Nico Rosberg of the Mercedes Formula 1 racing team spun his car from a tire failure at speed on the main straight during tire testing in Bahrain on Thursday, December 19. The information was posted to the Formula 1 website later in the day. After the incident, tire manufacturer Pirelli assured teams that the safety of their tires for the upcoming season is "not in question."
Beginning on Tuesday, four F1 teams conducted three days of tire testing with Pirelli in an FIA-approved exercise at Bahrain International Circuit in Sakir. The teams included Mercedes as well as Red Bull, Ferrari, and Toro Rosso, according to Formula 1.
On Thursday, Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg experienced a tire failure while driving at speed down the main straight at the home of the Bahrain Grand Prix. According to Pirelli, this should not concern the teams or fans.
Pirelli noted, "The tyre tests in Bahrain regarded a number of prototypes, which were completely innovative in terms of structure and compounds, with the aim of developing the most suitable solutions for the next season."
"This morning Nico Rosberg’s Mercedes was fitted with one of these prototypes," Pirelli continued, "a tyre which had only been tested in the laboratory and which will not be proposed again. Thus, the safety of the tyres which will be supplied for the next championship is not in question."
While Mr. Rosberg's car did not strike anything, and he was not hurt in the incident, damage to the car resulted in Mercedes ending their testing early.
Pirelli will investigate and report its finding to the FIA, according to F1.
Though he was not injured, both the BBC and AutoWeek reported that Rosberg may have tweeted that he soiled himself during the failure. His tweet did not appear on his Twitter account Thursday evening, but it reportedly read, "just spun at full speed 320 km/h on bahrain straight cause my tyre blew up without warning. thanks to that need to get some toilet paper now.." AutoWeek suggested the deletion may have been made at the request of either Pirelli or Mercedes, or both.
Tire failures were a worrying problem for drivers and teams during part of the 2013 season after several blow-outs occurred during races. Pirelli is attempting to address the issue in addition to preparing suitable compounds for the new V6 Formula 1 cars that will be driven in the 2014 season.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Connie Ann Kirk, Ph.D. has been credentialed by the FIA to write about Formula 1. With a historic racer from upstate New York, she is working on a book about racers and racing.