Pirelli has hit back at claims from Sebastian Vettel that their tyres are unsafe following two failures during one race weekend, the latest of which cost the German a podium position.
Speaking to reporters is the race, Pirelli’s motorsport director Paul Hembery suggested Ferrari risked problems by opting for such a long stint on the same tyres by choosing to go with a one-stop strategy.
“It [the tyre] was at the end of wear-life,” said Hembery. “Any tyre in the world, when it gets to the end of its wear-life, you’re going to have a problem.
“[Vettel did] 28 laps. We thought the strategy would be based on two or three stops, as the majority did, but they clearly felt they could make it work on the one-stop. They obviously felt that was feasible.
“Wear-life was indicated at around 40 laps, but it’s an indication and race conditions can change that and some factors involved in racing mean that sometimes it’s not a precise datum. Other teams were taking a different direction.”
Whilst 28 laps is far less than the 40 indicated by Pirelli, replays show Vettel cutting the Eau Rouge corner on multiple occasions, including the lap of the failure.
Meanwhile, Hembery also denied claims it was similar to Rosberg’s blowout.
“Rosberg’s was an external cut; this was pure wear,” he explained. “The images show the carcass was still intact [on Vettel’s tyre].
“If the race was one lap less, he’d be on the podium and we’d be calling it a genius move – sometimes the margins are very fine. So it’s tough.
“He’s a driver, he’s been out there and frustrated that he’s only one lap away from getting a result. So I’m not going to criticise him for that.”