Tyre failure was a “key element” in the high-speed crash which nearly claimed the life of TV presenter Richard Hammond, the jet car’s owner said today.

Primetime Landspeed Engineering said it could not comment in advance of a Health and Safety Executive report into the causes of the September crash. But it said: “There is no question that a tyre failure was a key element in the crash which destroyed our much-pampered and historic car, which holds the Outright British Land Speed Record.

“We continue to offer our full co-operation by working alongside the HSE, together with the North Yorkshire Constabulary’s lead investigator, to establish what caused the tyre to fail.”

The company statement comes after Colin Fallows, a director, appeared to suggest earlier this week that the Top Gear presenter was to some extent to blame for the crash by “failing to adhere to the briefing”. He was quoted in The Sun as saying: “Mr Hammond had a puncture and carried on with the tyre deflated”, adding that Richard “stood on the brakes” after the blow-out.

In its statement today, Primetime Landspeed Engineering said it was “delighted” that Richard was now back on TV and appeared to be making an “outstanding recovery”. “We are delighted that Richard Hammond is back on our screens and appears to be making an outstanding recovery.

“We wish him and his family well. He is a decent man who showed promise in Vampire and we have been greatly traumatised seeing what happened to him in it.”