Qatar Grand Prix 2023: FIA enforces three stop rule for main race amid safety concerns over tyres

The FIA has confirmed F1 teams will be required to complete at least three pit stops during the Qatar Grand Prix. The decision was taken after Pirelli’s analysis on Friday after free practice and qualifying revealed that tyres, used for around 20 laps, had signs of ‘separation in the sidewall between the topping compound and the carcass cords’.

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These blowouts increased for tyres that surpassed this stint length and hence changes were made to the track limits at Turns 12 and 13. The issue was apparently caused by ‘high-frequency interference’ between the sidewall and 50mm ‘pyramid’ kerbs used at the circuit.

The statement released by FIA hasn’t outlined mandatory three stops, but the 57-lap race distance will be split into maximum 18-lap stints and create an automatic minimum of three stops anyway. The statement read: “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.

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“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.”

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