Pirelli has ruled out a structural tire failure as the cause of Sebastian Vettel's opening lap problem at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Following a detailed examination of the tire after the crash, which suffered an instantaneous deflation and put Vettel out of the race after he spun and damaged his rear suspension, Pirelli is adamant that the issue was not caused by factors under its control. In a statement issued on Wednesday, Pirelli insisted that structural failure of the tire or valve had been ruled out, and the company expressed doubt that debris was to blame, either.
Pirelli's motorsport director Paul Hembery said: "We can confirm that a structural failure was not the cause of Sebastian Vettel's deflation in Abu Dhabi, a conclusion that we have arrived at together with Red Bull Racing following a detailed examination and analysis of the remains of the tire.
"We cannot rule out debris on the track causing damage to the tire, which then provoked a deflation, but having looked at the track closely there is no direct evidence of this."
Pirelli's statement appears to suggest that Red Bull Racing itself may have contributed to the failure. There has been speculation that the tire could have failed as the result of overheating complications caused by hot exhaust gases being blown across it, although RBR boss Christian Horner dismissed that notion.