Pirelli’s head of motorsport Mario Isola has blamed debris for the tyre failures, which marred yesterday’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix, with the company announcing a full investigation into the failures will be conducted by the French Grand Prix.
In a race that saw most of the field switch to the hard tyres for their first scheduled stop, both Lance Stroll and Max Verstappen suffered violent shunts when their hard tyres exploded on the main straight, costing Verstappen his third win of the season and Stroll a potential podium.
Speaking to selected members of the media, which included Motorlat.com, Isola says that debris on the circuit may have been the cause for the punctures, with the Italian ruling out tyre wear as the cause of the blowouts.
“The plan is to send both sets to Milan by air freight tomorrow in order to have them in our laboratory as soon as possible, and to perform an investigation on this set and also other sets used in this stint because looking at the tyres used in the second stint for most of the drivers we didn’t find any evidence of damage; I believe that I can exclude the fact that the failures were caused by tyre wear as it’s not a matter of tyre wear.”
“Another element is that there was no sign or warning according to the teams, we have to receive the telemetry from them but what they told me was that there was no warning, no vibration nothing to think that there could be something in the tyres, it seems to be a cut because of debris.”
Isola’s initial findings point the finger to debris causing Verstappen’s puncture; however, the cause of Stroll’s accident is still unknown.
“For Max, the debris may have came from the last car arriving on the scene before him; with Lance, I honestly don’t know because there were no incidents before his accident, so I can’t not exclude there wasn’t something on the track, in 2018 if you remember Bottas picked a big debris on the main straight, and he had the same problem with a sudden deflation, in that case, it was visible from the images, we clearly could see the piece of debris cutting the tyre.”
“In this case, it’s a bit more complicated; obviously, another element of our investigation will be based around images, and if there's any footage, we can use that to better understand what happened.”