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Pirelli cannot put the blame on us, says Verstappen

NEWS STORY
17/06/2021

Describing the outcome of Pirelli's investigation into his Baku tyre failure as "vague", Max Verstappen insists the Italian manufacturer is wrong to shift the blame to the teams.

If anything came out of Pirelli's investigation into the high-profile failures that Lance Stroll and Max Verstappen suffered on the streets of Baku two weeks ago it was that that the Italian manufacturers were not to blame.

Ruling out debris or a defect in the tyres construction, Pirelli appeared to shift the blame on to driving practices and the teams.

Indeed, a technical directive subsequently sent to all the teams ahead of this weekend's French Grand Prix focusses on the dark arts of tyre pressure manipulation.

Sherlock Hamilton, who, along with colleague Professor Wolff, had previously cracked the mysterious case of the flexing wing, was once again displaying his eminent detective skills, observing Red Bull's practice of prematurely removing the tyre blankets on Verstappen's car in Spain.

However, as the French Grand Prix weekend gets underway, Verstappen insists that blame for the failures does not rest with the teams.

"Of course, they explained that they don't have measurement tools during the race, but we gave them our tyre pressures and they were within the limits they set," said the Dutchman in reference to the tyre pressures. "If those limits are not correct, there is nothing we can do about it, we just follow what is possible within the rules.

"If that means that we have to go up on pressures, we will... everyone will go up on pressures," he continued. "But they say they didn't have the correct measurements, but we gave it to them after the race and it was shown that we didn't do anything wrong there. And also, Aston Martin didn't do anything wrong.

"So, they cannot put the blame on us," he insisted. "I think they have to look at themselves. And we are here, happy to help, of course, with everything.

"They already went up on pressure from Friday to Saturday, so that means something," he added, referring to the fact that Pirelli changed the recommended pressures over the course of the Baku weekend. "Maybe it wasn't enough. We'll go up on pressures here, for sure, and hopefully that's enough."

Referring to Pirelli's statement, Verstappen admitted: "For me it was just a bit vague what came out. The only thing I can say is that from our side, I think the team did everything like they should have done. They followed all the guidelines with tyre pressures and stuff. So, there was nothing to be found there.

"For sure we'll go up on pressures here for this weekend. I'm 100% sure we will. Probably it has something to do with that, what happened in Baku, but it would also be nice to just know if it was tyre pressure related.

"Pirelli should just speak out," he concluded, "it would be a bit easier to understand and I think the explanation we got so far wasn't enough because the team didn't do anything wrong."

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1. Posted by C5, 17/06/2021 22:32

"I think it's very clear the problem is the teams working around the rules way into the gray area. Which is what the team engineers will, should, and have to do if they are even remotely competent at jobs.

In this case it just pushed the limit over the edge and the FIA reacts, as they should do when it's clearly a safety related issue. The updated TD should prevent the teams from being too creative with the tire pressures. At least until an engineer gets a new light bulb moment and finds a new loophole.

The rules put forward in the TD are, in the tradition of the FIA, very complicated. But hopefully they can all be chugged out the window after the season as the introduction of actual tire pressure sensors next year should effectively put an end to tire pressure games and speculation but making in impossible to run underpressured tires undetected at any point during the weekend.

Way easier to understand for the public, easier to comply with by the teams, and much easier for the FIA to monitor and, ultimately, disqualify transgressors (of which I predict there will be none now the teams know they're being monitored in real time and thus build in just enough margin to not end up on the naughty step)."

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2. Posted by Pavlo, 17/06/2021 20:40

"Pirelli is definitely to blame. If team would have couple of sets to test as they wish, they can be made responsible. But they don’t, so Pirelli can define the limits for temperature and pressure, but have to guarantee tyre handles it."

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3. Posted by Mad Matt, 17/06/2021 16:36

"I agree that it's not clear but a little bit of reading around and it seems that the current measurements and checks allow teams to find ways to run their tyres at lower pressures without breaking the rules.

Lower pressures mean the tyres are exposed to greater tearing forces.

So now the rules have been tweaked to try and ensure that the pressures in the tyres during the race are at the expected values.

Which means the teams weren't directly at fault as they followed the rules in effect at the time but that Pirelli were perhaps a bit naive thinking those were the pressures in the tyres during the race."

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4. Posted by aroutis, 17/06/2021 15:05

"Max is on the right here, and Pirelli needs to just assume responsibility. "

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5. Posted by Wokingchap, 17/06/2021 14:54

"Max put it very well, Pirelli need to be far less vague and very specific. This is a potentially extremely dangerous situation."

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