Formula 1

Yuki Tsunoda Warns of Challenging “Floor Destroyer” Kerbs at Revamped Losail Circuit in Qatar Grand Prix

In a recent press conference, F1 driver Yuki Tsunoda voiced his concerns about the aggressive kerbs at the newly revamped Losail International Circuit in Qatar. His remarks highlighted the potential risk these kerbs pose to the current generation of ground-effect cars, drawing attention to the drastic changes made since the track’s last F1 race in 2021.

Key Takeaways:

  • Track Overhaul Concerns: The Losail International Circuit has undergone significant changes since its last F1 race, including resurfacing and revised kerbs. These modifications, while addressing past issues of punctures caused by sharp kerbs, now present a new challenge as they are perceived to be too aggressive for the current generation of F1 cars.
  • Tsunoda’s Fears: Yuki Tsunoda expressed specific concerns about the potential damage the new kerbs could cause to the cars’ floors, especially given their low ground clearance. He described the transition from the kerb to off-track areas as particularly risky, potentially leading to a “complete sliding effect.”
  • Engineering Worries: After receiving photographs of the updated track, Tsunoda and his engineering team became increasingly worried about the impact of the aggressive kerbs. The alterations were first noted during his simulator sessions, which coincided with the arrival of these revealing images.

The return of Formula 1 to Qatar this year is marked by considerable anticipation and apprehension. The Losail International Circuit, initially constructed in 2004, has not seen F1 action since 2021, and its recent overhaul is aimed at improving the racing experience. However, this has inadvertently raised concerns among drivers and teams, especially regarding the new kerbs installed around the track.

Yuki Tsunoda’s comments to the press shed light on the apprehensions faced by drivers and engineers alike. He emphasized the track’s high-speed corners and the low ground clearance of the current generation of ground-effect cars, suggesting that even a single misjudgment could result in significant damage.

Tsunoda’s statement: “It seems like they changed to the aggressive kerbs. Here is always a story with track limits, but they made even worse the kerbs because when you go over the white line, you are going to have a proper penalty – which seems like it’s going to be a high risk to damage the car. It’s the step between the kerb and off track. Driving on the kerb won’t be an issue, but once you step out from the kerbs it’s going to be like a complete sliding effect. It is not smooth at all, and especially driving here, with such high-speed corners where the car is really low, it will be hard. Even one time will be pretty costly I think.”

The concerns are not unfounded, as the track’s history with punctures in 2021 due to sharp kerbs had affected several drivers, including George Russell, Valtteri Bottas, and Nicholas Latifi. The solutions to the old problems, though well-intentioned, might have introduced a new set of challenges.

As the F1 circus returns to Qatar, all eyes will be on how drivers and teams adapt to these changes and whether the fears expressed by Tsunoda and others materialize during the race weekend. The evolving dynamics of the track and the technical advancements in F1 cars continue to make each Grand Prix a test of skill, strategy, and adaptability, keeping the sport at the edge of excitement and uncertainty.

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