British GP: Raikkonen incident caused by external damage, not “tyre issues”
An analysis of the tyre that caused problems for Kimi Raikkonen in the British Grand Prix has found “no issues connected with the tyre itself nor with its use,” shares Pirelli. A close inspection of the soft compound tyre fitted to the front left wheel of Raikkonen’s Ferrari revealed specific damage in two places at the edge of the belt close to the internal shoulder area, however no damage was found in any other area of the tyre, and no signs of fatigue were evident in the belt and structure.
“The possible initial cause of this damage is consistent with contact against an external body, leading to a partial separation of the belt from the carcass in the two affected areas,” states Pirelli. “In one of these two places, as a logical consequence, part of the tread also became detached.” This damage didn’t compromise the actual tyre structure, and Raikkonen was able to safely return to the pits on an inflated tyre.
A number of detailed destructive and non-destructive tests have since been carried out on other tyres used by frontrunners at the British Grand Prix with a similar or greater distance on them compared to the set used by Raikkonen (for 25 laps). None of these tests uncovered any sign of fatigue, detachment or laceration affecting a tyre’s structure, or even the beginning of such problems.
“In conclusion, Pirelli can confirm that no issues have emerged connected with the tyre itself,” the F1 tyre supplier wrote in a statement.