Tyre failure not the cause of Vettel's retirement
16 November 2011 – A structural failure of Sebastian Vettel’s right-rear tyre has been ruled out by Pirelli. The cause of the World Champion’s first-lap spin in Sunday’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix therefore remains a mystery, despite a full two-day investigation into the problem.
‘Following an extensive investigation of the circumstances that led to Sebastian Vettel’s right-rear tyre suddenly deflating on the opening lap of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, a structural failure of the tyre has been ruled out as the cause by Pirelli’s engineers,’ Pirelli’s statement reads. ‘The tyre in question was a part of a set of PZero Yellow Softs that the Red Bull Racing driver had used to qualify on pole the day before.’
Pirelli has explained that not much of the tyre was left after the incident, but enough for a full examination to be carried out across Sunday evening, Monday and Tuesday.
‘Having subjected the tyre to minute analysis, structural failure of the tyre or valve has been ruled out as a cause of the incident,’ the statement continues. ‘Track debris or other outside circumstances cannot be excluded as a possible cause.’
“We cannot rule out debris on the track causing damage to the tyre, which then provoked a deflation, but having looked at the track closely there is no direct evidence of this.”
Red Bull has issued no official reaction to the incident, so it remains unknown as to whether the team is aware of what caused the problem. As the Young Driver test continues, views in the paddock vary about possible reasons - including the car’s floor rubbing against the tyre or hot exhaust gases triggering a deflation.