Subscribe

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Autosport Plus

Discover premium content
Subscribe

Pirelli: Pre-F1 events no help in preventing repeat of Qatar tyre woes

Pirelli does not think that holding international race meetings on new tracks prior to Formula 1 would prevent freak tyre dramas like happened at the Qatar Grand Prix.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB19, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W14, Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin AMR23, Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF-23, the rest of the field at the start

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB19, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W14, Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin AMR23, Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF-23, the rest of the field at the start

Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

The recent event at the revamped Losail circuit was overshadowed by tyre problems, after Pirelli discovered a microscopic separation in sidewalls following practice running.

Concerns about this issue triggering tyre failures in the race prompted an emergency response from the FIA, with it being mandated that tyres could not be used for more than 18 laps. This turned the grand prix into a minimum three-stop race.

Initial analysis suggested that the problems were caused by the tyres facing extreme punishment on specific 50mm high pyramid kerbs at the track.

These kerbs had been fitted close to the circuit edge, despite Pirelli warning back in 2021 that the design had contributed to failures at the venue’s inaugural F1 race.

The situation prompted some suggestions that the updated Qatar track should have held international level motorsport event prior to the grand prix so any problems could have come to light then.

But while this used to be a regulatory requirement for new F1 venues, that rule fell by the wayside many years ago.

Pirelli boss Mario Isola believes the unique demands of F1 – with heavy cars and high downforce – means other categories would not necessarily expose track issues beforehand.

Mario Isola, Racing Manager, Pirelli Motorsport

Mario Isola, Racing Manager, Pirelli Motorsport

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

“Each championship is different,” explained Isola. “For example, in the past, we had a few issues with GT cars, because they were cutting corners a lot more than F1.

“Maybe you could organise an international GT event, but then you don't find the same issue.

“So, I'm not sure that organising an international event is the way to fix the issue.

“I prefer to rely on simulation, and see what the output of the simulation is. It is not perfect, but I believe that we have tools that are quite accurate.

“So, if we combine the simulation, with indoor testing and working together with other experts in other areas, I'm sure that we can find solutions.”

Read Also:

While Isola believed that it would have been hard to pick up potential problems for F1 by running other categories beforehand, world champion Max Verstappen felt that something should have been trialled earlier.

“Next time that we get into a situation like this, I don't think F1 should be the first one to drive, because it looks a bit silly,” he said in Qatar.

“[In] FP1 with cars sliding around having no grip, I think it is important when we go to a track where they've put new tarmac that at least it's run in a little. That will then help a lot.

“Also, for understanding the tyres, for example, what we had now. That's why we had these forced, limited laps. So, a few things I think to learn out of this weekend as a whole.”

Be part of Autosport community

Join the conversation
Previous article F1’s COVID crisis a warning over 11th team approval, says Steiner
Next article F1 Academy to support seven F1 grands prix in 2024

Top Comments

There are no comments at the moment. Would you like to write one?

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Autosport Plus

Discover premium content
Subscribe