For the last leg of the final triple-header of the 2021 season, Formula One will this weekend visit the Losail International Circuit for the first ever Qatar Grand Prix, presenting Pirelli with a brand new challenge.
The whole paddock enters somewhat of an unknown atmosphere going into this weekend, with only simulation data available for the circuit. The data shows that the circuit is very demanding with lots of high speed corners and quick direction changes, putting the tyres under enormous stress. For these reasons Pirelli have brought their hardest range of tyres for the fifth and final time this season, the C1, C2 and C3 compounds.
With the main straight being over a kilometre long and with the added factor of sixteen corners in quick succession, tyre wear is expected to be very high this weekend, opening the door to a number of strategies. The race will also be held under the floodlights meaning there is a strong chance of a big drop-off in track temperature, clearly a number of variables for the teams to consider this weekend.
There is no support races this weekend either so the track will be slippery on the opening day, especially as the circuit hasn’t been used recently resulting in a possibly dusty surface.
Nevertheless Pirelli’s Head of F1 and Car Racing Mario Isola, is very excited for the sports first visit to Qatar, where there is much to be discovered.
“Qatar will provide a thrilling new challenge at a unique venue with its own special character, so we’re very much looking forward to our first visit. Coming to a new circuit isn’t a novel experience for us though, and we rely on simulation data as well as track information that we collect in advance to select the nomination that will be used.
“We haven’t had the chance to measure the roughness of the asphalt with our instruments but the promoter provided us with very useful information on the asphalt characteristics. From what we can see, the hardest tyres in the range will be well-suited to Losail, due to the quite abrasive asphalt and the very demanding corners. But as we’ve never actually raced there before, we’ll only get a true picture of how the tyres really work on this circuit once we arrive.”