The FIA has confirmed F1 teams and drivers will be mandated to complete at least three pit stops during the Qatar Grand Prix.
Pirelli analysis on Friday after free practice and qualifying showed that tyres which had been used for around 20 laps had signs of 'separation in the sidewall between the topping compound and the carcass cords'.
With the risk of blowouts increased for tyres that surpassed this stint length, changes were made to the track limits at Turns 12 and 13 as the issue was believed to have been caused by 'high-frequency interference' between the sidewall and 50mm 'pyramid' kerbs used at the circuit.
FIA Single Seater Director Nicolas Tombazis was quick to stress that these kerbs were FIA-sanctioned and were not to blame for the issue.
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After further analysis of tyres used in the 19-lap Sprint on Saturday, a race affected by three Safety Cars, it has been determined that drivers will only be permitted to run maximum stints of 18 laps during the Qatar Grand Prix or be disqualified from the event.
Whilst this has not specifically outlined mandatory three stops, the 57-lap race distance split into maximum 18-lap stints will automatically mean a minimum of three stops anyway.
A statement read: "Due to the frequency of Safety Car interventions in yesterday’s Sprint, the tyre data available for analysis by Pirelli was insufficient to add to that already undertaken following previous track sessions.
"In some cases, tyres that were analysed from the Sprint did show the initial onset of the separation in the sidewall between the topping compound and the carcass cords of the tyres.
"As was the case in Free Practice 1, this issue has likely been caused by the high-frequency interference between the tyre sidewall and the 50mm ‘pyramid’ kerbs used extensively at this circuit, aggravated by the propensity to ride those kerbs."
The following measures will be implemented by the FIA and Pirelli for the Qatar Grand Prix
- A mandatory limit of 18 laps of total tyre life per set will be imposed
- The life of already used tyres will be taken into consideration
- The FIA and Pirelli will communicate to the teams the remaining available laps for each set of used tyres at their disposal for the race and the criteria used to calculate that number
- There is no direct mandate for at least three tyre-change pit stops during the race, however this will be a consequence of the above guidelines should the race run its entire race distance.
- Any care deemed to have exceeded the tyre life lap limit will be reported to the stewards as being run in an unsafe condition