(Motorsport-Total.com) – A number of drivers suffered damage to cars and tires related to the curbs during the Qatar weekend. Charles Leclerc and Nikita Masepin had to change the chassis, while Pierre Gasly demolished the front wing, which led to a puncture in qualifying.
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Valtteri Bottas’ race was ruined by a puncture on lap 33
In the race on Sunday, Valtteri Bottas, Lando Norris and the Williams duo George Russell and Nicholas Latifi also suffered tire damage, which it was suspected that repeatedly driving over the curbs played a role.
According to Andrew Shovlin, Mercedes’s chief engineer, the problem was not that the curbs were too rough, but that they were too low for the Formula 1 cars. “It’s weird because the problem is that they’re actually pretty slick so you can drive over them,” he explains.
“If you drive over them, the front wings are very close to the ground and are virtually trimmed, and the tires are also hit pretty hard by the curbs.”
“If they were more aggressive it would probably be easier on the cars and the tires. But the fact that you can run them over and be the fastest means you have to do it here, and that’s the risk. “
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Formula 1 race director Michael Masi, on the other hand, sees nothing unique about the curbs in Losail, which are used in both MotoGP and Formula 1. The same curb concept was also used in the final sequence at the Red Bull Ring in Austria – without any complaints.
“It’s the standard FIA / FIM curbs that we’ve always seen in the last two corners in Austria,” he says. “I think one of the reasons (for the damage; note generally) is that the drivers tried to use everything to their advantage.”
Pirelli has launched an investigation to find out what caused the punctures in the Qatar race and will examine whether the drivers’ heavy use of the curbs was really a key factor in the punctures.
Mario Isola, Head of Motorsport at the Formula 1 tire supplier, explains: “Every small piece of debris, every curb, can cause a small amount of tire damage. And once the tire is damaged, it is no longer able to maintain the high levels of energy required get these cars on their tires. “