(GMM) Formula 1 drivers reportedly boycotted a meeting with Pirelli officials at Paul Ricard, as the saga of the mysterious Baku blowouts continues.
“I understand that Max is angry,” Mario Isola, the official tire supplier’s F1 chief, said at Paul Ricard.
“But he also knows that I’m always available for questions.”
Indeed, championship leader Max Verstappen was still outwardly frustrated on Thursday about Pirelli’s shifting of blame for the tire suppliers onto Red Bull and Aston Martin.
“Our team complied with all the tire pressure requirements,” the Dutchman insisted.
“They say they have no way to monitor pressures during the race, but we gave them our data,” Verstappen added.
“If their instructions are incorrect, we can’t do anything about that. We go to the limits of course, but Pirelli can’t blame us for that.
“Just like Aston Martin, we didn’t do anything wrong.”
The other affected car at Baku was Lance Stroll’s, and his experienced teammate Sebastian Vettel said on Thursday: “We understand that there are different circumstances and scenarios in which the tires are under enormous stress.
“But the product should still be safe.”
When asked if he feels safe at 300kph-plus with the 2021 Pirellis, the quadruple world champion admitted: “I can’t answer that with a 100 percent yes or no.”
George Russell, a new Grand Prix Drivers’ Association director, admitted the F1 drivers are collectively concerned about the issue.
According to the Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf, the drivers even boycotted a scheduled meeting with Pirelli on Thursday. Isola, however, explained that it was simply decided that a presentation at the driver briefing was sufficient.
Pirelli has also increased the minimum tire pressures for Paul Ricard by 2 psi, with Isola insisting: “We can’t do much more.
“We know that teams are going to run with lower pressures, so this is the only solution.
“We haven’t said that these teams are doing something that is against the rules. But when we see that the tires worked in a certain way, this means that the teams have found a way to achieve this.
“How they did it, you’ll need to ask them.”
Red Bull’s Verstappen, however, is not buying the explanation.
“They should just say what’s going on because that would be easier to understand than the explanation we have received so far.”
Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz agrees: “I try not to ask too many questions about incidents, but while there is responsibility for the teams, I believe tires should not explode if the pressure is 1-2 PSI lower than recommended.”