Pirelli have issued a statement saying that the tyre issues we saw at the Silverstone Grand Prix were due to teams swapping tyres and running them below recommended pressure, and at extreme camber angles. This, combined with sharper curbs at Silverstone. An “anything that could go wrong, went wrong” situation it seems. The manufacturer have also stated that teams will be switching back to Kevlar reinforced tyres for Germany this week.
Here’s the deal though, Pirelli hadn’t raised issue to side-to-side tyre swapping during the Canadian Grand Prix. Looking back over the season, it appears that Mercedes were the first team to trial swapping the left and right rears during the tyre testing after the Spanish Grand Prix. Mercedes seemed to get better grip and degradation from tyres, so they trialled the move in Monaco (proving successful), and more teams it seemed followed suit in Canada, and again at Silverstone.
So, here’s what strikes me as odd… Obviously Pirelli would do extensive tests during the winter break when developing the next seasons tryes, a much more thorough test than Mercedes were able to do in Spain. It’s not difficult to see that fitting tyres backwards could be dangerous at high speeds (ie. 300km/h), so why did Pirelli sit back and let the teams do it?