F1 drivers had problems with tires during the Qatar GP. Unexpectedly, the tires exploded, incl. with Valtteri Bottas or Nicholas Latifi. Pirelli did not prepare well for the competition at Losail.
Press materials / Mercedes / In the photo: Valtteri Bottas
The Qatar GP jumped into the Formula 1 calendar for the 2021 season. The track turned out to be difficult to overtake, the drivers had a lot of problems fighting for the position. The tires turned out to be an additional problem for the competitors, as they did not endure the hardships of the race well.
The first to catch was Valtteri Bottas. Shortly after driving down the pit lane, his Mercedes suffered damage to the left front tire. The Finn lost a lot of time in the boxing lap. At the end of the race, he withdrew from the competition.
– I really don’t know what happened. There was no warning, no vibration. The pace was still right. I felt the grip was fine. It just happened, commented Bottas for Sky Sports. “At first I thought the wind was getting stronger on the straight because I felt the car was slipping,” he added after a while.
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Not only in the Mercedes car there was a situation where the tires could not withstand the hardships of the race. McLaren also diagnosed Lando Norris with air coming off one of the wheels. In this situation, the young Briton was called for an additional pit-stop, but still suffered a considerable loss of time.
– On every track, you take care of your tires because they wear out a little, but you don’t expect them to suddenly lose their properties completely. It was quite dangerous for many drivers. It shouldn’t have happened, Norris was saying.
The McLaren driver was the only rider to finish in the top 10, despite tire degradation too quickly. He was more lucky, among others Fernando Alonso. He managed to finish the race by driving one pit stop.
The struggle in Qatar will not be fondly remembered by the Williams driver. They presented poorly, in addition, they were also affected by tire problems. At the end of the race, Nicholas Latifi caught a “slipper” and did not even reach the finish line, leaving the car on the track. Moments later, George Russell had to deal with a punctured wheel. However, as it turns out, Williams was aware of the trouble. “We actually predicted it before the race,” Russell said.
After such a disastrous weekend, Pirelli should take into account the danger of poorly prepared tires. On another track, such a rapid degradation could lead to a serious accident. This is a particularly sensitive topic for the FIA as there is much talk about increasing safety on the track.
The next race will be the Saudi Arabian GP. The specification of the Saudi track forces Pirelli to supply tires with a harder compound. The competition will be held on 3-5 December.
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Qatar Pirelli Formula 1 McLaren Williams Fernando Alonso Motor Racing Mercedes Valtteri Bottas GP Qatar Alpine Nicholas Latifi Lando Norris George Russell