Formula One racing’s governing body, the FIA, has announced a number of measures aimed at seeking an urgent solution to the tire failures seen in the 2013 Formula 1 Santander British Grand Prix.
Race drivers will now be allowed to take part in this month’s upcoming young driver test, provided it is clear they are testing tires for Pirelli. The Silverstone session, scheduled for July 17-19, may also be extended by a day.
“Our priority is to ensure safety for all in Formula One and we believe the incidents at Silverstone represent a genuine safety concern for the drivers,” said FIA President Jean Todt, who has asked Pirelli for assurance that there will be no repetition of the problems at the German round, or at subsequent Grands Prix.
“We have thus taken the decision to alter the young driver test to allow teams to use drivers they deem fit to carry out tire development work in a bid to solve the problems we saw at the British Grand Prix. I believe it is fitting to carry out this work at the circuit upon which the issues were manifested.”
To provide for this, the FIA has informed the Formula One teams that the approval of its World Motor Sport Council (WMSC) will be immediately sought for a change to Article 22 of the sporting regulations, which currently outlaws in-season circuit testing with experienced race drivers.
To allow the FIA to take all necessary actions to ensure safety, approval will also be sought for a change to the technical regulations to allow in-season modifications to tire specifications to be made without the unanimous agreement of all teams.
Despite the announced changes, Mercedes have accepted to not participate in the Silverstone test, as per the recent decision of the FIA’s International Tribunal, which suspended the team from the young driver session as penalty for an illegal tire test with Pirelli earlier in the year.
Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton was one of four drivers to suffer high-speed, left-rear tire failures at Silverstone on Sunday, the others being Ferrari's Felipe Massa, Toro Rosso's Jean-Eric Vergne and McLaren's Sergio Perez. Pirelli are currently investigating the cause.