Mercedes drivers confident that Pirelli will solve blowout problem
4 July, 2013
Nico Rosberg expressed confidence in Pirelli addressing tyre safety concerns on Wednesday and said Mercedes would be favourites to win in Germany this weekend.
“I’m confident that the right decisions will be taken,” Rosberg told reporters in a conference call from Stuttgart when asked about Formula 1 safety fears, with talk of a possible driver boycott, raised by a spate of high-speed rear tyre blowouts at Silverstone last weekend.
“I think they will have everything under control by Nurburgring which will be good,” the British Grand Prix winner added. “I’m very excited to drive again because our car is so good at the moment.”
Pirelli announced on Tuesday that they would bring stronger rear tyres, with a different construction, to Germany before introducing a new range for Hungary later in the month.
Team mate Lewis Hamilton, whose hopes of winning his home race disappeared with a blowout on lap eight after he had led from pole, was more cautious than Rosberg after being outspoken about the situation on Sunday.
“I think it’s still a concern and it’s still something that we need to see how it goes really,” he said. “We’ll see how the weekend goes and I’m sure that they are taking the right steps to make it safer.
“I’m satisfied, but when we get there we’ll have a better idea of how it is for us and everyone’s in the same boat,” added the 2008 world champion. “I’m glad that action has been taken.”
Hamilton had said on Sunday that the situation was unacceptable – “the first time in my career [that] I’ve ever felt it was dangerous”. He doubted at the time whether anything would be done “until someone got hurt”.
Rosberg has won two of the last three races and Mercedes, now second in the championship behind Red Bull, have been on pole five times in eight races.
“It’s going to be a bit of a learning process but I’m confident that with the car we have it doesn’t matter,” he said of the tyres. “I think in general we have a very quick car so I’m confident that we can stay where we are more or less.
“Slowly but surely we are dropping into the role of being favourites which is fantastic as such,” added the German, son of 1982 world champion Keke.
Hamilton, who has started on pole twice but has yet to win for Mercedes since his switch from McLaren at the end of last year, did not see it that way.
“I don’t think we are favourites. I think Red Bull are still the favourites. They are leading the championship but we are improving and getting closer to them,” he said.
“Nico has proved that we can win with the car so I’m sure at some stage a win will come,” he added when asked about his own chances.
Mercedes motorsport head Toto Wolff was also wary.
“On some occasions we have shown that the car has improved a lot…there will be other tracks linked to ambient temperatures and track temperatures where we are going to struggle a bit more. This is in the DNA of the car,” he said. (Reuters)