Verstappen and Piastri urge Pirelli caution on tyres after Qatar GP issues

Pirelli warned ahead of the Sprint Qualifying about unexpected issues with tyres for the Qatar GP.

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Oscar Piastri and Max Verstappen have called for changes to be made to Pirelli’s tyres in the future following the Qatar GP Sprint Race.

Ahead of this morning’s Sprint shootout, changes were made to the circuit following Pirelli’s discovery of cuts in the tyres after Friday’s Qualifying session.

The changes forced a hastily arranged familiarisation session to take place, delaying the start of the Sprint shootout session by 20 minutes.

“Today’s sprint, we didn’t get the best read on what the tyes are going to do with so many laps behind the safety car,” Piastri said to media after winning the Sprint Race.

“The FIA needs to be sensible going into tomorrow. If a tyre let’s go through the high-speed section [of] corners, there’s quite a lot of runoff, but it’s not a very enticing prospect. 

“It’s not ideal for anybody to be in this position, but I think it’s been at least encouraging that they’ve been willing to try things to keep us safe.

“It’d be preferable that didn’t happen in the first place, but there’s not much we can do about that now.”

Drivers need to be heard

Concerns were raised in the Sprint about the longevity of Pirelli’s soft tyres by George Russell, who asked to pit for fresh rubber after 11 laps.

Tyres haven’t been the only source of annoyance at Losail, with track limit infringements causing several drivers to have their fastest lap times deleted for running onto the vast runoff areas. 

“It’s never a good look for the sport, but let’s wait and see what [Pirelli] come up with”, Verstappen said. “Even in the sprint race, you could see a lot of degradation.

“The front tyre especially was wearing a lot, so it’s very tough around here. Of course, they already changed the two high-speed corners, which I find quite interesting. 

“But when we want to have track limits changed here and there with the white line or whatever, it’s very hard. So that’s also something for the future that we need to speak about.

“Because we need to be heard a bit more in general. Tomorrow, it’s important that safety is foremost and that we don’t get any punctures or even worse accidents.”

Ed Spencer
Ed Spencer
FIA accredited journalist
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