Pirelli will investigate the tyre problem that caused Sebastian Vettel’s only retirement in an otherwise almost flawless 2011 season.
Having started from pole and spun at the second corner of the race, the German’s Red Bull was badly damaged by the time he got the shredded tyre back to the pits. Pirelli have announced that the “sudden deflation” will be investigated.
“It certainly seems to be a very unusual incident and we’ve already been to look at the place with Sebastian: there seems to be no reason that is immediately obvious and the set of tyres was one that he had already used for qualifying,” said motor sport director Paul Hembery.
Indeed, Vettel reported that he had driven over the same kerb in the same way numerous times during the weekend, and Lewis Hamilton – who was immediately behind the 24-year-old at the time – also said he saw nothing unusual.
“I assumed it was just a tyre failure,” said the Briton.
Hembery is not so sure.
“There are so many possibilities for why a tyre can go down, but we are not going to find out right now (in Abu Dhabi) because of the limited resources that we have here,” he told Auto Motor und Sport.
And after eventual race winner Hamilton’s run of on-track incidents recently, his boss Martin Whitmarsh let out a sigh of relief when he saw the Vettel replay.
“We were a bit worried that Lewis had hit him and so it was a bit of relief when we could see clearly that he was far away from him,” the McLaren boss smiled.
In the Red Bull camp, Dr Helmut Marko saw the incident as a golden opportunity lost.
“That would have been an easy victory,” he said. “Hamilton and Alonso were not so impressive.”