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F1 drivers must change tires at least every 18 laps at the Qatar Grand Prix over safety concerns
Formula One drivers will have to change tires at least every 18 laps in the Qatar Grand Prix
LOSAIL, Qatar (AP) — Formula One drivers will have to change tires at least every 18 laps in the Qatar Grand Prix, which should make a three-stop strategy inevitable in the 57-lap race Sunday.
The governing body, the FIA, is acting over concerns that the Pirelli tires are being damaged when cars run over the pointed “pyramid” kerbs used at the Losail circuit.
The ruling means cars will have to stop at least three times unless the race is cut short for any reason. Cars that use the same tires for more than 18 laps will be considered to be "in an unsafe condition” and reported to the stewards, the FIA said. Any laps done in earlier sessions on tires that are then re-used for the race will count toward the total.
Tires analyzed after Friday practice showed signs that their interior structure was breaking down and there were similar signs in tires used in the 19-lap sprint race Saturday, even though that race had several safety-car periods when drivers slowed down.