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Tsunoda labels revised Qatar F1 track kerbs a “floor destroyer”

Yuki Tsunoda fears that the revamped Qatar Formula 1 track will be a "floor destroyer" this weekend thanks to new kerbs that he thinks are too aggressive.

Yuki Tsunoda, Scuderia AlphaTauri, signs an autograph

Yuki Tsunoda, Scuderia AlphaTauri, signs an autograph

Jake Grant / Motorsport Images

As part of its return to the F1 calendar following an inaugural event in 2021, Qatar race organisers have undertaken a massive overhaul of the Lusail venue.

On top of a complete resurfacing, the first time that has happened since the venue was built in 2004, all the kerbs around the track have been revised.

This was initially viewed as a positive step, because back at the 2021 Qatar Grand Prix there were a spate of problems caused by kerbs causing punctures for drivers.

In the race, Valtteri Bottas, Nicholas Latifi and George Russell all suffered high-profile punctures that post-race investigations pointed to being caused by abuse of the kerbs.

But as drivers got their first sighting of the Qatar upgrades ahead of this weekend's event, concerns have emerged that the new solution introduced could be even worse.

Tsunoda says his whole team is worried that the new kerb design is far too aggressive for the current generation of ground effect cars, which run very close to the ground so are susceptible to damage on raised surfaces.

Lusail International Circuit overview

Lusail International Circuit overview

Photo by: QMMF

Speaking on Thursday he declared that Qatar now was a “floor destroyer track.”

He added: “It seems like they changed to the aggressive kerbs.

“Here is always a story with track limits, but they made even worse the kerbs because when you go over the white line, you are going to have a proper penalty - which seems like it's going to be a high risk to damage the car.”

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Tsunoda explained that the biggest issue was the transition between the kerb and the run-off, which left the risk of a car running wide being exposed to a battering from underneath.

“It’s the step between the kerb and off track,” he said. “Driving on the kerb won’t be an issue, but once you step out from the kerbs it's going to be like a complete sliding effect.

“It is not smooth at all, and especially driving here, with such high-speed corners where the car is really low, it will be hard. Even one time will be pretty costly I think.”

Tsunoda said the first reality about the state of the kerbs emerged earlier this week, when his AlphaTauri team got photos of the revised track.

“I did the simulator on Tuesday, and the pictures arrived on that day,” he said. “The pictures were really aggressive, and all the engineers are concerned about it.”

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