- The Inside Line
BANG! goes my viewpointKate Walker July 1, 2013
I've been a staunch defender of Pirelli's approach to rubber all season. I like the chaos of an unpredictable race, of a season in which teams take half the year to get on top of their strategy.
While the likes of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber went on (and on and on) about the unfairness of forcing drivers to drive to the limits of their equipment, and not their car's outright speed, I found myself agreeing with Kimi Raikkonen, who effectively told the moaners to shut up, that every era of Formula One has seen the drivers held back by some aspect of their equipment, from asthmatic engines to collapsing suspension struts that hadn't quite caught up with the ever-increasing levels of downforce they were dealing with.
But over the course of the British Grand Prix I was forced to reconsider my position.
One exploding tyre is unlucky. Three exploding tyres in near-identical conditions within seven laps? That, my friends, is what you call a problem. Add to that Sergio Perez' own tyre failure much later on in the race, and the near-misses caught by the Mercedes and Ferrari analysts following pit stops for Nico Rosberg and Fernando Alonso respectively, and you have a problem bordering on a crisis.
As we learned in Canada, with the unfortunate post-race death of Mark Robinson, danger is always present in Formula One. We have been lucky to see no driver deaths since Ayrton Senna in 1994, but motorsport is dangerous and it continues to claim lives.
We were incredibly lucky that none of the dramatic tyre failures we saw on Sunday afternoon led to serious injury or death. For Perez and Jean-Eric Vergne in particular, both of whom suffered failures far enough down straights that both drivers were going at considerable speed, the British Grand Prix could have resulted in far worse than lost championship points.
Pirelli are now investigating the cause of the succession of blow-outs, but whatever the result it is imperative that the teams join forces for once, and allow the Italian tyre supplier to make whatever changes to the rubber that are deemed necessary to ensure driver safety.
Degradation is fantastic. Devastation is unthinkable.