Red Bull team principal Christian Horner believes having mandated stint lengths in Formula 1 “doesn’t make sense” moving forward, after it happened in Qatar.
The move to limit stint lengths on one set of tyres to 18 laps around Lusail came as tyre suppliers Pirelli noticed microscopic issues within the tyres that could have caused potential tyre failures over longer stints.
They acted quickly to put measures in place to ensure the race could go ahead last weekend, but it also meant the drivers were forced into a minimum of three pit stops last time out.
Red Bull hope Qatar mandatory stops will not be taken forward
The shortened stints created something of a ‘sprint’ feel to the full Qatar Grand Prix last weekend, with the drivers pushed to their physical and mental limits around Lusail as they extracted as much as they could from their tyres in the available time they had.
But given that the latest laps they had to pit were prescribed, with a TV graphic showing the latest lap on which drivers had to pit next, that also took something of an element of surprise away from the race.
While the Qatar measures were put in place on safety grounds, Red Bull team principal Horner would not be a fan of it being brought in as a format tweak in Formula 1 moving forward, given the constraints it would place on the strategy teams on the pit walls.
“I think you’ve got to give the freedom and then that creates the creativity,” Horner told reporters in Qatar.
“Mandated pitstops, it will have effects on then qualifying and how many laps you do in qualifying to save cars for the race, so that to me doesn’t make sense.
“You want to run your fastest race and whether that’s a one stop, a two stop, a three stop, that’s where we need to be at.”
Horner also believes the move had an adverse effect on Sergio Perez, who started on the hard compound to look to try and make headway into the race.
But given he had to pit after 18 laps, he was unable to build the kind of offset he normally would to exploit the pace of his Red Bull later on in the race.
As a result, the team boss felt this hindered the Mexican’s recovery in the race.
“It diluted what he was capable of doing,” Horner stated.
“So we started on the hard tyre and it sort of started to bring him back into play a bit, but the stints weren’t long enough to use some of the strengths of the car.”