The Silverstone-based team suffered a high-speed tire burst with Lance Stroll at the Azerbaijani Grand Prix, a Pirelli investigation concluding that it was caused by the operating conditions of the rubber.
The suggestion is that Aston Martin’s car, as well as the Red Bull which also suffered an explosion with Max Verstappen, were running with tire pressures that weren’t as high as expected.
However, with Aston Martin clear that it followed the rules at all times and was above the minimum pressure set by Pirelli, Szafnauer says the situation needs to be reviewed to ensure there is no repetition.
“It is a real and serious problem that we have to overcome,” he said. “I think we’re lucky to only break the car and nothing else. So, we have to make sure that this does not happen again.
“We will follow the new prescriptions. We have always been within the parameters that the FIA and Pirelli have set for us. “
When asked if he was surprised Pirelli concluded that the trigger for the crash was that the pressures were not as expected, Szafnauer said: “I’m surprised that this is the conclusion.
“We followed all the prescriptions to the letter, and we were never under minimal pressure. So we had stabilized pressures, they were higher [than advised]. It’s normal. This is usually what happens.
“The pressures on the grid that were checked were above the minimum. So yes, I don’t know what their expectations were. But I imagine their expectations are for the pressure to build. But that’s exactly what happened with us.
Otmar Szafnauer, Team Principal and CEO, Aston Martin F1, on the pit wall
Photo By: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images
Szafnauer’s safety concerns stem from the fact that the GPDA has written to the FIA, F1 and Pirelli for assurances on safety.
For while the debate over who should be responsible for what happened in Baku remains unresolved, the GPDA is clear that driver safety should never be compromised in the pursuit of improved performance.
A statement from the GPDA said: “The GPDA is in constant communication with the FIA, F1 and also Pirelli, and whenever an incident and / or an accident occurs, we communicate with them and other affected parties. Therefore, after Baku, we communicated with all stakeholders about the two accidents we witnessed.
Although GPDA chairman Alex Wurz declined to elaborate on the contents of the letter, it was clear that the focus on security was essential.
“For the GPDA, this remains a high speed accident and therefore we ask the stakeholders involved to pay the utmost attention to the short and long term improvements,” he said.