A loophole has been discovered in the new sprint format regulations for Formula 1 regarding the usage of tyres in the shootout, as reported by F1 Initiative. While drivers are required to use one set of new medium tyres in SQ1, another new set of mediums in SQ2, and then a set of new softs in SQ3, the rules as published leave a loophole that means teams don’t have to save tyres if they prefer to use them earlier in the weekend. This means that some teams may use up their “soft” tyres earlier in the weekend as a strategic move.
McLaren driver Lando Norris progressed through the qualifying with the help of the last set of new softs tyre, which his team used in the final run in Q3 helping him take seventh place for Sunday’s Grand Prix grid. However, this means that he will not be able to participate in SQ3 on Saturday. AlphaTauri driver Yuki Tsunoda is in the same position as Norris, having used all of his soft tyres. Both AlphaTauri drivers used an extra set of soft tyres in FP1 to be better prepared for the later qualifying session.
Tsunoda stressed that tyres were a key element of his performance, and that warming them up was difficult.