Motor racing-McLaren wants more transparency on cause of Baku tyre failures


FILE PHOTO: Formula One F1 - Azerbaijan Grand Prix - Baku City Circuit, Baku, Azerbaijan - June 6, 2021 Red Bull's Max Verstappen kicks the wheel of his car after crashing out of the race REUTERS/Anton Vaganov

(Reuters) - McLaren said Formula One tyre supplier Pirelli's products were safe on Friday and called for more transparency from the governing FIA on the exact cause of high-speed failures at this month's Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

Red Bull's world championship leader Max Verstappen and Aston Martin's Lance Stroll both suffered blowouts during the June 6 race in Baku, fortunately without injury. Verstappen's cost the Dutchman a race win.

Pirelli has indicated both teams were running the tyres on lower pressures than expected, while respecting the manufacturer's starting parameters and not doing anything illegal.

Lower tyre pressures bring more grip and increased performance.

A technical directive (TD) has been issued ahead of this weekend's French Grand Prix with the minimum tyre pressures boosted.

"It was a very interesting sequence of events this week with the TD coming out and seeing the carefully chosen words in the press releases and in the statements from all parties involved," said McLaren team boss Andreas Seidl.

"What is a bit disappointing for us is that there is not more transparency in what actually happened because it was a safety-critical topic, what happened there in Baku, and normally in cases like that there is transparency."

Seidl said the regulations had been clear before Baku and there was a reason why Pirelli issued teams with minimum tyre pressures.

Asked what specifically he needed to know, Seidl said a lot of assumptions had been made about what actually happened.

"There's a lot of criticism up in the air also towards Pirelli but in the end that's not something we would support from our side because I think Pirelli has produced a safe product for this year," he added.

"In Baku, if you were running the car within the regulations and following the prescriptions from Pirelli there was no issue with the tyres."

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin in London; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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