Formula 1 will once again race at Silverstone this weekend for the sport’s 70th Anniversary Grand Prix, following last weekend’s dramatic British GP which saw three cars suffer tyre failures in the final laps of the race.
Pirelli carried out an investigation into the matter and found a number of contributory factors, including extremely high loads from F1’s fastest ever cars on a track which places an enormous load on the front-left – the tyre which failed on all three cars.
As well as teams completing more laps than Pirelli recommended on a single set of tyres following an early Safety Car, plus small amounts of debris.
Another factor which is believed to have contributed is the shorter kerb at the exit of the fast Becketts right-hand corner (between Turns 13 and 14) which almost every driver cut repeatedly, running over the grass and then over the start of the kerb which had a blunt face and was therefore likely putting unnecessary load and stress through the tyre wall.
In response, Silverstone has installed a new 23 metre section of kerb (pictured), which Pirelli F1 boss Mario Isola supported.
“Probably some of the cuts we found on Friday were caused by the fact that some debris was trapped in the kerb, causing some cuts in the tyres,” he explained.
“They are working around that and it’s a good action, it’s a good idea to have this small modification that is helping this situation.”
Renault’s Esteban Ocon noted the lack of kerb during practice last weekend and believes it contributed to the problem.
“We have seen a lot of cuts and stuff that we don’t normally see in practice,” he said. “There is a new thing as well out of Turn 13, there is now no kerb anymore which there was before, so now you run in the dirt and then you go on to the kerb and that could also damage the tyres.
“I don’t know if it came from the carbon debris or just the track being very hard with the tyres or the new cars running wider than I was used to in 2018.
“But we’ve seen more damage and more cut to the tyres than we have ever seen.”