Drivers are pushing Pirelli for an explanation to the tyre failure that pitched Nico Rosberg out of control at more than 300kph on Friday. The Mercedes driver admitted it was luck rather than talent that prevented a horrifying impact with the barriers at one of F1's fastest and most dangerous circuits. Paddy Lowe, the team's highly experienced technical boss, said he had never seen a similar incident before, as the tyre construction visually "unravelled" in the minutes before the spectacular failure. "It was at maximum speed ... not good," he said. Rosberg insisted he did not run over any debris.
For its part, Pirelli has said only that it is investigating the failure, while Rosberg's driver colleagues are understood to have expressed concern directly to the Italian marque and FIA. "We will discuss it at the drivers' briefing," confirmed Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel. "Hopefully we will get some more information about what happened." McLaren-Honda driver Fernando Alonso added: "They (Pirelli) are investigating, but they (Mercedes') are not the only team that has had problems," he told the Spanish daily Marca.
It is believed that, in the wake of the incident, both Pirelli and the FIA have reiterated to the teams that the operating parameters of the tyres - like pressure and camber - must be respected. But Lowe confirmed that Rosberg's car had been within those parameters. "The important thing is to understand what happened," Williams' Felipe Massa is quoted by Brazil's Globo. "We need to know what happened because it is not pleasant to have this kind of problem at a circuit like this."
And Mercedes' team chairman Niki Lauda told German television: "The drivers need an explanation and it must be ensured that this does not happen again. I hope that by tomorrow (Saturday) we know what is happening and Pirelli can give the right answers."
Mystery blowout aside, Rosberg was fastest on Friday at a track that championship rival and teammate Lewis Hamilton admits is not among his favourites. F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone knows who he is barracking for. "We don't want Lewis winning this thing by Monza, do we?" he said in Belgium. (GMM)
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing