Formula 1’s governing body, the International Automobile Federation (FIA), finally responded to the spate of British Grand Prix blowouts by deciding to change the rules and allow race drivers to test tyres with their current cars at Silverstone this month.
Italian tyre manufacturer Pirelli announced this week it will strengthen its F1 tyres for the German Grand Prix, making the rear tyres’ internal belt with the high-strength synthetic fibre Kevlar instead of the usual steel to reduce temperatures and the risk of punctures. Only the rear tyres will be changed for Sunday’s race, although a complete change will be introduced for the Hungarian Grand Prix on July 28 using the 2012 tyre design parameters.
The Mercedes Formula 1 team escaped heavy sanctions for a ‘secret’ tyre test with Pirelli at Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya after the Spanish Grand Prix.
Mercedes went on to win the British Grand Prix, with Nico Rosberg clinching the title but leaving his teammate Lewis Hamilton behind.
Hamilton had to recover from a massive tyre delamination explosion to take fourth spot in a thrilling finish at Silverstone.
In a race marred by four tyre failures and two safety car interventions, Hamilton lost the lead before fighting back from last place and then called for urgent attention to this year’s Pirelli tyre reliability problems and driver safety concerns.
Earlier, an international tribunal reprimanded Mercedes and Pirelli for breaking the rules on testing, and ordered the British-based team to miss a three-day young driver test scheduled for Silverstone in July. The tribunal had the power to impose a heavy fine, dock points or even ban Mercedes from the world championship but chose to be lenient.
Webber calls it a day for Formula 1
Australian Mark Webber, who came from 15th position after lap one, finished a close second in last Sunday’s British Grand Prix behind the Mercedes of Nico Rosberg. The Australian GP great will draw a close on a sensational Formula 1 career following his announcement that he is to retire from F1 at the end of the 2013 season.
Webber, 36, who started in over 200 F1 races, will finish a 12-year career at the pinnacle of international motorsport when he leaves Red Bull Racing after the season-end Brazilian Grand Prix in November. In a career that has seen him drive for Minardi, Jaguar, Williams and Red Bull, Webber has won nine Grands Prix, taken 11 pole positions and finished on the podium 38 times.
Webber’s new job will be to spearhead the return of German car manufacturer Porsche to Le Mans in 2014, returning to driving sports cars – a category he’s no stranger to, having driven for Mercedes in 1998-99.
Webber’s Formula One career started with a fifth place finish at the 2002 Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne, driving for the Minardi team, owned by Australian businessman Paul Stoddart. Webber’s legacy will be remembered alongside Alan Jones MBE and Sir Jack Brabham AO OBE as a legend of Formula 1.