The weekend just ended hosted the Formula 1 Qatar Grand Prix and, since Friday, one of the problems that drivers and teams have had to face has been the curbs of the Losail track.
From free practice the drivers have dealt with several damage to their cars caused by curbs: Pierre Gasly broke a front wing and gilded a tire, Charles Leclerc and Nikita Mazepin had to replace the frame after cracks caused by the curbs.
But also in the race Valtteri Bottas, Lando Norris and Williams drivers George Russell and Nicholas Latifi were slowed down by several punctures which, it is thought, were caused precisely by the curbs.
Andrew Shovlin, head of Mercedes engineering, intervened in this regard. The engineer, in fact, claims that the curbs of the track were too low, so as to incentivize the drivers to go up and, consequently, often damage their cars.
“It’s strange, because the problem is that Losail’s curbs are actually quite low, so you can easily walk over them. Only then, when you walk over them, the front wings are very low, they are very close to the ground, and they come damaged. That’s not all, because then even the tires are put under pressure from the passage on the curbs “.
“The fact is that in Losail you have to get on the curbs. If you want to be fast you have to do it. And this is a risk as we saw last weekend.”
“Like everyone else, we too have damaged wings since Friday. The wings, touching the ground at that speed, lost pieces and in fact downforce. From that day on we managed to keep the problem under control and we made sure that the pilots were cautious in a couple of points, but I think we were all more or less in the same boat. “
“It was largely about preserving your package until you got to the decisive part of qualifying. We had to make sure the cars were aerodynamically in good shape and then make the most of the package to get the best possible performance.”
Michael Masi, F1 race director, replied to Mercedes stating that the Losail curbs had nothing special but that, on the contrary, they were common parts and the same as the other tracks that host Formula 1 and MotoGP.
For example, the same type of curbs are also used at the Red Bull Ring, which has hosted the Austrian and Styrian Grand Prix in both categories over the past few seasons.
“They are standard FIA / FIM curbs, we saw them in Austria. They have always been used on that track. I think one of the factors that created the front wing problems was that all the drivers were trying to use the curbs completely to their advantage. “.
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