Sebastian Vettel has called Formula 1 tyre supplier Pirelli’s performance “unacceptable” after a blowout on his Ferrari cost him third in the Belgian Grand Prix.
Ferrari was attempting a unique one-stop strategy in the Spa F1 race, with Vettel changing from softs to mediums on lap 14 and then running to the finish on lap 43.
He was fending off Romain Grosjean for third place on the penultimate lap when his right rear tyre gave way on the Kemmel Straight.
A furious Vettel said he could have been badly injured had the tyre blown at Eau Rouge.
“Things like that are not allowed to happen,” he told the BBC.
“If it happened 200 metres earlier, I’m not standing here now, I’d be stuck in Eau Rouge.
“I don’t know what else needs to happen.
“I tell you what’s upsetting. What’s upsetting for one thing is the result. We deserved to finish on the podium.
“The other thing, like I said, if this happens earlier…
“[Tyres are] a theme that keeps coming around, that nobody is mentioning, but is unacceptable.”
Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg had a tyre blow approaching Blanchimont during Friday practice.
Although Pirelli said that failure was due to an external cut in the tyre rather than a structural failure, Rosberg remained sceptical.
Vettel said he shared his countryman’s concerns.
“What was the answer [from Pirelli]? The same as every time: ‘yeah, well there was a cut, debris, there might be something wrong with the bodywork, the driver went wide’,” said Vettel.
“If Nico tells us he didn’t go off the track, then he didn’t go off the track.
“Why should he lie to us?
“It’s the same with me, I didn’t go off the track, just out of the blue the tyre explodes.
“If this happened earlier then I’m f****d.
“It’s probably not as bad as it was at Silverstone some years ago [when Pirelli had a spate of failures in 2013] but it’s not acceptable.”