It is believed that these kerbs, paired with high speeds and high load between Turns 12 and 14, contributed to the problem. For safety purposes, this part of the circuit has been narrowed by 80cm and a new kerb painted on the tarmac inside of the offending kerbs.
Drivers were afforded an extra 10-minutes of track time ahead of the Sprint Shootout to familiarise themselves with the revisions, however track limits dominated the narrative in the session.
“It’s not right. I don’t know where the history of these new kerbs come from but it just came up out of the blue,” Steiner told the media in response to the FIA’s statement.
“They were supposed to develop some kerbs that don’t damage the tyres, but apparently the kerbs we have developed damage the tyres. I don’t know exactly where it comes from, these tyres I think just cannot deal it.
“It’s a concerning thing for the future. It shouldn’t happen. This should not happen in Formula One. Clearly,” he added.
“I don’t know if you want to call it embarrassing, but in the end, it is embarrassing because this is not where we should be.”
The 2023 running of the Qatar Grand Prix is only F1’s second visit to the Lusail circuit. The inaugural event hosted in 2021 saw several drivers encounter tyre failures which were largely blamed on the kerbs used at the time.
“There was some signs already here two years ago, we had issues but they were different kerbs,” the Haas team principal continued.
“I didn’t speak with Pirelli yet to see what actually is happening, but I think if they found issues with the tyres that is what they need to do to make sure that we are not having a scenario like a few years ago, that you have got tyres going down which is never good.
“At least they are proactively doing something for tomorrow and now going out changing some of the track limits so that we are not going over these kerbs should help a little bit.”
Asked whether there was any blame to apportion as a result of the revisions made to the running of the Qatar Grand Prix weekend, Steiner said: “I don’t know exactly who. I think the FIA is inspecting the race track, I think FOM is not in charge of that one. The race track… I don’t know.
“On the kerbs there is an FIA standard on kerbs so I don’t know what has gone wrong there. I don’t know all the details so maybe some of my answers aren’t correct. But the track needs to be inspected for safety reasons and tyres are a safety item on a race car.
“We have more than one racetrack that [hosts both F1 and MotoGP]. Austria, they are doing motorbike races. Silverstone, they are doing motorbikes. COTA, they did them. So I don’t think that has… I wouldn’t say nothing to do with it, but I don’t think that’s why it is.”
The FIA and Pirelli will conduct further, in-depth analysis of tyres following this evening’s 19 lap Sprint Race.
In the event that the issues persist despite the changes already introduced, the FIA has said it will issue a directive mandating a maximum stint length of 20 laps and effectively forcing a three-stop race.