FORMULA One was facing a potential mutiny last night on the eve of the German Grand Prix after drivers threatened a mass boycott over the tyre problems that blighted last week’s race at Silverstone.
Stars such as Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel have vowed to abandon the track on Sunday if there is any repeat of the tyre explosions that sparked safety fears at the British Grand Prix.
The move from the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association, which is co-chaired by McLaren’s England driver Jenson Button, comes despite Pirelli providing a different model of tyre for all teams at the Nurburgring.
“The drivers of the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association wish to express their deepest concerns about the events that took place at Silverstone,” a statement said. “We trust the changes made to the tyres will have the desired results and that similar problems will not occur during the German GP weekend.
“We are ready to drive our cars to the limit, as we always do, and as it is expected by our teams, sponsors and fans.
“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 tyres endangers again the lives of drivers, marshals and fans.”
Teams will use the new Pirelli tyres, which use a Kevlar rather than steel belt, on their rear tyres this weekend, and then the 2012 model, as opposed to this year’s, from the Hungarian Grand Prix later this month.
Hamilton was among those hit by a blowout at Silverstone, where he started on pole and harboured strong claims of a second home victory, and a first anywhere with new team Mercedes. His puncture forced him to the back of the field but he recovered to finish fourth.