How Pirelli Tire Directive Changed the Pace of the F1 Qatar Grand Prix

Jackson Wheeler
3 Min Read

It is not often that everyone goes into a Formula 1 race effectively knowing everyone else’s usually super-secretive strategies.

That’s pretty much what happened after a pre-race directive from tire supplier Pirelli meant drivers in Sunday’s F1 Qatar Grand Prix that was won by Max Verstappen were not permitted to exceed 18 laps on a single set of tires, effectively turning the 57-lap encounter into a mandatory three-stop race.

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Pirelli Tire boss Mario Isola explains the reason for Sunday’s tire limits set by the tire maker.

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The reason was that after Friday’s on-track activity, Pirelli discovered micro tears in the sidewall—between the topping compound and the carcass cords—on several sets of tires across various cars. These were attributed to the aggressive Turn 12-13 curbs, which the drivers took at high speed and spent a prolonged period of time running across.

A remedy was implemented for Saturday’s running of the Sprint Race, moving the track limits inwards by 80 centimeters. That change were designed to keep drivers from using the curbs so much. However, several interruptions to a messy Sprint Race meant Pirelli was unable to gather meaningful data and consequently erred on the side of caution, with the FIA imposing a stint limit on all compounds.

“The committed and transparent collaboration between all of Formula 1’s stakeholders—the FIA, Formula 1, the teams and drivers—meant that there was a rapid and efficient reaction to solving a safety issue that involved us at first hand,” said Pirelli boss Mario Isola. “Today, the sport was able to put on an interesting show for the spectators with a lot of overtaking and duels, despite the limitations imposed by the FIA. In the coming weeks, we will continue to analyze the tires used this weekend to acquire as much information as possible and share that with the FIA.”

Lusail is on the calendar through at least 2032 so a long-term solution is required for all parties.

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Jackson Wheeler is a skilled editor at, specializing in automotive content. With a background in Journalism and Automotive Engineering, he combines his passion for cars with his writing expertise to deliver captivating articles. Jackson's deep knowledge of automotive technology and his racing experience make him a valuable asset to the team, providing readers with informative and engaging content.
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