Kerbs the cause of Qatar punctures, Pirelli find

Finley Crebolder
Nicholas Latifi picking up a puncture. Qatar November 2021

Nicholas Latifi picking up a puncture. Qatar November 2021

Pirelli have stated that the kerbs at Losail International Circuit were to blame for the four tyre failures suffered at the Qatar Grand Prix.

Chaos ensued in the closing stages of the first Formula 1 race to take place in Qatar with four drivers who were trying to execute one-stop strategies picking up punctures on their front-left tyres.

Valtteri Bottas was the first to do so, with his medium compound failing on Lap 33, while Lando Norris, George Russell and Nicholas Latifi then suffered the same fate before the end of the race, with the Canadian and Bottas being forced to retire as a result.

The punctures were a huge surprise, with the tyres feeling generally fine to the drivers and looking good to last to the end of the race according to team data shortly before they failed.

Pirelli took all four tyres back to their base in Italy afterwards and have now stated that their investigations found that the high usage of kerbs was the primary cause of the issues and that were no production problems or defects with the tyres.

“The ongoing analysis that Pirelli is carrying out on the tyres of the cars that suffered deflations during the Qatar Grand Prix has provided some initial conclusions that exclude any production defects,” a statement from the Italian company reads.

“Based on the findings obtained so far, the origin of the problem is mainly due to the amount of time these tyres were run on the kerbs, at high speed and with considerable lateral and vertical loads: a situation unique to the Losail circuit.

“The heavy demand caused by running over these kerbs, which isn’t possible to measure from the data available before the race, damaged the tyre construction and led to a loss of pressure in the internal sidewall, which consequently caused the structure to collapse after several seconds.

“Pirelli has shared all the technical details of the analysis carried out so far with the FIA and the teams.”


Such findings are backed up by the fact that Fernando Alonso was able to successfully pull off a one-stop strategy to take P3, making his second set last to the end of the race after being told by his team to avoid kerbs in the closing stages.

The Spaniard wasn’t the only driver to only pit once and not pick up a puncture either, with several others also doing so.