Carlos Sainz was forced to miss the start of the Qatar Grand Prix due to a fuel system issue, adding more misery to a frustrating weekend for the Spaniard. He called out the FIA earlier in the weekend over the curb change debacle.
The Spanish driver was hoping to build on a solid showing the in the sprint race, in which he crossed the line in sixth place despite being placed on the inferior strategy with soft compound tyres.
Unfortunately for Sainz, who was set to start the race from 12th on the grid after a disappointing Q2 elimination on Friday evening, he never got the chance with the fuel system in his SF-23 car springing a major leak in the build-up to the race.
As it transpired, Sainz’s issues may well have been caused by the abrasive nature of the curbs at the Lusail International Circuit. Speaking to Sky Sports F1 after the race, team principal Fred Vasseur explained: “It was when we put the petrol in that the problem appeared, not before.
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“You can say that we could have put the fuel in earlier but it doesn’t work that way. There definitely wasn’t enough time to change the tank. I honestly don’t know [why it happened], we need to investigate.
“There hasn’t been time to remove the tank yet, but probably yes [it’s due to the curbs], because the leak seems very large and therefore there is significant damage. It probably comes from yesterday’s last laps.”
If the Ferrari boss’ theory is proven true then this gives more credence to Sainz’s frustration about the way the FIA went about their changes in Qatar. He said: “There has been a resurface, a redoing of the curbs, and for some reason, the FIA persisted with this design of curbs that is killing Pirelli tyres.
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“I am not blaming Pirelli, but at the same time clearly there is something going on there. At the same time, we arrived here today in the morning, and we see the news in the press. Nobody informed us that there are going to be [changes] to track limits, and no one told us the tyres are delaminating or anything like that.
“We have to learn things from the press which is clearly not what or how things should be done. As GPDA we were not happy with the situation, and we hope that the collaboration starts getting better, because reading things from the press when safety is involved then our input should be considered, that is not good enough.”
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