Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Exploding Tyre Crisis Almost Made Us Stop GP Say Organisers; Formula One

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Exploding Tyre Crisis Almost Made Us Stop GP Say Organisers; Formula One

Article excerpt

RACE chiefs have admitted they came close to stopping the British Grand Prix as exploding tyres threatened the safety of the drivers.

FIA race director Charlie Whiting said he considered halting a chaotic race at Silverstone as he felt drivers' lives were on the line.

Tyre suppliers Pirelli's reputation is in tatters, similar to the rubber strewn across the Northamptonshire circuit as four separate blow-outs made for one of the most embarrassing days in Formula One's history.

Lewis Hamilton, Felipe Massa, Jean-Eric Vergne and Sergio Perez all suffered failures to the left-rears.

Hamilton, Massa and Vergne all suffered early incidents then when Perez saw his race destroyed by another on lap 46, it crossed Whiting's mind to call a halt.

"It was quite close to being red flagged. It did occur to me to do that," said Whiting.

"It was close. I don't think we've seen anything like this. To have four total catastrophic failures, I believe, is a first."

Unsurprisingly, the likes of Hamilton, Perez and Massa were angered by what unfolded, with the former's hopes of victory wrecked by his failure on lap eight that saw him drop to last from the lead before rescuing his race with fourth behind race winner and team-mate Nico Rosberg.

"What happened is just unacceptable," said Mercedes star Hamilton, who last month played his part in a tyre test that was supposed to help Pirelli solve their problems. Safety is the biggest issue. Someone could've crashed. Behind the safety car I was thinking it was only when someone gets hurt that something will be done about it. Pirelli have to react to it."

Perez said it was "unacceptable.

The McLaren driver adding: "We are risking our lives. We shouldn't wait until something happens at 250kmh."

Vergne, whose incident in his Toro Rosso occurred at the end of the Hangar Straight at 180mph, added: "I am very upset about it, something needs to be done about it soon. …

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