The FIA has introduced extra practice sessions and implemented enhanced safety protocols for the Qatar Grand Prix weekend.


The FIA has introduced extra practice sessions and implemented enhanced safety protocols for the Qatar Grand Prix weekend.

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The FIA, the governing body of Formula 1, has made an important announcement regarding the upcoming Qatar Grand Prix. They have introduced an extra practice session along with enhanced safety measures in preparation for the Sprint Shootout event.

As part of their safety protocol, Pirelli conducts a thorough analysis of the tires that have been used for about 20 laps after the Friday practice session of each race weekend. In the case of Qatar, this analysis brought to light a concerning issue: a separation was observed in the sidewall between the topping compound and the carcass cords on a significant number of checked tires.

Both the FIA and Pirelli share the belief that subjecting these tires to a substantial number of additional laps could lead to circumferential damage, potentially resulting in air loss. It was noted that tires analyzed with fewer laps exhibited a much smaller extent of this issue.

For a detailed account of how the Qatar Grand Prix qualifying is unfolding, including Verstappen’s impressive performance, you can refer to the Friday Debrief.

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The FIA explained that the root cause of the issue likely stems from the high-frequency interference between the tire sidewall and the 50mm ‘pyramid’ kerbs, which are heavily utilized on this circuit, especially exacerbated by the tendency of drivers to ride these kerbs.

In response to this, the FIA has outlined a series of safety measures to address the concern. Specifically, revisions will be made to the track limits at Turns 12 and 13. Additionally, a supplementary 10-minute “practice familiarisation session” has been scheduled at 1600 local time, coinciding with the initial start time of the Sprint Shootout. This session aims to provide drivers with an opportunity to acclimate to the adjusted track limits.

Consequently, the Sprint Shootout will commence 20 minutes later than originally planned. Post the Sprint event, which spans 19 laps, Pirelli will conduct a thorough analysis of the tires to determine if further action is required in preparation for the main event of the weekend – the Qatar Grand Prix.

For a comprehensive overview of the key moments, including Verstappen’s pole position win, as well as Perez and Sainz’s early exits, be sure to watch the highlights.

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