The FIA together with Pirelli has mandated 3-stop for F1 Qatar GP after analysis and investigation post the sprint race.

After Pirelli discovered potential danger to tyres post the practice session in F1 Qatar GP weekend, they held a special 10 minutes session on Saturday before the sprint qualifying for drivers to adjust to the changes made at Turn 12-13-14.

This was down to the pyramid kerbs which were affected the tyre sidewall leading to possible air loss. The initial investigation by Pirelli and the FIA limited the stints to 20 laps pending on how the sprint event would go on Saturday evening.

Although the sprint event was hampered by safety car periods but the FIA and Pirelli stuck to their guns and have limited the stints to 18 laps for the grand prix later on. They haven’t mandated 3-stops, but 18 laps will naturally mean that there will be minimum 3-stops.

If teams don’t do it, there will be consequences as the FIA states. If drivers go beyond the 18 laps, there will be consequences too. For the used sets, the governing body will convey the exact number of laps to the teams which they will have to follow.

Here’s the full statement –

Due to the frequency of Safety Car interventions in yesterday’s Sprint, the tyre data available for analysis by Pirelli was insufficient to add to that already undertaken following previous track sessions. In some cases, tyres that were analysed from the Sprint did show the initial onset of the separation in the sidewall between the topping compound and the carcass cords of the tyres.

As was the case in Free Practice 1, this issue has likely been caused by the high-frequency interference between the tyre sidewall and the 50mm ‘pyramid’ kerbs used extensively at this circuit, aggravated by the propensity to ride those kerbs. As a consequence, it has been decided by the FIA and Pirelli and after consultation with the teams on safety grounds, the following measures will be implemented for today’s Qatar Grand Prix: 

  • A mandatory limit of 18 laps of total tyre life per set will be imposed.
  • The life of already used tyres will be taken into consideration.
  • The FIA and Pirelli will communicate to the teams the remaining available laps for each set of used tyres at their disposal for the race and the criteria used to calculate that number.
  • There is no direct mandate for at least three tyre-change pitstops during the race, however this will be a consequence of the above guidelines should the race run its entire race distance.
  • Any car deemed to have exceeded the tyre life lap limit will be reported to the Stewards as being run in an unsafe condition.
  • This information will be formally communicated to the teams in the Race Directors’ notes and further updates issued as required.

Here’s the number of sets that teams have per driver –

Here’s what was said after Saturday in F1 Qatar GP

UPDATE: Pirelli has shared the number of laps left for the used sets that the drivers have.