Pirelli Head of Motorsport Mario Isola has revealed the Italian
tyre manufacturer has “informed” the FIA to clean the Interlagos
track surface after punctures were found at the end of practice for
the São Paulo Grand Prix. At least two cars were forced to pit
during the weekend’s only hour of practice to change tyres after
punctures were detected on data. It is the second time in four
races that Pirelli’s tyres have come under the spotlight after
practice after the safety concerns of the Qatar Grand Prix, where
mandatory stint lengths were imposed to ward off potential
delaminations during the remainder of the Sprint weekend at the
Lusail International Circuit. But suggesting the issues in Brazil
were down to factors outside of Pirelli’s control, Isola told media
including RacingNews365.com : “We had a couple of punctures due to
debris. “We also found a couple of cuts on the tread and obviously,
we are going to inform the FIA to clean [the track]. “I believe the
problem is in the pit lane rather than on track, but we have to pay
attention because we had a couple of genuine punctures on the
tread.” Alonso ‘sandblasted’ during practice One of the drivers to
have picked up a puncture was Fernando Alonso, who was on a set of
Hard tyres during Aston Martin’s practice programme when forced to
box. Indicating there were no prior concerns over the state of the
track from a safety perspective, the team’s Performance Director
Tom McCullough explained: “We always walk the track and measure the
track to understand the grip level and state of the track. “It was
very dirty, where the rainwater has been running across the track
with the mud, you could see that as you’re going around. “We always
report back what we think to the track to the Race Director. “We
said it was dirty, we didn’t actually notice any debris like Mario
was saying, maybe in the pit lane. “But when Fernando did his first
run, the comments he had were lots of stones… he felt like he was
being sandblasted as he was driving and we could see the front wing
and the front of the car taking a hard hit. “So we subsequently
ended up with a puncture on the left rear tyre, so that curtailed
some of his running and we had to adjust the plan to suit that.”

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