Pirelli has been left perplexed by the latest Renault blowout that affected Jolyon Palmer during second practice ahead of the latest Formula 1 grand prix in Spain.
During the Chinese Grand Prix, Williams’ Felipe Massa suffered two punctures to the left-rear tire in Friday practice that were traced back to a set-up issue. Kevin Magnussen was later involved in a spectacular blowout, again to the left-rear, that was found to be as a result of a suspension failure on his Renault.
Ten minutes into FP2 in Barcelona, the left-rear blew on Palmer’s RS16 as he headed down the long main straight. In FP1, with reserve Esteban Ocon at the wheel of Palmer’s car, the right-rear tire sustained a puncture, however, that was quickly found to be due to debris in the middle of the tread.
With Palmer’s incident, though, Pirelli has revealed to Autosport there was no sign of a puncture either in the outer wall or tread, no sign of the rim cutting into the tire, no suspension issue, and Palmer felt nothing adverse with the car coming out of the final corner.
The inner wall, however, totally disappeared, and while Pirelli cannot find any holes in any of the parts it has since recovered, given the level to which it was destroyed, there are numerous areas missing. In this instance, Pirelli is not ruling out either a foreign object or a part of the car touching the inner wall and causing a puncture, but it cannot say for certain.
Renault and Pirelli are continuing to look into the matter.
After sitting out FP1 and the majority of FP2, Palmer goes into the weekend on the back foot, compounding the woes he has already encountered in what has so far been a problematic rookie campaign. After completing just 16 laps for the day, the majority of those late on when he managed to return to the track, Palmer said: “Sitting out FP1 is not ideal, but at least it’s a track I know.”
“Esteban I’m sure could have given some good feedback, but when he couldn’t even drive either it definitely makes it hard,” he said. “At least Kev had a solid day’s running so we take what we can from him. It’s definitely a good thing we got out for at least 15 minutes because it gives me a feel of the car. It was an important 15 minutes.
“After FP1 I was thinking ‘My bad luck’s out of the way’. Then I did one lap [in FP2] and I got the puncture. Maybe after today the bad luck’s finally out of the way.”