F1 has questions to answer after Qatar GP

Mon, 9 October 2023, 09:00

Oct.9 (GMM) 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.”

You may also like