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Perez slams Pirelli after 'unacceptable' tyre issues

ESPN Staff
October 10, 2013 « Rosberg wants Brawn to stay at Mercedes | Massa promises 'aggressive' approach »
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Sergio Perez thinks his tyre delaminating at the Korean Grand Prix and Pirelli's response to it were "absolutely not acceptable".

Perez suffered a delamination towards the end of a long stint on the medium tyres after locking up into turn one. All drivers had been suffering with wear on their front-right tyre and several locked up under heavy braking as a result.

Perez's lock up wore the tread block of the tyre through and resulted in a delamination on the following straight as the tread became detatched and flew into the path of Mark Webber's car behind. Pirelli has suffered several different problems with similar results earlier in the year, but made a change to the construction at the Hungarian Grand Prix in the hope of eradicating the problems.

"I think it was very dangerous," Perez said of the Korea delamination. "This time I saw everything happening, in the past the issues were with the rear tyres where you don't see it happening, but here I saw everything and I really saw how dangerous it was.

"The tyre blew out and then I saw the actual tread coming off and I was just hoping no-one was behind. I knew Kimi was coming close but he had already passed by, but one of the Ferraris was also very close. Luckily nothing happened."

In response to the delamination, Pirelli boss Paul Hembery said: "We have been able to determine very quickly that it was the result of a flat spot caused by a lock-up under heavy braking. We're obviously on exactly the same construction as we raced here last year, so there's no underlying problem, while flat spots or punctures have just always been an integral part of racing."

Perez believes that response was unacceptable.

"[It was] the first time that a tyre exploded from a lock up, and then we hear that this is normal! I think that this is not normal at all," he said. "We have a lot of lock ups and it's easy to lock up in a Formula car. But what is not normal is that we get used to seeing explosions of the tyres and the tread coming away from the tyres. It is absolutely not acceptable for the teams and the drivers. It is just not acceptable.

"The first issue is the safety. If you have a lock up and your tyre then explodes, it is a big concern. Definitely these kinds of issues have to be addressed and we have to get on top of it. You have heard from all the drivers that we are concerned. Not about degradation and looking after the tyres - that's part of the game - but this has become a safety issue."

Perez said he even tried to drive around the lowering temperature of his front-right tyre, but couldn't prevent the lock up.

"That lap I was already losing temperature in my tyre because my stint had been quite long. I braked five metres earlier and a bit softer as well, but suddenly I had a big flat spot. Then I did the corner and the tyre just exploded."

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