FIA sets tire usage limit for Qatar GP amid safety concerns

Lawrence EdmondsonF1 EditorOctober 8, 2023, 09:35 AM ET3 minutes of reading

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If the Qatar Grand Prix runs its full 57-lap distance, each driver must make at least three pit stops after the FIA’s closed tire life of 18 laps per set for safety reasons.

The decision comes amid concerns about the integrity of Pirelli’s tires when running on the Losail circuit’s 'pyramid’ kerbs.

Analysis of the tires used for approximately 20 laps during the first practice session in Qatar revealed a separation in the sidewall between the topping compound and carcass cords as a result of „high-frequency interference” between the tire sidewall and the kerb.

Over 20 laps, particularly in the high-speed turns 12 and 13, heavy use of the curbs was thought to lead to failure during the race.

Ahead of Saturday’s sprint race sessions, the FIA ​​moved the track boundary for Turns 12 and 13 inwards, whereby a white line was drawn defining the edge of the circuit 80cm inside.

Dan Histidine – Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images

Pirelli hoped to collect more data on the issue during Saturday’s 19-lap sprint race, but the three safety car periods mean tires have a relatively easy life and are not subject to the same pressure they will face in Sunday’s Grand Prix.

Nevertheless, the FIA ​​reported that some of the sprint race’s tires showed early signs of trouble, leading to the decision to reduce tire life in the 18 laps ahead of Sunday’s grand prix as a precautionary measure.

There is no direct mandate for drivers to make a minimum of three tire changes during the race, although this will inevitably be a consequence of the guidelines if the race runs its full distance.

Any car exceeding the tire life limit will be reported to the police as unsafe.

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