Formula One: Teams, FIA tackle under-fire Pirelli

SILVERSTONE, United Kingdom (AFP) - Formula One's top teams have called for next month's so-called 'Young Drivers Test' to be used as a comprehensive opportunity to test Pirelli's tyres and resolve some of the problems exposed by Sunday's blow-out marred British Grand Prix.

Champions Red Bull and challengers Ferrari both supported plans to take action immediately in the aftermath of a furious race that ended in controversy and tumult with many drivers rejecting the current tyres as 'unacceptable.'.

Ferrari team chief Stefano Domenicali said turning the young drivers test into a full-on tyre test with senior drivers was now of paramount importance after the four spectacular Pirelli punctures that wrecked Sunday's contest.

Domenicali said: "It's something that we have to work together on as an F1 world to solve. I have an idea that of course we need to discuss in the next days - that we have a test here at Silverstone that is supposed to be with young drivers.

"Considering the fact that this track is very demanding for the tyres, and we can really with Pirelli do something during these (test) days to solve this issue, I would also say use the race drivers - because this is also for them something very important.

"So I can guarantee to you that, from the team point of view, we are very open to trying to find a solution. This is something we all benefit from."

Red Bull team chief Christian Horner said: "There happens to be a test here in a few weeks. It is currently scheduled to be for young drivers, but maybe it should be open to current drivers or test drivers, who can give decent feedback that Pirelli could use on the track where they have experienced the issues they have had."

McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh was less enthusiastic because he believes that something has to be done more quickly.

"Personally I think it is too late," he said. "That was being suggested yesterday, but we have an enhanced data set now. Why do we make a big scene out of it? "We have tyres we were racing on last year that can be made, or may even exist, and surely at this point in the season that is the right thing to do."

As the F1 paddock reeled at the realisation of the scale of possible catastrophe that they narrowly missed on Sunday, F1 race director Charlie Whiting revealed he had considered stopping the race.

After Lewis Hamilton, Felipe Massa, Sergio Perez and Jean-Eric Vergne had each suffered major blow-outs, Whiting says it crossed his mind to stop the race on safety grounds.

"It was quite close to being red-flagged - it did occur to me to do that," he told reporters.

Asked if one more failure would have been enough, Whiting replied: "I'm not going to give a specific number. Obviously to clear up all that debris was putting marshals at risk, and it is not satisfactory.

"We haven't seen a failure like this before - we have seen other types of failure - and that is what has been addressed. So we need to analyse it very carefully to see if we can establish the cause." Whiting said the FIA needed answers from Pirelli about what it believes caused the incident before it could establish a way forward.

"It is too early to draw any conclusions," said Whiting.

"They have a lot of analysing to do, including the tyres that didn't fail - because maybe we will find something there that was on the verge of failing that will give us a better indicator of what happened.

"It is too early to say what will happen, so it's too early to say what needs to be done." The tyre safety issue added to the agenda of next week's Sporting Working Committee meeting that was already scheduled to take place at the Nurburgring ahead of the German Grand Prix.

Whiting believed that the tyre situation needed to move forward before then - so solutions could be put in place.

"We will be on it first thing in the morning," he said. "Pirelli have got to analyse it, to try and find the cause. We need to make decisions earlier than Wednesday."

Nico Rosberg won, but his Mercedes team-mate Hamilton took as many plaudits when he recovered from his massive tyre explosion to finish fourth.

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