Norris critical of Pirelli tyre life at Qatar Grand Prix

Jamie Woodhouse
Lando Norris looks unimpressed. Qatar, November 2021.

Lando Norris, McLaren, looks unimpressed in Qatar. November 2021.

Lando Norris made it clear that the unexpected tyre failures that he and several drivers suffered in Qatar simply “shouldn’t happen”.

Pirelli brought the C1, C2 and C3 tyre with them to the Losail International Circuit, the hardest compounds in their range to tackle the series of fast, twisting corners at this venue.

But Norris was one of four drivers who suffered a tyre blowout during the race, the others being Valtteri Bottas and the Williams duo of George Russell and Nicholas Latifi.

Norris had felt no indication that his tyre was about to let go, so was far from pleased with the compounds Pirelli provided.

Asked while speaking to the written media whether Pirelli needed a way to warn drivers over their tyres, Norris replied: “No, it just shouldn’t happen. If there’s a wall there or something, it could’ve been much more dangerous.

“You don’t expect the tyre to blow up, especially not on the hard tyre. We weren’t even that far into the stint, 20 laps or something, and the tyre should do a lot more than 20 laps.

“Every track, you look after the tyres because the tyres wear out a bit but you don’t expect it to suddenly let go completely.

“[It was] quite dangerous for a lot of people today. It shouldn’t happen.

“They should make the tyres better. It’s dangerous for us as drivers. We risk a lot every time and if we can’t just drive a Formula 1 car around the circuit, what can you do?

“I didn’t even do a very long stint, 20 laps, 25 laps, whatever. I should still be able to drive the circuit.”


Norris ultimately was able to recover to a points-paying position, crossing the line P9, but the same could not be said for Mercedes’ Bottas, who initially made it back to the pits and continued, but would retire later in the race.

And Bottas also did not suspect that a tyre blowout was incoming.

“I don’t know really what happened,” Bottas explained.

“There was no warning, no vibration, [the] pace was still consistent. The grip was feeling okay. It just happened.

“Initially I thought the wind was getting stronger on the main straight because I felt that the car was sideways.

“Then it was a puncture in the first corner, and obviously in the most unlucky point as well, just after the pit exit.”