The Qatar Grand Prix will include maximum stint lengths of 18 laps to ensure tire integrity after concerns over curb strikes on Friday.

Small damage was identified during Friday practice that was judged to have been caused by the severe edge of exit curbs at circuit corners, and the amount of time cars run on them at high speed. While there were no failures, Pirelli noticed the initial signs in tires that had completed around 20 laps, so changed the track limits to try and keep them off the edges of curbs at Turn 12 and Turn 13.

As the Sprint was an interrupted race with multiple Safety Car interventions, Pirelli felt it didn’t have enough data to be certain the problem has been removed, and in some cases, tires that were analyzed from the Sprint did show the initial onset of the separation in the sidewall between the topping compound and the carcass cords of the tires.

As a result, the FIA and Pirelli has agreed with the teams that it will mandate an 18-lap maximum tire stint for new tires for the race.

Used tires will be taken into account based on how many laps were completed at high speeds rather than cool downs, in and out laps in qualifying and Safety Car laps, and their permitted life communicated to each team by the FIA and Pirelli. Any car deemed to have exceeded the tire life lap limit will be reported to the stewards as being run in an unsafe condition.

While the stint lengths will lead to all teams needing to make at least three stops if the race runs its full distance under green flag conditions, the potential for interruptions, reduced laps and lapped cars means a three-stop race has not been directly mandated.