x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Pirelli examine blow-out Vettel's punctured tyre

The remains of Sebastian Vettel's punctured tyre that continues to be scrutinised by Pirelli experts at Yas Marina Circuit.

ABU DHABI // The remains of the punctured tyre that ended Sebastian Vettel's bid for a third successive Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix title continue to be scrutinised by Pirelli experts at Yas Marina Circuit, a spokesperson for the Italian tyre manufacturers confirmed.

Vettel, the Formula One world champion, experienced an instantaneous loss of pressure in his rear right tyre between the first and second turns of his opening lap of Sunday.

Christian Horner, his team principal at Red Bull Racing, said he suspected the cause to be a sharp piece of debris left over from the day's earlier support races. That theory was dismissed by Yas officials, who said race marshals had diligently cleaned the track before the grand prix.

Paul Hembery, Pirelli's motorsports director, said after the race that there were several reasons why the tyre may have deflated, but added "we are not going to find out right now [in Abu Dhabi] because of the limited resources we have here".

Yet a Pirelli spokesperson yesterday told The National that, rather than being flown to the company's headquarters in Milan, the tyre has remained in the UAE capital and is being examined here. A statement is expected today.

Meanwhile, Felipe Massa, who finished fifth for Ferrari on Sunday, has said he believes the track needs to be changed before next year's race.

Organisers at Yas Marina discussed making track alterations earlier this year to improve overtaking, but decided the sport's new regulations had deemed it unnecessary.

Sunday's race vindicated the decision with plenty on-track passing, yet Massa is not satisfied. "I still believe that this is a difficult track for overtaking," he said. "In my opinion they need to change a little bit corner seven, maybe even make it wider like in India."


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