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Formula One News
Will tires be an issue again in the German Grand Prix?
Nurburg, Germany (Sports Network) - Following the tire failures in last Sunday's British Grand Prix at Silverstone, Pirelli quickly made changes to the tires that will be used in this weekend's German Grand Prix.
Four drivers -- Lewis Hamilton, Felipe Massa, Sergio Perez and Jean-Eric Vergne -- suffered left-rear tire failure during the British GP. Hamilton started on the pole and led the first seven laps before his tire blew. He rallied for a fourth-place finish, while his Mercedes teammate, Nico Rosberg, won the event.
Pirelli, which is the sole tire supplier for Formula One, revealed earlier this week that it is using Kevlar-belted tires throughout the weekend in Germany. A new range of tires will be introduced for the upcoming grand prix in Hungary.
The Kevlar-belted tires were recently tested in Canada. The rear tires that will be used in the German GP have a Kevlar construction that replaces the current steel structure with the re-introduction of the 2012 belt. Pirelli has not made any changes to the front tires.
"Even though the 2013 high-performance steel-belted version is completely safe when used correctly, the Kevlar-belted version is easier to manage," Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery said. "And as long as there is no system in place which allows us to enforce tire-related specifications, like tire pressures or camber, the incorrect use of which were contributing factors of the tire failures in Silverstone, we prefer to bring a less sophisticated tire.
"From the Hungarian Grand Prix onwards, there will be a completely new range of tires, combining the characteristics of our 2012 tires with the increased performance of the 2013 specification."
This year's German GP is being contested at the Nurburgring. The 2012 event ran at the Hockenheimring.
"The Nurburgring is one of the circuits that we have the least experience of, having only raced there once before in Formula One, but we're certain that we have chosen the correct compromise between performance and durability by bringing the medium and soft compounds," Hembery added. "These were actually the same compounds that we chose for this track in 2011, but since then the tires have got softer and faster, so we would expect a quicker race time with an average of three pit stops for most drivers."
Drivers and teams are pleased that Pirelli immediately made alterations to the tires and have high hopes that Germany will not be a repeat of the British GP.
"I think first of all that it's good that within not even a week's time, how we were able to get a different tire for this race, which hopefully is safer for all of us," said Red Bull driver and three-time defending F1 world champion Sebastian Vettel. "Obviously, the last race was not what we wanted and not satisfactory, so I think it's good that we have a new tire here. How much better and how different it will be is difficult to judge at this stage, but I'm confident that it's a step forward."
Vettel is one of four German drivers racing in front of his home crowd this weekend. Rosberg, Nico Hulkenberg (Sauber) and Adrian Sutil (Force India) are the others. Neither one of them has yet to win the German GP.
"I think we've have good races in the past here (at Nurburgring) but also in Hockenheim," Vettel said. "So Germany in general has always been close but not good enough to win yet. I hope I have a little bit of time left to try again. We'll definitely try this weekend."
Vettel celebrated his 26th birthday on Wednesday.
Series: Formula One. Date: Sunday, July. Race: German Grand Prix. Site: Nurburgring. Track: 3.2-mile (5.148-kilometer), 15-turn road course. Start Time: 8 a.m. ET. Laps: 60. Miles: 191.918 (308.863 km). 2012 Winner: Fernando Alonso. Television: CNBC.
07/04 16:43:30 ET
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