Wurz Crash Tied to Rear Tyres

Alex Wurz's accident at the Paul Ricard circuit today appears to have been caused by a problem with the rear tyres of his McLaren car

Wurz Crash Tied to Rear Tyres

The Austrian test driver had a massive crash at the French circuit before lunchtime today. He was uninjured, but the car was heavily damaged and the impact had even damaged the safety barriers at the circuit beyond immediate repair. Subsequently, the teams decided to switch to a different track configuration.

Sources at the track told Autosport-Atlas initial inspection revealed the accident was caused by a problem with the two rear tyres on the MP4-20, with Toyota's Ricardo Zonta also experiencing a similar problem.

The Brazilian had a failure at the same location as Wurz, entering the Virage de la Verrerie, but Zonta was lucky to avoid a spin.

As a result, the six Michelin-shod teams decided to avoid carrying tests on Paul Ricard's long straights, as it was deemed too dangerous. The testing was then continued in the afternoon on the 2E track configuration, which excludes the circuit's two long straights.

Michelin's motorsport director Pierre Dupasquier confirmed the tyres from Wurz's car have been taken back to the company's Clairmont Ferrand factory for further inspection, but the Frenchman said it was too early to determine the cause of the failure.

"We collected the data from the circuit and the product (tyre) was taken to the factory," Dupasquier told Autosport-Atlas. "We are investigating it, but we will not know anything before next week."

Wurz's accident comes on the same day his former McLaren teammate David Coulthard raised concerns over the growing number of tyre related failures, following the regulation changes this year which require the tyre companies to produce durable sets of tyres that last for the entire race and qualifying.

"We are definitely on the edge now and in a difficult area with the potential for tyres producing problems," the Red Bull driver stated.

Coulthard yesterday also voiced concerns about the safety standards during testing, suggesting these are not up to par with the safety demands during a Grand Prix weekend.

"There is a real concern within the GPDA (GP Drivers' Association) to look at how we can go about improving safety standards in testing," said Coulthard. "We feel that there is no reason to have a distinction between when we go Grand Prix racing and when we go testing.

"The speeds are the same, the tracks are the same, but the safety standards are not."

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