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Formula 1 Qatar GP

Sainz frustrated to learn of Pirelli's Qatar F1 issues from media

Ferrari Formula 1 driver Carlos Sainz says he was frustrated to learn about Pirelli’s issues in Qatar and overnight changes to track limits at the Losail track from the media.

Charles Leclerc, Scuderia Ferrari, Carlos Sainz, Scuderia Ferrari

Late on Friday evening Pirelli discovered damage to tyres caused by kerbs, and the company informed the FIA single-seater director Nikolas Tombazis of their findings.

By Saturday morning and with more information having emerged from Pirelli’s investigation, the FIA had formulated a response.

It decided on changes to track limits at Turns 12-13, added an extra practice session to the schedule, while also making provisional plans for three mandatory stops and a maximum stint length for Sunday’s main race.

That was communicated in a letter from Tombazis to the teams that was sent just a few minutes before the media was informed via a press release.

With team personnel and drivers still in their hotels or travelling to the track, a lot of drivers found out either from the media or from WhatsApp communications with each other, before their teams had a chance to inform them.

Sainz was also frustrated that the organisers appeared not to have learned any lessons after the tyre issues experienced in F1's most recent visit to the track in 2021.

“If safety is necessary then we have to do it,” said Sainz of the changes.

“Obviously I don’t appreciate and I don’t like that we were here in 2021, and in the meantime there has been two years to react to these bad kerbs.

Carlos Sainz, Ferrari SF-23, runs over the kerb at turn 12-13 that was altered due to tyre separation

Carlos Sainz, Ferrari SF-23, runs over the kerb at turn 12-13 that was altered due to tyre separation

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

“There has been a resurface, a redoing of the kerbs, and for some reason the FIA persisted with this design of kerb that is killing Pirelli tyres.

“I am not blaming Pirelli, but at the same time clearly there is something going on there.

“At the same time we arrived here today in the morning, and we see the news in the press.

“Nobody informed us that there is going to be [changes] to track limits, and no one told us the tyres are delaminating or anything like that.”

Expanding on the communications issue, he added: “We have to learn things from the press which is clearly not what or how things should be done.

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“As GPDA we were not happy with the situation, and we hope that the collaboration starts getting better, because reading things from the press when safety is involved then our input should be considered, that is not good enough.”

Sainz was one of several drivers to use soft tyres in Saturday’s sprint, and after making a good start he eventually finished sixth.

“I have another new soft,” when asked about strategy for Sunday’s main race, given the tyre situation and the three mandated stops.

Carlos Sainz, Ferrari SF-23, passes Oscar Piastri, McLaren MCL60

Carlos Sainz, Ferrari SF-23, passes Oscar Piastri, McLaren MCL60

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

“Maybe I’ll put it on for one lap, make the start of my life, and then box!

“But at the same time tomorrow I’m on the dirty side of the grid, which today looked quite poor out there.

“Apart from that we have a new medium, new hard and two used mediums that look in a decent state.

"So every stop we have plenty of tyres, even though I strongly believe that we, with the FIA and Pirelli, [should] not risk it on the tyre delamination, because it is very fast corners here, and I wouldn’t like to see punctures tomorrow or anything like that in such a high-speed track.”

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