On This Day In F1 - There Were A Load Of Tyre Failures At Silverstone

On This Day In F1 - There Were A Load Of Tyre Failures At Silverstone

A look back at what happened on 30 June in Formula 1 history

1963 French Grand Prix
Jim Clark dominated the race after close challenger Richie Ginther and Jack Brabham both hit mechanical issues. Graham Hill was also in the mix, but he had to be push started and was given a one-minute penalty, which dropped him from second to third, behind Tony Maggs. Bizarrely, the organisers also opted not to award Hill any championship points as further punishment for his push start, though he was allowed to keep his third place.

1996 French Grand Prix
Michael Schumacher was set to start from pole position but, on the warm-up lap, his Ferrari engine dramatically exploded. That left Damon Hill to cruise to victory ahead of teammate Jacques Villeneuve with the Benettons of Jean Alesi and Gerhard Berger third and fourth and the McLarens of Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard rounding out the points.

Schumacher's race was over before it even began
Schumacher's race was over before it even began

2013 British Grand Prix
Still on a quest to grab his first win for Mercedes, Lewis Hamilton was leading the early part of the race from pole when, eight laps into the race, he suffered a dramatic left-rear tyre failure which dropped him to the back of the field. A few laps later Felipe Massa suffered the same fate, as did Jean-Eric Vergne, prompting the safety car to be deployed and teams to warn their drivers to keep off the kerbs, which were believed to be the cause of the failures.

The tyre problems weren’t over yet, though. Sergio Perez and Esteban Gutierrez both also suffered failures, while Nico Rosberg, Fernando Alonso, and Nico Hulkenberg were discovered to have had slow punctures ahead of their pit stops.

Even away from tyres, the race was dramatic - Sebastian Vettel led most of the way until his gearbox failed, handing Rosberg the win ahead of Mark Webber (who’d dropped back early after a bad start and contact with Romain Grosjean) and Alonso. Hamilton was able to recover to fourth with Kimi Raikkonen fifth and Massa sixth.

The race was as much a battle for survival as anything else. (c) Ferrari
The race was as much a battle for survival as anything else. (c) Ferrari

Naturally, however, the chatter was all about the tyres. Some blamed the kerbs and the hot temperatures, others blamed Pirelli, while Pirelli suggested the teams were pushing the tyres beyond the recommended limits. On safety grounds, the FIA permitted Pirelli to modify the tyres for the next race in Germany before introducing a new construction altogether in Hungary.

Birthdays
Ralf Schumacher (born 1975) joined his brother Michael in F1 in 1997 with the Jordan team and impressed with a podium in just his third race. He joined Williams in 1999 where his strong drives continued, scoring a number of top-three finishes when the team wasn’t at its best. In 2001 he took three victories, leading home Michael for F1’s first-ever sibling one-two in Canada. However, compared to teammate Juan Pablo Montoya, Ralf was unable to produce as consistently and although there were wins in 2002 and 2003, his performances appeared to be dropping off, which wasn’t helped when a huge accident at Indianapolis left him sidelined for several races.

When on form, Ralf could be as fast as anyone. (c) Rick Dikeman/Creative Commons
When on form, Ralf could be as fast as anyone. (c) Rick Dikeman/Creative Commons

Ralf joined Toyota for 2005 where he played a huge role in delivering the team fourth in the Constructors’ Championship its best-ever result. However, over the following seasons, Jarno Trulli comfortably developed the upper hand while Ralf not only appeared to lose his edge, but also became more prone to making errors. He was dropped at the end of 2007 and, when he couldn’t find another seat, quietly retired from F1.