Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso is reluctant to take part in a test at Silverstone this month because he fears a repeat of the scenes at the British Grand Prix on Sunday when exploding tyres put drivers’ lives at risk.
The Spaniard, second in the standings behind Red Bull’s triple world champion Sebastian Vettel, was almost hit on the head by a strip of tread flying off Sergio Perez’s McLaren in front of him.
Formula One’s governing body responded to the five blowouts by deciding on Monday to change the rules and allow race drivers to test revised Pirelli tyres with their current cars at the same track later this month, instead of just young drivers.
“I don’t intend to go,” Alonso told reporters in the Ferrari motorhome ahead of Sunday’s German Grand Prix.
“It’s not a very safe thing racing on the same track with the same tyres. I don’t have the feeling I want to go. But if the team wants me to go...”
After the intervention of the governing FIA amid talk of a driver boycott, Pirelli have brought different rear tyres to the Nuerburgring - Vettel’s home race - with an inner belt made of the synthetic fibre Kevlar rather than steel.
Double champion Alonso has put his faith in Pirelli to at least make this race safer, even if cooler rear tyres could benefit Mercedes and Red Bull based on this season’s analysis.
“Pirelli made some changes so we trust them,” he said.
“This is the third or fourth change they make in the season already, some were hurting us, some were helping us. I think performance today is the second priority.
“The most important thing is to make it for dinner at home on Sunday.
“I was lucky...It could have hit my helmet (last Sunday when finishing third). It would have been like a bullet.”
Other drivers hoped the Italian firm had cracked the problem. Photographers milled around the Pirelli lorries in the Nuerburgring paddock yesterday with technicians hard at work on the tyres, with practice taking place today.
“Like we said last weekend, it has to be safe,” Vettel said.
“It was not what we want, not satisfactory. It’s good we have a new tyre here.”
Red Bull teammate Mark Webber, who is swapping the perils of F1 for the equally dangerous pursuit of Le Mans endurance driving at the end of the season, rejected suggestions that kerbs at Silverstone had ruptured the tyres.
“It caught us all by surprise on Sunday for sure,” he said.
“All of a sudden in the race there were landmines everywhere which no one really predicted.
“In the end everyone left there in one piece...apart from the tyres. Pirelli will learn from it, they have to. There’s no issues with the kerbs because the track was fine the last five years. I’m a bit more confident they’ve got more data.” Pirelli, which has put some of the blame for the Silverstone blowouts on the teams for the way they have managed tyres, conducted a “secret” test with Mercedes in Barcelona in May for which the German team were punished by the FIA.
Mercedes have been ruled out of the Silverstone tyre trial this month and Nico Rosberg, the British Grand Prix winner, shrugged off talk that the Spanish test had given them inside knowledge going forward.Last updated:
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