F1: Drivers threaten German GP boycott over tyres

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Formula 1 has been threatened with a boycott of this weekend’s German Grand Prix.

The shock message has come from the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association, and in the wake of Sunday’s scenes at the British Grand Prix, where a number of blowouts overshadowed the race.

Tyre supplier Pirelli has quickly responded, introducing a two-fold plan to address the crisis that took place at Silverstone. For this weekend, the belt on the rear tyres is now made of Kevlar – a high-strength synthetic fibre which is more resistant to punctures – as opposed to the steel that was previously used. Significantly, from the Hungarian Grand Prix onwards, the tyres will change again, comprising 2012 construction with 
2013 compounds.

The message from the drivers was predominantly positive earlier in the week, with many praising Pirelli for the speed of their response. But, following a meeting yesterday of the GPDA – chaired by Pedro de la Rosa and with Sebastian Vettel and Jenson Button as directors – it has now emerged the drivers are more than willing to not drive should there be a repeat of the scenes witnessed four days ago.

A statement read: “The drivers of the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association wish to express their deepest concerns about the events that took place at Silverstone. We trust the changes made to the tyres will have the desired results and that similar problems will not occur during the German GP weekend.

“We are ready to drive our cars to the limit, as we always do, and as it is expected by our teams, sponsors and fans. However, the drivers have decided if similar problems should manifest themselves during the German GP, we shall immediately withdraw from the event, as this avoidable problem with the tyres endangers again the lives of drivers, marshals and fans.”

The statement from the GPDA proved to be a bolt from the blue given earlier remarks from its members at the Nurburgring.

Vettel said: “It’s good that within a week we have been able to get a different tyre for this race which hopefully is safer for all of us. Obviously the last race was not what we wanted, not satisfactory, so it’s good we have a new tyre here.”