Bridgestone: Tyre Failure Not The Cause of Accident

Bridgestone are continuing their investigations into the cause of Heikki Kovalainen s horrific 220km/h crash at Barcelona yesterday, but do not believe the incident was a result of tyre failure.

Heikki Kovalainen was knocked unconscious after his McLaren suffered a problem with the left front tyre and careered into the tyre wall at Turn 9. The Finn has since been cleared from any physical or brain damage and is expected to be fit and well for the next Grand Prix in Istanbul.

Bridgestone Motorsport are investigating the cause of the accident but have so far ruled out tyre failure:

“Regarding Heikki Kovalainen s incident we do not believe that there was a tyre failure,” the tyre supplier said in a statement after the race. “As is normal we are now conducting a thorough investigation with the team and we are happy Kovalainen appears to have not sustained any visible injuries.”

McLaren Team Principal Ron Dennis said after the race that he was “99.9 per cent certain the wheel failed”, and would be working with Enkei to understand exactly what had happened. Wheels rarely fail, but such failures are typically caused by foreign objects working themselves into the mechanism during use, rather than a fault in the actual manufacturing process.

“As far as we can tell, because we ve now got the parts a wheel failed,” the Englishman said. “A very unusual occurrence. It had only had 14km on it, so it was a brand new wheel so we have to analyse the components to find out. But at the moment, it s 99.9 per cent certain the wheel failed.”

“It s a new wheel and under circumstances like this it will normally be something to do with our partners who make the wheel but it would be completely inappropriate for me to make any comment until we ve analysed the pieces. Obviously, when we know we ll share it with you.”