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Vettel: Strategy not to blame for Austria tire failure

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Sebastian Vettel has defended the strategy call made by Ferrari during Sunday’s Austrian Grand Prix, saying it was not the cause of his tire failure in the first half of the race.

Vettel’s right-rear tire blew on the main straight on lap 26 at the Red Bull Ring, the set of super-softs having also completed an additional three laps in qualifying the previous day. No driver completed more laps on the tire over the weekend.

The failure brought Vettel’s race to an immediate end, costing him more ground in the drivers’ championship as Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg finished first and fourth respectively.

“When the rear right tire failed, I didn’t feel anything, or rather, I felt it when it was too late and it exploded out of the blue,” Vettel said after the race.

“There were no signs before that, everything was normal. I spoke with the people on the pit wall and everything looked the same, the pace was the same as the lap before, the tires felt fine, the lap times were fine. It’s completely a question mark on why the tire had the failure.

“Obviously the idea was to go on as long as possible with that set of tires and to shape our race on that idea, but I don’t think it was an aggressive strategy, as lots of people went longer than us on the same tires.”

Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery added: “With Ferrari we’re fully investigating the incident on Sebastian Vettel’s car, in order to finalize a cause.”

The last-lap clash between Hamilton and Rosberg allowed Max Verstappen and Kimi Raikkonen to finish on the podium, but Ferrari team boss Maurizio Arrivabene believes Vettel could have been close to the top step had he continued.

“The result could have been better as Sebastian, today, would have finished very high on the podium without the tire failure,” Arrivabene said.

“That happened when he was leading the race and all of a sudden, with no prior warning, so the causes will have to be investigated together with Pirelli.”

Andretti United team names drivers for inaugural Extreme E season

Extreme E drivers Andretti
Extreme E
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The Extreme E team formed by Andretti Autosport and United Autosports named Catie Munnings and Timmy Hansen as its drivers Monday for the series’ inaugural 2021 season.

Munnings is a successful veteran of rally series. Hansen is a past winner and champion in the World Rallycross Championship.

They both will race in the environmentally conscious electric SUV series that will hold events in five areas around the world that are threatened by climate change. Chip Ganassi Racing and six-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton also are fielding cars in Extreme E, which will feature male and female co-drivers on every team.

Catie Munnings

“I’m so excited to join Andretti United Extreme E,” Munnings said in a release. ““I was really intrigued when I first heard about Extreme E, I just knew I had to be involved. The male / female racing partnership is a fantastic and exciting new concept. The season has incredible locations and the racing will be very exciting. It will be a new challenge for the teams and drivers, and I’m so thrilled to be working with such a strong team.

“The championship is a really innovative concept, it’s combining motorsport and science and will produce an important legacy in each race location. Bringing the platform that motorsport has in line with the awareness that the planet needs right now is awesome and a really important message.”

Timmy Hansen

Said Hansen: “Going into the Extreme E will be a new chapter in my career, one that I am extremely excited about. It is something brand new, not only for me, but the whole of motorsport. The format is something

we’ve never seen before. I’m also delighted to be able to carry the message of something bigger – talking about the environment and doing something good for the world – that’s something that really drives me. It’s going to be a big adventure in life to see these locations and I’m going to do my best in carrying this responsibility and hopefully making people aware of the challenges we have in the world, together with our passion for racing.”