Drivers Battle Extreme Heat and Health Risks at Qatar GP: F1 Faces Scrutiny Over Scheduling and Safety Concerns

230015 Scuderia Ferrari Qatar Gp 2023 Quali Report B6738d52 46fb 46d0 Aa68 5531582b4bc0
230015 Scuderia Ferrari Qatar Gp 2023 Quali Report B6738d52 46fb 46d0 Aa68 5531582b4bc0

Formula 1 has some questions to ask itself after the swelteringly-hot Qatar GP.

Even as he arrived at the Middle Eastern venue on Thursday, Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz said he thought the sport had made a mistake by travelling to Qatar in the desert location’s hot season.

“I know there is a different date next year, but yes (it was a scheduling mistake),” he told Spanish reporters on Thursday.

World champion Max Verstappen agreed: “Before the trip I looked at the temperatures and to be honest, I wasn’t looking forward to it.”

Their prophecies came home to roost on Sunday, where many drivers actually fell ill as they pushed harder for the mandatory three-stop strategies as the result of another F1 faux pas – the tyre-destroying kerbs.

Qatar has just been totally refurbished – and Formula 1 was the guinea pig.

“The new asphalt was still sweating out all the oils,” said Verstappen, “so we looked a little stupid as a sport because we were just sliding around on the first day.

“Maybe there are things that should be considered for the future.”

Rookie Logan Sargeant actually retired from the race on Sunday due to severe dehydration, while Lance Stroll got straight out of his Aston Martin and staggered to an ambulance as he suffered from vision problems.

“The body just couldn’t cool down,” Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas told Viaplay. “It felt like being in a sauna that you couldn’t get out of.”

George Russell was seen driving without hands as he desperately tried to cool his body on the straights, while Esteban Ocon admitted to vomiting in his helmet twice.

“I had to open the visor to be able to breathe. It was hell in the car,” said the Frenchman.

Charles Leclerc added: “This was a step over the limit.

“If conditions like this happen again, we’ll have to come up with something.”

Lando Norris said after finishing on the podium: “It was too hot and much too dangerous. It’s something we need to speak about.

“It’s sad we had to find out this way.”

However, the FIA has already dealt with the scheduling issue as next year’s Qatar GP is set to take place in December – with the hot season over.

But for this year, “It’s something that should have been thought of. It shouldn’t have happened in the first place,” said Norris.

Oscar Piastri, second behind Max Verstappen, thinks Formula 1 actually got away with a situation that could have actually been much worse.

“I think Thursday was like four or five degrees hotter than it was today,” said the McLaren driver. “So in that sense, we’re almost a little bit lucky it wasn’t worse.

“Obviously we need some discussions – I think about a lot of things from this weekend.”

Want to save this information for later?

More in News

F1 Grand Prix Of Bahrain

Opinions Split Over F1 Points Change Proposal

Opinions are already divided, as Formula 1 stakeholders gear up ...
240029 Scuderia Ferrari Chinese Gp Friday Eebf5f0a 5c9d 4370 Bfb8 A9cdc6f45f01

Ferrari Set For Big-Money F1 Title Sponsor Deal?

Ahead of Lewis Hamilton's arrival at Ferrari, the fabled Italian ...
Lando Norris, Mclaren F1 Team, On The Grid

Upgrades Keep McLaren On A Charge To Beating Red Bull

After Lando Norris chased his friend Max Verstappen to the ...
SHANGHAI, CHINA - APRIL 21: Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (1) Oracle Red Bull Racing RB20 leads the field into turn one at the start during the F1 Grand Prix of China at Shanghai International Circuit on April 21, 2024 in Shanghai, China. (Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images ) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool // SI202404210206 // Usage for editorial use only //

F1 Considering Controversial Points System Changes

Formula 1 is on the cusp of what would almost ...

Trending on F1 Chronicle