Carlos Sainz Jnr, Ferrari, Yas Marina, 2021

Pirelli seeking changes to Yas Marina’s “aggressive” kerbs following Qatar punctures

2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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Formula 1’s official tyre supplier Pirelli is concerned the tyre failures seen in the Qatar Grand Prix could recur this weekend as a result of new kerbs installed at Yas Marina.

The venue for the final race of the season has been extensively overhauled since last year. Several faster corners have been added, and punishing exit kerbs installed in places to avoid drivers exceeding track limits.

However Pirelli’s head of motorsport Mario Isola pointed out the kerbs are similar to those used at the Losail International Circuit, where four punctures occured during the race. Pirelli attributed these punctures to the severity of the kerbs and the speed with which drivers hit them in Qatar.

Following the first day of practice at the Yas Marina circuit Isola said the track’s new kerbs are “very similar” in places to those which caused trouble in Losail. “They are not exactly the same. Especially they are quite aggressive at the exit of turn five and turn nine.”

Isola said he was “currently in discussion with the FIA to see if there is any potential solution to that.”

He stressed the severity of the kerbs was not exactly the same as what they encountered in Losail. “Clearly we have a different situation compared to Qatar. It’s a different speed, it’s a different time [spent] over the kerb. But it is, in any case, something we have to consider and we have to pay attention [to].”

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Formula 1 has shortened its Friday practice sessions from 90 minutes to 60 this year. Isola said detecting possible problems can be difficult as teams do not run close to the same stint lengths seen in races.

“As usual after free practise we collect the tyres used in the sessions, we are analysing the tyres,” he said. “The problem is that we don’t have tyres with the number of laps that is comparable to the length of a stint during the race.

“We can also increase the number of checks that we do but sometimes, like it was in Qatar, it was not possible to predict what happened on the construction of the tyre because it happened after several laps and not enough running in free practice to understand that.”

Isola is confident the FIA will be able to find a solution to the problem, but admitted he isn’t sure what it will be. “I’m not an expert on what is possible to do, if they can be replaced or if they can take them out or whatever,” he said. “I don’t know, I rely on the FIA and know what they can do.

“So that’s why I think that it’s useful to have a conversation and to highlight what we have found. I was also waiting for additional information coming from running this afternoon and then I’m sure that we can find a solution.”

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2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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13 comments on “Pirelli seeking changes to Yas Marina’s “aggressive” kerbs following Qatar punctures”

  1. The solution seems to be for the drivers to keep their cars off the curbs and on the race surface, no?

    1. Comment of the day

    2. Precisely. The first section of kerb is standard, the second is more aggressive. Don’t be too greedy and you’ll be fine.

  2. FIA biggest fear: Championship decided by tyre failure.
    FIA even biggest fear: Championship decided by penalty
    Both instances happened before, but tyre failures were a point of contention every other race – shouldve been solved by now. Given the clarity, consistency and swiftness on Marshalls/Race direction on imposing penalties, the penalty would be highly constested. Aggravated by the fact that the opposite sides on WDC lead see every encounter as either a race incident or a murder attempt.

    1. FIA biggest fear: Championship decided by tyre failure.

      I think it already has been decided with the puncture in Baku but no one remembers that apart from we “the avid fans” like Brawn defines us.

      If it happens tomorrow with millions watching around the world and with the expected bashing from the losers camp – both sides BTW are cry babies – I think it will be the final nail in the coffin for Pirelli and F1 will seriously consider switching to a more professional tyre provider sooner rather than later.

      1. Baku was not a fluke random event it was due to RB and Aston martin using dangerously low tyres pressure to gain a performance advantage.

        1. You’re right, I forgot about that.

        2. @ccpbioweapon

          They were within the guidelines, Mr Alternative Facts.

  3. Two-stopper.

    1. Nah, I’ll have another half if it’s in dirty glass

  4. So Jeddah was approved as safe by the powers that be so – and I already know this will be controversial – why can’t we put fences around all F1 tracks? No run offs. Every track requires you to stay on the circuit or you have a race ending incident. They can be removed for series (like bikes) for whom this would be too dangerous – but would certainly stop the annoying decison about which areas of the tarck can be exceeded, and which can’t.

    1. Are you for real?

  5. Remove kerbs or raise the tyres pressure. Could that benefit Mercedes? What I remember is that Red Bull were playing with low pressures in Baku against Pirelli recommendation — yeah, right there where Max tyre blew out.

    I just suspect that Christian ‘Paranoid’ Horner wouldn’t like that.

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