blowout during practice on Friday afternoon. However, Pirelli confirmed that whereas Rosberg’s was due to a cut caused by an external body, Vettel’s was a result of excessive wear.
Nevertheless, a full investigation is poised to follow so that both Pirelli and Ferrari can get to the bottom of the incident.
Had the decision to limit tire life in races been accepted, it would have ensured a minimum of two pit stops in races, which despite creating more action in the race may have been considered to be too artificial.