Within laps of each other, both Scuderia Ferrari SF70H cars on the Soft compound tyres at the 2017 British Grand Prix last weekend were forced to pit when their left front tyres failed, with just a few laps until the end of the race: Finnish driver Kimi Raikkonen lost tread and as a result second place to Valtteri Bottas, while Sebastian Vettel‘s tyre lost pressure entirely and thus the German driver lost precious points to Lewis Hamilton in the battle for the Formula One title.
Team principal of the Scuderia Ferrari Maurizio Arrivabene was outraged due to the events at Silverstone, but only implied that he believed Pirelli to be at fault. Pirelli confirmed it would take both tyres, along with setup data, in order to investigate their cause of failure and determine who was at fault. What has been confirmed so far is that the Maranello team’s setup was not at fault for the tyre failures, as indicated by Motorsport Italy, who got the opportunity to talk to Mario Isola of Pirelli.
Pirelli’s Head of Car Racing Mario Isola has stated that tyre telemetry on the run up to the accident will be reviewed. Parameters including temperature, pressure, and vibrations will be examined for the source of the damage that caused Sebastian Vettel’s tire to abruptly fail.
One potential explanation for the German driver’s blowout is simple: he wore it out by driving too hard. Sebastian did complain several times over team radio of blistering problems, prior to being chased down by Valtteri Bottas, who pressured Vettel into a brake lockup, causing a flat spot that may have later developed into the cause of his blowout. Furthermore, his lap times leading up to the surprise failure on lap 50 took a dive, dropping more than 1.6 seconds per lap between laps 46 and 49. One photo suggests that his front right was also due to give up the ghost in the next couple of laps, suggesting that Vettel’s tire failures were not so much a case of if but when.
On the other hand, Finnish driver Kimi Raikkonen made no complaints of blistering during his Soft compound stint, and no evidence of blisters were found on his failed tire. Mario Isola says Pirelli will look for evidence of blistering on Sebastian Vettel’s tyres, but most likely Pirelli will imply that the Maranello team did not correctly manage the tyres at Silverstone.