Mercedes approval emerges for altered Qatar GP format: ‘Bit like watching IndyCar’

Sam Cooper
Alpine mechanics with Pirelli tyres.

Pirelli updated the teams on their Qatar safety concerns.

Mercedes communications director Bradley Lord revealed he enjoyed the alterations to the Qatar Grand Prix weekend which were made due to tyre concerns.

Teams were given little warning on Saturday when the FIA, in partnership with supplier Pirelli, announced some changes to the tyre rules following some alarming test results.

Having found the tyre wore away far quicker than anticipated, the FIA enforced a rule stating that no one set of compounds can be used for more than 18 laps which led to a rather different race.

Mercedes praise FIA after ‘good spectacle’ of Qatar GP

All strategy was essentially tossed out of the window after the FIA call with tyres which can usually last over 30 laps, now being limited to no more than 18.

The result was a very busy pit lane as drivers dived in to ensure they did not receive punishment from the FIA and one man who enjoyed it was Mercedes motorsport communications director Bradley Lord.

“It was unusual wasn’t it?” he told Channel 4. “Personally I thought it was a bit like watching an IndyCar race where you know they haven’t got the fuel to get to the end.

“We saw some strategic variation and that made for good racing.

“I kept on saying on the radio ‘this is pretty entertaining’ but felt like I was tempting fate somewhat, but no, it was an exciting race. Lots of overtaking, lots of passing, lots of action in the pits. I guess people enjoy that.” recommends

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But despite his praise, Lord also thought it took away some of the “variability” with teams forced to adopt similar strategies, something Max Verstappen suggested made him dislike the ruling.

“I mean, it did take out some of the variability, we knew what was going to happen,” Lord said. “It was a bit more predictable. So we knew cars had to pit on certain laps. That’s probably what Max was referring to.

“But nonetheless, it seemed to put on a pretty good spectacle in what was, you have to be honest, pretty difficult circumstances for everyone to have taken. What could have been a pretty major concern actually turned into a good spectacle. It’s again, testament to the teams, the FIA, Pirelli and Formula 1.”

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