“Embarrassing” Qatar tyre problems “should not happen in F1” – Steiner

Formula 1

Posted on

| Written by and

Haas team principal Gunther Steiner says the tyre problems which have forced Formula 1 to revise its schedule for this weekend’s event are an embarrassment for the series.

The FIA announced on Saturday problems had been discovered with the tyres following the single hour of practice which was held yesterday.

It is imposing new track limits rules to discourage drivers from running on kerbs at two corners which it believes has contributed to the problem. The start of the sprint race qualifying session has been postponed in order to give drivers an extra 10 minutes of practice to adjust to the new rules.

Further changes are under consideration for tomorrow’s grand prix, including potentially forcing all drivers to make at least three pit stops and imposing a maximum stint length of 20 laps.

Steiner admitted the unexpected development is “a concerning thing for the future.”

“It shouldn’t happen,” he said in response to a question from RaceFans. “This should not happen in Formula 1.”

“But it has, and now we need to see how we get out of it,” he continued. “I think the good thing with this coming out, there are solutions for this race weekend but going forward, this shouldn’t happen again.”

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

“In the end it is embarrassing because this is not where we should be,” Steiner added.

This weekend’s event is Formula 1’s second visit to the Losail International Circuit, which it previously raced at in 2021. Several drivers encountered tyre failures which were blamed on the circuit’s kerbs. Since then the track has been extensively refurbished and new kerbs fitted.

Steiner said the changes to the track were supposed to prevent that problem recurring. “There was some signs already here two years ago, we had issues but they were different kerbs,” he said.

“I think they were supposed to develop some kerbs which don’t damage the tyres but apparently the kerbs we have developed they damage the tyres.”

“I didn’t speak with Pirelli yet to see what actually is happening, but I think if they found issues with the tyres that is what they need to do to make sure that we are not having a scenario like a few years ago, that you have got tyres going down which is never good,” he added.

The white line which defines the edge of the track is being repositioned at turns 12 and 13 to keep drivers away from the offending kerbs. However Steiner is concerned other parts of the high speed circuit may be inducing the problem with the tyres and further action may be necessary.

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

“At least they are proactively doing something for tomorrow and now going out changing some of the track limits that we are not going over these kerbs should help a little bit,” he said. “But I don’t know if that sorts the problem because it wasn’t clear to me.

“They are doing three corners, the track limits will be changed so we don’t go on the kerbs. But I don’t know if it is only those kerbs or other ones as well. I think they don’t know as much as they would like to know, otherwise it wouldn’t have ended up in this place.

“So I think that for safety reasons, for sure if they see any risk of having flat tyres they will have a maximum running of the tyres of 20 laps is my understanding tomorrow for the proper race.”

Bringing the F1 news from the source

RaceFans strives to bring its readers news directly from the key players in Formula 1. We are able to do this thanks in part to the generous backing of our RaceFans Supporters.

By contributing £1 per month or £12 per year (or the equivalent in other currencies) you can help cover the costs involved in producing original journalism: Travelling, writing, creating, hosting, contacting and developing.

We have been proudly supported by our readers for over 10 years. If you enjoy our independent coverage, please consider becoming a RaceFans Supporter today. As a bonus, all our Supporters can also browse the site ad-free. Sign up or find out more via the links below:

2023 Qatar Grand Prix

Browse all 2023 Qatar Grand Prix articles

Author information

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...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

19 comments on ““Embarrassing” Qatar tyre problems “should not happen in F1” – Steiner”

  1. Sure, but it’d be a much worse look if the problem was allowed to spiral out of control. We’ve seen that happen a few times which I don’t think anyone wants to repeat.

    In the situation we’re in, the FIA’s response looks decent, and hopefully it’s enough. I would imagine this puts a significant dent in Pirelli’s bid for the next F1 tender.

    1. Hopefully, as a change is needed.

      1. I’ve apologised for Pirelli enough in the past, but yeah I’d agree something has to change. I can’t see Bridgestone agreeing to a degrading tyres mandate, so hopefully that gets phased out as well.

  2. A bit like running the American team in a Russian flag, I guess.

  3. Agaib, zero concerns per se based on yesterday’s runnings, so everyone’s over-exaggerating.

    1. Exactly, how much over the top safety does F1 need? It’s almost as embarrassing as these adjustments.

    2. @jerejj you seem to be failing to take into consideration that the problems occurred when they were running for an extended stint. Due to the fact that this is a sprint weekend, the shortened practice session and enforced restrictions on tyre usage during a sprint race weekend meant that most drivers were not running long enough stints for this issue to be immediately apparent to them.

      1. Disappointing to see some here recommending playing free and loose with the safety of others.

        1. I race in more dangerous conditions than these guys. They’re literally cocooned in safety. Punctures aren’t going to injure anyone at a track like this.

          1. @Nicv T.

            I race in more dangerous conditions than these guys

            Wow! You’re my hero. You’re the guy with the 120 mph BMW right? What steps have you taken to improve safety in your “racing category”?

            They’re literally cocooned in safety

            Which parts ,if not all of, this cocoon would you like to see removed?

            Punctures aren’t going to injure anyone at a track like this.

            Good call Nostradamus all motor racing mechanical , tyre etc failures only result
            in an expected and predetermined manner with no bad outcomes.

  4. Gunther knows it’s all part of the show.
    Just put some dramatic music behind him and slap it on Netflix.

  5. Worst event possible for Max to clinch the championship.

  6. Ironically, the BBC are now reporting that Pirelli are expected to keep the tyre contract for 2025-27 (plus an option for 2028), on the same weekend those Pirelli tyres are quite literally being shredded to pieces…

    1. This is probably more of a matter of: no serious tyre supplier like bridgestone or michelin is really ok with making such bad tyres (with quick degradation for example) as the fia suggests, making pirelli the only possible choice.

  7. A strange decision – I don’t see quite how this is expected to advantage Max Verstappen.

  8. Further changes are under consideration for tomorrow’s grand prix, including potentially forcing all drivers to make at least three pit stops and imposing a maximum stint length of 20 laps.

    That would be absolutely disastrous. What a joke. Maximum stint lengths??!

  9. On the only assumption that one can make – that the concerns were well founded – I think appropriate action has been and is being taken. As much as I agree with the view that it is disappointing this can even occur, the various objectives that the supplier are tasked to fulfil are numerous and often contradictory. This, coupled with the ability to actually assess tyre degradation and damage in such detail makes the fact that this can occur somewhat unsurprising really.

    Back in the day‘ one would have to wait for the failures to occur to know there is a problem.

  10. Some people downplaying this issue here in the comments seem to have forgotten about Indy ’05. I’d much rather have the FIA mandate tyre usage than a no-show of the majority of teams.

    But then I again I remember they’re driving in Qatar and they shouldn’t even be there in the first place for a variety of reasons.

Comments are closed.