Mercedes’ “bizarre” reason for wanting more aggressive Qatar kerbs
Ian Parkes & Ewan Gale
Mercedes director of trackside engineering Andrew Shovlin has surprisingly suggested more aggressive kerbing at the Losail International Circuit would have protected cars across the Qatar Grand Prix weekend.
The kerbs caused multiple issues throughout the weekend as two chassis were damaged, wings also suffered and there were four tyre failures in the race.
One of those to suffer a puncture was Valtteri Bottas, with his eventual retirement from the damage sustained as he limped back to the pits a dent in Mercedes’ hopes of securing another constructors’ title.
Despite criticism of the aggressive nature of the kerbs, Shovlin believes they needed to be harsher.
“It is strange because the issue is that they are actually quite smooth, therefore you can run all over them,” explained Shovlin.
“When you run all over them, the front wings are very close to the ground and they are being clipped, the tyres are getting hit pretty hard by them.
“In a bizarre way, if they were more aggressive it was probably going to be easier for the car and the tyres.
“But it is the fact that you can get on them, and the quickest thing is to get on them as well. If it is the fastest thing you have got to do it and therein lies the risk.”
On how much damage the kerbs caused, Shovlin added: “We had a bit like everyone on Friday, clipping off bits of the front wing [that were] getting hit. At the kind of speed you are doing, they just get wiped off and they are gone.
“We managed to get that under control. We were having to tell the drivers to be cautious in a couple of areas but I think everyone was in more or less the same boat.
“A lot of it is preserving your stock until you get into those final bits of qualifying, making sure the car was aerodynamically in good shape and then you can actually deliver the pace that is in the package.”
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November 23, 2021 at 06:15PM