As speculation swirls following Sebastian Vettel’s race-ending tyre problem in Abu Dhabi, supplier Pirelli ruled itself out as the cause. The Red Bull driver’s rear tyre suffered a sudden loss of air on the second corner of the opening lap, and the flailing rubber on the way back to the pits caused too much damage for him to return to the race.
Some media reports have suggested that, after Pirelli and the back-to-back world champion inspected the kerb and scoured the area for debris that might have caused a puncture, the car’s hot exhaust-blowing system might be to blame.
Pirelli said in a statement on Wednesday that it has carried out “an extensive investigation” in the last days.
The Italian marque said “a structural failure of the tyre has been ruled out as the cause” by Pirelli engineers and Red Bull.
“Track debris or other outside circumstances cannot be excluded as a possible cause,” the statement added.
But motor sport director Paul Hembery commented: “Having looked at the track closely there is no direct evidence of this (debris).”