The FIA has detailed on tyre situation after Pirelli’s investigation and announced changes to F1 Qatar GP weekend under safety grounds.

After a hectic Friday in F1 Qatar GP weekend, the FIA has detailed on forthcoming changes ahead after investigation undertaken by Pirelli. Post the usual checks of tyres that have done more than 20 laps after FP1 session, they found potential damage.

The analysis found ‘a separation in the sidewall between the topping compound and the carcass cords’. The cause was likely due to the high-frequency interference between the tyre sidewall and the 50mm pyramid kerbs that the drivers used.

As per Pirelli’s investigation, if the stints are longer than 20 laps, there is a chance that the tyres would suffer air loss but lower number of laps will reduce the issue. As a result of this, the FIA came up with a temporary solution to the problem.

The track limits at Turn 12-13 will be revised and for the drivers to adjust, they will hold a 10 minutes session at 16:00 local time. This will delay the start of the sprint shootout which will now start 20 minutes to the scheduled time i.e at 16:20 local time.

The FIA and Pirelli will undertake extensive checks post the sprint race and if they see problems still, they will make further changes for the Sunday’s race. They will restrict the stints to 20 laps (22 in case of used tyres in practice/qualifying). This will mean, the drivers and teams will be mandated to perform three pit stops.

Here’s the full statement from the FIA –

Following the standard analysis of tyres used during Free Practice 1 yesterday, in which tyres that have been used for approximately 20 laps are examined by Pirelli to check various safety parameters, a separation in the sidewall between the topping compound and the carcass cords on many of tyres that were checked was discovered.

It is the view of the FIA and Pirelli that a significant number of additional laps on these tyres could result in circumferential damage of the tyres with subsequent air loss, and tyres analysed with lower lap numbers showed a much-reduced extent of the issue. 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.

The following actions will be taken on safety grounds in response to this issue:

  1. Track limits at Turns 12-13 will be revised.
  2. There will be a 10-minute Practice Familiarisation Session, scheduled to start at 16:00 local time, following the revision of the track limits, to allow drivers to adjust to the changes. The Sprint Shootout will therefore start 20 minutes later than scheduled (16:20 local time).
  3. There will extensive tyre analysis following the Sprint (19 laps), to decide whether further action needs to be taken ahead of the Grand Prix.
  4. In the event the problem is still evident, we will be issuing the following directive for Sunday’s Grand Prix, on safety grounds:
    1. The tyre life parameter must not exceed 20 for new tyres used in the race. This number would rise to 22 for any used tyres fitted in the race, to account for in-out laps in qualifying.
    2. All drivers will be obliged to perform at least three tyre-change pitstops during the race.

Pirelli and the FIA will carry out extensive research and simulations in order to establish with complete confidence the reasons behind this issue, and to work on solutions to avoid it in the future.

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

Here’s how F1 Qatar GP qualifying panned out

Here’s F1 drivers on the new kerbs ahead of the weekend