Formula One Drivers Threaten Boycott of German Grand Prix

Formula One drivers today threatened to pull out of the German Formula One Grand Prix on July 7 if there’s a recurrence of the tire blowouts that marred the British Grand Prix four days ago.

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton was leading from pole position in front of his home crowd when his left rear tire exploded on the eighth lap at Silverstone. Ferrari’s Felipe Massa and Toro Rosso’s Jean-Eric Vergne were among other drivers who had similar problems.

Supplier Pirelli & C. SpA (PC) is modifying the tire composition for the Nuerburgring race to strengthen the tires and combat the problem.

Drivers said they’re ready to pull out of the race if similar incidents occur again. The Grand Prix Drivers’ Association said its members wanted to express their “deepest concerns” about the Silverstone events, and trust that the modifications have the desired effect.

“However, the drivers have decided if similar problems should manifest themselves during the German GP, we shall immediately withdraw from the event, as this avoidable problem with the tires endangers again the lives of drivers, marshals and fans,” the GPDA said in a statement cited by the U.K.’s Press Association.

Formula One’s governing body said this week it will allow teams to test tires during a young drivers’ training session at the home of the British Grand Prix as it tries to find a solution to the blowouts.

Teams will be allowed to use more experienced drivers in the young drivers' test, held July 17-19, in order to help Pirelli improve the tires, the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile, or FIA, said.

Pirelli, Europe’s third-largest tire maker, is the sole tire supplier in Formula One.

The FIA didn’t immediately respond to a voicemail seeking comment on the drivers’ statement.

To contact the reporter on this story: Peter-Joseph Hegarty in London at phegarty@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Elser at celser@bloomberg.net

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