Pirelli has concluded the cause of Max Verstappen’s sudden puncture at Imola, which sent the Dutchman spinning into the gravel and out of the race.
While running in second place after overtaking Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas, Verstappen’s right-rear tyre fell apart as he approached Variante Alta.
Pirelli suspected after the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix that debris may have caused the incident.
Following an investigation, Pirelli found that the tyre had several cuts on the tread and sidewall, which ultimately led to the failure as it could not bear the loads it was placed under.
“We made an investigation on the tyre and the part of the tyre that we have been able to collect,” said Pirelli’s Head of F1 Mario Isola.
“We found some cuts on the tread and the sidewall, both in inside and outside. We believe that the reason of the failure was damage on the centre of the tread that caused the damage on both the belts and the carcass plies.
“So the belts started to detach following this damage and at a certain point, when the carcass was not able to keep the load, we had the deflation that everybody saw on television.
“We shared the analysis with the FIA and the team and this is the evidence that we have.
“Obviously it is difficult to analyse a tyre that is in pieces but we sent immediately the tyre back from Imola to our laboratories in Milan and we did an investigation as a priority.”
Although Verstappen was the only driver to retire at Imola with a tyre issue, Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton had to manage a vibration on his Hard compound tyres.
Pirelli confirmed that it is carrying out an investigation with Mercedes to uncover the cause.