F1 teams battling kerb strike fears at Qatar GP

Formula 1 teams warned drivers to stay off the kerbs at Losail circuit after several cars suffered damage in practice on Friday.

F1 teams battling kerb strike fears at Qatar GP

The most seriously affected driver was Nikita Mazepin, whose Haas chassis was damaged, obliging the Russian to miss FP2 while the spare monocoque was prepared for Saturday. Other teams had issues with floors and other carbon bodywork parts.

The FIA spec kerbs were fitted to the track as part of the upgrade programme to ready the venue for this weekend’s Qatar GP.

Haas team principal Gunther Steiner insisted that Mazepin hadn’t abused track limits, which are a major talking point this weekend.

“I would say if it would be only the floor, it would be fine,” he said. “It is the chassis, which is the problem. The floor you can replace and you can go out again. He had the chassis damage, and it's unfortunate.

“I think a few people had floor damage, we had chassis damage, and changing chassis takes a whole day, you change basically the car.

“He just went over the kerbs, wasn't offline or anything, he was within the rules, he just went over the kerbs and hit the bottom. And he said 'I could feel it because I felt it in my back as well'. We spoke with Michael [Masi], he said they are the normal FIA standard kerbs.”

Kimi Raikkonen, Alfa Romeo Racing C41

Kimi Raikkonen, Alfa Romeo Racing C41

Photo by: Charles Coates / Motorsport Images

Steiner said the message to his drivers was simple: “Not to go on the kerbs next time around. I think all the drivers now were careful.”

McLaren boss Andreas Seidl believes that the high speed nature of the kerb strikes contributed to the damage.

"The kerbs are quite harsh here,” said the German. “I think we have seen on several cars here in the paddock today, also on our cars, bodywork damage from running over these kerbs. So definitely something we need to keep an eye on for the rest of the weekend.

"This a fast track, and I think when you hit them, you hit them hard. Plus, obviously, it's a track that also allows you to take certain risks to go wide because it doesn't stop you completely.

“Probably drivers also take a bit more risk, which maybe causes additional additional risk to the parts.

Aston Martin was another team to suffer damage to its cars on Friday.

"Both the drivers and engineers like the track,” said Otmar Szafnauer. “Except for some of the aggressive kerbs that seem to be damaging the cars when we hit them at excessive speeds. So we had a bit of damage in FP1, which we weren't anticipating. And we really have to be careful so that we manage our spares correctly.

“Front wing damage, floor damage, mainly damaged carbon parts. I don't think we're the only ones, you saw some others [suffer] hard kerb strikes, that bit we don't like, but the circuit itself is good.

"Unfortunately, [the drivers] think there's lap time and going over the kerbs. So therein lies the conundrum! We can't jeopardise the car by being too aggressive."

Read Also:

Szafnauer said that Lance Stroll also suffered a mechanical failure that might have been due to the kerbs.

"We're unsure of the root cause, it could very well have been from going over some of the kerbs. We had a small hydraulic piece crack and leak.

"Not a big job to sort out. It's just we don't want more cracking if that's what it's about. It's not not a big job to fix. So we fixed it for FP2 pretty quickly. It looks like the part that we replaced it with didn't crack, which is good. But we're also more careful about going over the kerbs."

shares
comments

Related video

What is going on with Red Bull’s flappy F1 rear wing
Previous article

What is going on with Red Bull’s flappy F1 rear wing

Next article

What's behind FIA's change of focus on Qatar F1 track limits

What's behind FIA's change of focus on Qatar F1 track limits
Load comments
The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push Prime

The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push

As the driver of Formula 1’s medical car, Alan van der Merwe’s job is to wait – and hope his skills aren’t needed. James Newbold hears from F1’s lesser-known stalwart.

Formula 1
Jan 15, 2022
When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push Prime

When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push

There was an ace up the sleeve during the 1983 F1 title-winning season of Nelson Piquet and Brabham. It made a frontrunning car invincible for the last three races to see off Renault's Alain Prost and secure the combination's second world title in three years

Formula 1
Jan 13, 2022
How “abysmal” reliability blunted Brabham’s first winner Prime

How “abysmal” reliability blunted Brabham’s first winner

Brabham’s first world championship race-winning car was held back by unreliable Climax engines – or so its creators believed, as STUART CODLING explains

Formula 1
Jan 10, 2022
The steps Norris took to reach a new level in the 2021 F1 season Prime

The steps Norris took to reach a new level in the 2021 F1 season

Lando Norris came of age as a grand prix driver in 2021. McLaren’s young ace is no longer an apprentice or a quietly capable number two – he’s proved himself a potential winner in the top flight and, as Stuart Codling finds out, he’s ready to stake his claim to greatness…

Formula 1
Jan 9, 2022
How Fangio set the bar for Schumacher and Hamilton in F1 Prime

How Fangio set the bar for Schumacher and Hamilton in F1

Juan Manuel Fangio, peerless on track and charming off it, established the gold standard of grand prix greatness. Nigel Roebuck recalls a remarkable champion.

Formula 1
Jan 8, 2022
How Russell sees his place in the Mercedes-Hamilton F1 superteam Prime

How Russell sees his place in the Mercedes-Hamilton F1 superteam

George Russell joining Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes this year gives it arguably the best line-up in Formula 1 – if it can avoid too many fireworks. After serving his apprenticeship at Williams, Russell is the man that Mercedes team believes can lead it in the post-Hamilton era, but how will he fare against the seven-time champion? Motorsport.com heard from the man himself

Formula 1
Jan 6, 2022
How F1 pulled off its second pandemic season and its 2022 implications Prime

How F1 pulled off its second pandemic season and its 2022 implications

OPINION: The Formula 1 season just gone was the second to be completed under the dreaded shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic, but in many ways it was much more ‘normal’ than 2020. Here’s the story of how the championship’s various organisers delivered a second challenging campaign, which offers a glimpse at what may be different next time around

Formula 1
Jan 5, 2022
The adapt or die mentality that will shape F1's future Prime

The adapt or die mentality that will shape F1's future

As attitudes towards the motor car and what powers it change, Formula 1 must adapt its offering. Mark Gallagher ponders the end of fossil fuels

Formula 1
Jan 3, 2022