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Pirelli

The unusual trait that could impact qualifying in Saudi Arabia

The landscape of qualifying in Saudi Arabia may look a little different to the usual outings that we have seen in the past.

Formula 1's qualifying session is all about setting the fastest lap with the most grip available from the Pirelli tyres - but in Saudi Arabia, that may not be the case.

Pirelli has stated that it expects some teams to be able to improve their lap times on a second push attempt in Jeddah on Friday.

F1 teams traditionally strap on fresh tyres towards the end of the session to get one final hot lap across the line.

However, indications following Thursday practice at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit hint that the behaviour of the Soft C4 compound may favour a two-lap run, with the faster lap time produced on the second attempt.

Pirelli noted that getting the tyre in a window that allows the driver to push it to its limit is proving to be difficult in Saudi Arabia.

“It seems so,” Pirelli's Chief F1 Engineer Simone Berra told media including RacingNews365 when asked if the Soft tyre could do two push laps during qualifying.

“For the C4, the thing is that it seems difficult to really extract the peak of grip in this circuit.

“It was exactly the same last year and in 2022 if you remember. You need to prepare the out lap well to have the tyres ready for a Turn 1. And sometimes it's difficult.”

However, even if the peak grip is lost for the second run, Berra highlighted that the tyre should be more stable across the lap and provide the driver with more confidence to push.

“The C4 is providing even less support in high speed because it's a softer compound that is sometimes behaving differently from one lap to another,” he added.

“So having even a tyre that has lost the peak of grip and is more stable, then it gives you the possibility to push more to have more confidence and a better lap time compared to brand new tyre.

“We expect qualifying to have some cars that are able to improve on a second attempt.”

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