Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Losail International Circuit, 2023

Verstappen doesn’t want another race of “forced pit stops” like Qatar GP

Formula 1

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Max Verstappen said Formula 1 should not adopt a special rule which was introduced for the Qatar Grand Prix, after winning the race.

The Red Bull driver scored his 14th victory of the season from pole position in today’s race at Losail International Circuit.

The FIA implemented a rule change for the race limiting every driver to a maximum of 18 laps per tyre, effectively requiring them to make three pit stops each. It was done due to concerns the tyres would fail if they were allowed to run any longer.

As drivers typically make one or two pit stops per race, the three-stop race was unusual. Verstappen said F1 should not make it the norm.

“I prefer that we can just push as long as we can on a tyre, not forced pit stops,” he said.

“We design cars to be good on tyres. Today we couldn’t optimise that fully because that’s normally our strong point. But we’ll see what we can improve in the future.”

Despite having to pit three times, Verstappen was never headed in the 57-lap encounter. However the McLaren drivers finished within six seconds of him, and Verstappen admitted he had to push harder than expected.

“I think what made the race was my first stint,” he said. “After that I could just manage my pace, making sure that the tyre was always in a good window.

“But the McLarens were quick again today, I had to push for it. It was definitely a tough race out there.”

F1’s second race in Qatar was held earlier in the year than its previous visit, and several drivers struggled with the hot conditions despite the grand prix taking place after nightfall.

Verstappen described it as “one of” the toughest races he’d ever done. “Top five, probably.”

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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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23 comments on “Verstappen doesn’t want another race of “forced pit stops” like Qatar GP”

  1. It feels like Verstappen and Formula 1 have very different views of the future.

    But what’s his alternative? WEC? With BoP and a load of sporting restrictions? That’s not that much better.

  2. Fortunately I think the rule hadn’t much impact on the racing. The soft tyres didn’t look viable, and the main noticeable impact was that the hard tyres could have been run longer, but other than that it was ok. I’m glad it didn’t have a Canada 2010-esque impact which would have given them dangerous ideas!

  3. Me neither because getting excitement & or overtaking this way is an unideal way, but such a situation could happen again someday, never say never, especially in Losail specifically.

  4. It was shambolic and as a casual fan, I was confused. It was hard to follow the length of the stints, especially when you felt some drivers pitted one or two laps later than the rule allowed to. But the raised finger to everyone involved should be – with any such rule, the teams will find a quick way of how to optimize strategies and ultimately converge them. Once novelty quickly wears off, we would be left with an absurd and totally gimmicky rule.

    1. Yeah, me and the commentators (sky sports) didn’t also understand the rules. They thought Bottas and co were on a 4 stopper after there early stop. And I thought some driver did 18 laps on there first stint, but that shouldn’t have been allowed as they did the formation lap on those as well. Or did that not count?

    2. Pironi, I think the confusion is because, as I understood it, the tyres were allowed 18 laps in total, so if you’d used it for three laps in qualifying, that counted towards the 18 lap total, if you’d run it for one installation lap in FP1, that counted to the 18 lap total. I don’t know how many, if any, new tyres were allocated to each car once they decided on this lifespan rule but I think some cars had to pit earlier because they were running older tyres.

  5. They don’t care about your thoughts Max, they have already transformed the sport into a movie show. Absolute clowns. New tyre suppliers need to return to allow the drivers to decide which tyres are more suitable. They ruined this nice track to drive for this weekend. I wished the teams could have just done a USA 2005 to show the embarrassment of Pirelli really.

  6. Today was fun. But I feel like Max made a good point in the post race questions. These cars are designed for one stop races, and thats part of what makes a three stop race. If they mandated three stops at every race, then they start designing the cars for that and im not sure its as fun.

    That being said, maybe a solution is to randomise the amount of enforced stops between races, so some races have one and others have two and three and that way they can’t pick a design direction (or if they do it’ll only work at certain races).

  7. This was terrible and too confusing. Imagine those people who just tune in and watch, probably felt confusesd as hell.

    F1 keeps digging itself lower and lower.

    1. I mean, it was just the same during the refueling era that everyone wants to go back to.

    2. How on Earth can you find this more ‘confusing’ than the usual “pit as many times as you like, whenever you like” method?

      1. Maybe because that’s what they’ve been doing for 50 years?

        1. It was was “Pit every 18 laps or less.” That’s not hard to follow.

  8. He couldn’t just coast to the end, instead he had to drive at 100% for the whole time. Imagine that, a race driver, driving at full speed, that is a first.
    Oh, wait a minute…

    1. Sure about that?
      As far as I’ve seen, only the first stint and a single lap in the last stint was done at full blast, The rest was managing the gap as usual. We’ll see once the stats & graphs are posted here

    2. as George BE said the first stint Max said was he pushing after wards he was manging untill the last 2 laps he was setting fast laps.

  9. Even if I agree, I’m kind of sick of Max thinking (or maybe actually being able) he can just hold F1 hostage to his whims on his likes and dislikes.

    1. Wow Nick, relax man. He’s simply expressing an opinion while answering a question. I don’t see any hostage taking….

  10. It was for safety. It’s not like they were just randomly trying out new rules. There was something wrong with the tires in those conditions on that track. What we got was better than calling off the race.

    1. Cameron, I think rather than saying the tytes were faulty, I think it was actually the kerbs which were somehow different at this track to other tracks, but it is Pirelli who get the bad press out of this.

      I felt the rule was quite unfair because a driver in a high-downforce setup who hit the kerbs more would get more tyre wear than someone driving a lower downforce setup and keeping it inside the white lines, but both drivers would have to pit on the same schedule. A driver taking better care of their tyres had no opportunity to turn that into an advantage by saving on a pit stop.

  11. The FIA, like pretty much the rest of the corporate world, has lost its mind.

  12. These FIA dimwit clowns moan about zero carbon emission and then force three mandatory pit stops.
    As if all of those mountains of used tyres trashed after each weekend don’t make carbon emission during manufacturing and use on the track.

    1. those mountains of used tyres

      would have been treated exactly the same regardless of whether there were 3 pit stops or any other number of pit stops.
      They all go for recycling – used or not.

      From a purely environmental point of view at the track, it’s a better option to have them smeared into the tarmac than it is to have them remain unused. They then weigh less when transported out of the venue to the recycling plant.

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