Race winner Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull Racing looks on in parc ferme during the F1 Grand Prix of Qatar at Lusail International Circuit on October 08, 2023 in Lusail City, Qatar. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

F1: Extreme heat and tire issues made Qatar unbearable

(GMM) Formula 1 has some questions to ask itself after the swelteringly-hot Qatar GP resulted in drivers nearly passing out.

Even as he arrived at the Middle Eastern venue on Thursday, Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz Jr. 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 tire-destroying curbs.

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.”

Esteban Ocon was throwing up in the car from heat exhaustion. Later had to lie down to cool off.
Esteban Ocon was throwing up in the car from heat exhaustion. Later had to lie down to cool off.

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.”

Alex Albon’s on-board camera showed that the Thai driver was completely exhausted and did not have any power to get out of the vehicle. In the video, it is seen that he somehow managed to stand up and get one of his feet on the ground, but Williams’ team members had to help him completely get out of the cockpit.

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.”

Social Media Auto Publish Powered By : XYZScripts.com