Teams could withdraw from the German GP admits Whitmarsh after Silverstone blowouts
Pirelli to attend FIA meeting on Wednesday after British GP blowouts
By Pete Gill. Last Updated: 02/07/13 8:38am
Driver boycott threat
McLaren chief Martin Whitmarsh has admitted there is a danger that teams will boycott this week's German GP in the wake of the alarming tyre failures which blighted Sunday's British GP.
Six cars suffered blowouts during the race while winner Nico Rosberg was forced to take a precautionary pit-stop with just ten laps remaining due to damage to his left-rear compound.
The unsettling spectacle - causing severe reputational damage for both tyre supplier and sport - was branded "unacceptable" by Lewis Hamilton after he lost the lead of the race after becoming the first driver to suffer a puncture.
With the next event, the German GP, less than a week away, the drastic possibility of a repeat of the 2005 U.S. GP, when all the Michelin-shod cars withdrew from the Indianapolis race, has already been openly mooted as F1 strives to prevent Sunday's explosive drama turning into a full-scale crisis.
British GP - Ted's Notebook
"There is that danger [of a boycott] and rightly so if teams and drivers aren't convinced that they can [race] safely," Whitmarsh acknowledged to Sky Sports News. "But that's not what we want for Formula 1. We have faced some of these issues before at Indianapolis and that was terrible for the sport so we have really got to work together. This is not a time to point fingers, it's time to work together, find a solution and get on with it."
Pirelli have been summoned by FIA President Jean Todt to a meeting of the Sporting Committee on Wednesday and held emergency talks with both Todt and FIA Race Director Charlie Whiting on Sunday night at Silverstone.
Speaking to French television station Canal+, Todt said: "I had a meeting with officials from Pirelli who will obviously investigate all the incidents that occurred in recent days.
"They will come up with proposals for the important meeting with all the teams on Wednesday. From the moment there are safety issues we have to make the right decision, and not just respond emotionally.
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"We must analyse things and let the experts come together to meet after that. It will allow us to make a final decision."
It emerged on Sunday night that Whiting had considered red-flagging the race before deploying the Safety Car in order for the circuit to be cleared of debris following the tyre blow-outs on Hamilton's Mercedes, the Ferrari of Felipe Massa and Jean-Eric Vergne's Toro Rosso.
"Four catastrophic failures is a first. It was quite close to being red-flagged," confirmed Whiting. "Quite clearly all that debris was putting people at risk."
Pirelli's investigation into the cause of the tyre failures - McLaren's Sergio Perez had his second of the weekend after the second Safety Car interruption while Fernando Alonso's Ferrari (right rear) and Esteban Gutierrez's Sauber (left front) also suffered - was underway even before Rosberg crossed the line to claim his second victory in three races.
The tyre makers have already ruled out the production changes introduced for the Silverstone event - to prevent the delaminations seen at earlier races - being a factor in the debacle.
"We can exclude that the new bonding process, which we introduced at this race, is at cause for the tyre failures we have seen today," Pirelli motorsport chief Paul Hembery declared.
Among the options expected to be discussed at Wednesday's meeting is the immediate reversion to last year's tyres - a proposal already endorsed by Whitmarsh and his Red Bull counterpart, Christian Horner.
Horner and Ferrari Team Principal Stefano Domenicali also suggested that the scheduled Young Driver Test later this month be scrapped in favour of a fully-fledged tyre test, although Whitmarsh has called for a more urgent remedy.
"I think something will have changed by Germany," said the McLaren chief. "I'm not considering that [withdrawing] at the moment, it's something all the teams and drivers will have to take a view on, but we have to support Pirelli and make sure we give them all the information and enough time to make the right decisions."