Conditions at the Qatar Grand Prix on Sunday were called “beyond the limit” and “too extreme” by Formula 1 drivers.
After a race in hot and humid conditions, a number of drivers needed medical help because they were either dehydrated or too tired from the heat.
Esteban Ocon, a driver for Alpine, said he had thrown up in his helmet.
George Russell, who drives a Mercedes, said, “It was by far the most physically demanding race I have ever been in.” I was about to pass out.”
Russell also said, “I’ve never been through anything like that before.”
Logan Sergeant, a Williams driver, quit because he could no longer handle the conditions.
The team said he had then been “cleared by the medical team on-site after suffering from intense dehydration during the race (having been) weakened by having flu-like symptoms earlier in the week” .
Alex Albon, the American’s teammate, was taken to the medical center and treated for being in the heat for too long. The medical team also checked him out and gave him the all-clear.
Lance Stroll of Aston Martin called an ambulance to get help for being dehydrated, and many other drivers laid down in the FIA pit after the race to try to get better.
It was more than 30C and very hot at the race, which took place on a track with a lot of fast turns.
Because of safety worries about the tires, stint lengths were limited to just 18 laps. This made things worse because drivers had to push harder than normal. Since Pirelli became the seller in 2011, the F1 grand prix have been mostly set by tire management.
Max Verstappen of Red Bull said, “These temperatures are just too extreme.” On Saturday, he won his third world title and then the grand prix.
“I wasn’t excited about the weather when I saw it before I came here.” It’s not because they need to train more; some of the guys who are having trouble are very fit, probably stronger than I am.
“During the day it feels like you’re walking around in a sauna, and at night the humidity rises.”
“But there are some places like that.” Singapore is very hot and feels like a two-hour race. It’s too hot to be allowed to stay that way. It was too hot.
Oscar Piastri placed second, and Lando Norris of McLaren came in third. Norris said, “Today we probably found the limit.” It’s too bad we had to find it that way, because some people passed out or went to the medical center. Something pretty scary.
“In this very tough race, we’re in a car that gets very hot. While watching on TV, it probably doesn’t look that rough, but when people quit, it’s too much; at the speeds we’re going, it’s too dangerous. We need to talk about it since it shouldn’t have happened in the first place.
Russell said, “This race made me sick.” It was crazy hot outside. It felt like being in an oven.
“Sometimes I work out in saunas. When you push your body to its limits, it gets too hot, and you think, ‘I want to get out.'” From about lap 12, that’s how I felt.
“There were times I thought I was going to pass out.” It was hard to believe.”
Ocon said, “Between laps 15 and 16, I could not stay awake and thought, ‘This is going to be a long race.'” After that, I tried to remember that the mind is the body’s stronger part. Yes, I was able to handle that. I didn’t think the race would be that tough.
Charles Leclerc of Ferrari said, “You can’t see as well.” It’s harder to be accurate at 200 mph because your reflexes are much slower and your body is doing a lot of different things at once. Your vision is also not as good as it was at the start.
A lot of drivers, including Leclerc, were glad that the Qatar race was moved to December 1, six weeks later than planned.
“Even that, I don’t know if it’s enough,” he said. In the last few runs, it was just on the edge of being dangerous.
“After the race, we had time to rest, and it was clear that a lot of people were sick.”
“We will have to regroup and speak abut it to anticipate these things a bit.”