Race Director Charlie Whiting has admitted that amidst today's (tyre) carnage he seriously considered stopping the race.
Following the tyre failures on the cars of Lewis Hamilton, Felipe Massa and Jean-Eric Vergne the FIA official feared that another similar failure could end in disaster.
"It was quite close to being red-flagged," he told reporters, "it did occur to me to do that."
Asked what how many more failures it would have taken before he pulled the plug, he replied: "I'm not going to give a specific number. But it was close. To clear up all that debris was putting marshals at risk, and it is not satisfactory.
"We haven't seen a failure like this before," he continued, "we have seen other types of failure, and that is what has been addressed. So we need to analyse it very carefully to see if we can establish the cause."
Refusing to draw any initial conclusions, Whiting said he and the FIA are awaiting a report from Pirelli. "They have a lot of analysing to do, including the tyres that didn't fail," he said, "because maybe we will find something there that was on the verge of failing that will give us a better indicator of what happened."
While the Sporting Working Committee was already due to convene in Germany next week, today's high profile failures will put Pirelli and its 2013 rubber firmly at the top of the agenda. However, Whiting admits that a solution needs to be found before then.
"It is too early to say what will happen, so it's too early to say what needs to be done. However, we will be on it first thing in the morning. Pirelli have got to analyse it, to try and find the cause. We need to make decisions earlier than Wednesday."
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