As $4,700,000,000 Stakeholder Bears the Brunt of Public Anger, Ex-Ferrari Boss Exposes F1’s Dark Side

Published 10/09/2023, 11:11 AM EDT

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Remember the 2021 Qatar Grand Prix? Multiple drivers had tire failures towards the end of their stints. And how as a result F1’s tire supplier faced the brunt of the public anger as the drivers were put at risk. To prevent a repeat of 2021, Pirelli introduced a regulation specific to the 2023 Qatar GP. Safe to say, it didn’t bode well with the public. Now, the Former Ferrari boss exposes the dark side of F1 after the Qatar GP. But what is it?

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F1’s tire supplier Pirelli, along with the FIA, made the decision to restrict the number of laps done on a tire to 18 for the Qatar GP main race. This was done as the $4.7 billion tire supplier wasn’t sure if the tires would be able to take the stress past 18 laps. This resulted in a minimum of 3 stops for all the drivers, which made the strategy very much predictable. As a result, the public lashed out at Pirelli and F1. As people questioned Qatar’s presence on the F1 calendar, Peter Windsor revealed F1’s dark side behind including the Qatar GP.

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In his recent YouTube video, Peter Windsor explains how the root cause of the problem is F1’s greed to squeeze as many races in the calendar as they can as it is their main source of revenue generation. 

As per the video, Peter Windsor said, “To me this is a classic example or a classic result of F1 staging as many races as it can and squeeze it into one year as it is the main source of revenue for F1 today. And that includes going to circuits which perhaps are not absolutely up to the F1 standard that we see at other venues.” Windsor then explained how the Qatar circuit is built for the MotoGP and hence the problem with the curbs. 

Windsor went on to explain how staging as many races means revenue from TV and race promotion. Hence, one cannot blame Pirelli but the business model of F1. However, the drivers still complained about the tires provided by the supplier for the event.

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Qatar Grand Prix: The Tire Gobbler

The Qatar circuit is designed in such a way that loads of stress are put in the front left tires. As a result of the fast-flowing nature of the track, the tires are eaten away by the tarmac in a matter of laps. It was evident during the Sprint race that the Soft rubber didn’t hold up for more than a handful of laps before the drivers were sliding all over the place. 

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Post the Sprint, many drivers commented on how short the tire life for the rubber was and how the safety cars actually helped with the cause. Following the learning from the Sprint, hardly anyone opted for the soft rubber during the main race. However, with the rules requiring two compounds of tires, many went onto the hard rubber that didn’t warm up as well and had the drivers sliding all over.

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Written by:

Pranay Bhagi

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Pranay Bhagi is an F1 Content Analyst at EssentiallySports, who has always been passionate about sports and writing. With a degree from a prestigious institute, he has channeled his enthusiasm into sports journalism, particularly F1, a sport that has captivated him for over a decade. He has exemplified his passion for the sport via his 800-plus articles.
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Edited by:

Akash Pandhare

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