until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Formula 1

McLaren demands transparency from FIA in F1 tyre controversy

by Edd Straw
4 min read

McLaren Formula 1 team principal Andreas Seidl has criticised what he sees as a lack of transparency over the recent tyre failures in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

The fallout from the tyre blowouts that put Lance Stroll and Max Verstappen into the wall in Baku resulted in the issuing of an extensive technical directive on the treatment of the Pirelli tyres.

Seidl said that any further clarity “needs to come from the FIA, they have the power to decide to make transparent this case”, but “all parties that are involved” in the failures had responsibility.

Despite welcoming the technical directive, Seidl felt it was unnecessary given the regulations that were already in place were clear.

“It was obviously a very interesting sequence of events this week with the TD [technical directive] coming out and seeing the carefully chosen words in the press releases and in the statements from all parties involved,” said Seidl.

“What is a bit disappointing for us is that there is not more transparency in what actually happened, because it was a safety-critical.

“In the past with cases like that there is transparency, which didn’t happen so far with the teams. So that’s a bit disappointing.

“We definitely welcome the activities on the FIA side to put these verifications out but they were not really needed, the regulations were clear before.

“There is a clear reason why we get the prescriptions from Pirelli and why these regulations are in place, and we as a team are fully aware of that and know that we have to act responsibly with these prescriptions in order to ensure that we don’t put out our drivers at risk.

“The TD doesn’t change anything in terms of what we did, what we have to do now or what we did in the past.”

“If you were running the car within the regulations and following the prescriptions from Pirelli, there wasn’t an issue with the tyre” :: Andreas Seidl

Seidl said the transparency is necessary because of a lack of information on exactly what happened with the failures.

He also defended Pirelli on the basis that if the tyres are run as prescribed there were no safety concerns.

“There’s obviously a lot of assumptions up in the air of what actually happened,” said Seidl when asked by The Race what information he lacked.

“There’s a lot of criticism also towards Pirelli, but that’s not something we would support because I think that Pirelli has produced a safe product for this year.

Max Verstappe tyre blowout crash Azerbaijan Grand Prix 2021 Baku

“If we look at Baku, if you were running the car within the regulations and following the prescriptions from Pirelli, there wasn’t an issue with the tyre.

“So that’s why I think it would be important for everyone for the entire paddock to have transparency in understanding what actually happened and what was causing this.”

Seidl was also critical of the action taken by the FIA on the recent flexi-wings controversy, particularly the fact teams were given a month to adapt their cars to ensure they complied with the regulations.

While he welcomed the FIA intervening, he also described the delay as a disappointment.

“You can look at it from two sides,” he said when asked by The Race if he saw any parallels with the flexi-wing case in the tyre controversy.

“It’s good to see the activities on the FIA’s side, going after these topics in order to make sure that there’s a level playing field throughout the paddock in terms of everyone being within the regulations.

“At the same time, in the flexi-wing saga there was disappointment on our side because in the end teams got away with the advantage of running things which from our point of view are clearly not within the regulations.”

While there has been some criticism of Pirelli, Seidl defended the necessity of having prescribed parameters in terms of pressures and cambers.

Daniel Ricciardo McLaren Azerbaijan Grand Prix 2021 Baku

He stressed that this is not unusual in motorsport and is common in categories outside of Formula 1. Given the lack of information on the exact cause of the failures, he argued it’s incorrect to criticise the safety of the tyres.

“In the end we don’t know what happened in Baku, we don’t know the failures’ cause, we don’t know to what extent, for example, the recommendations supplied or the prescriptions from Pirelli haven’t been followed,” said Seidl.

“I look back at different categories I’ve been in the past, there were always prescriptions in terms of the camber and the minimum pressure you were allowed to run, so it is not something new in motorsport.

“I think Pirelli is doing a great job in order to test the tyres and to find the prescriptions that we need to follow to make sure we have safe tyres on our car.

“And again, if you follow the regulations, if you follow the prescriptions from Pirelli there’s no issue. That’s no different to any other category I’ve been in.”

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Email
  • More Networks