Formula 1 fans have expressed concern for the wellbeing and safety of drivers as reports emerged of the aftermath of the all too extreme 2023 Qatar Grand Prix.
A number of drivers needed medical attention for either dehydration or heat exhaustion after a race at the Lusail International Circuit run in high temperatures and humidity.
Alpine’s Esteban Ocon vomited into his helmet on only the 15th lap of the floodlit race, while Williams driver Logan Sargaent retired from the race as a result of severe dehydration.
Fellow Williams driver Alex Albon was taken to the medical centre and treated for acute heat exposure, and has since been cleared by the medical team. Meanwhile, Lance Stroll swapped out his Aston Martin for an ambulance in order to receive treatment for dehydration.
Many drivers have been vocal of the difficulties faced during and after the race, which was held in 31 degree heat, with high levels of humidity and many demanding corners. The conditions were so tough that a decision was made to limit the length of stints between laps to just 18 laps, but this only made matters worse as drivers pushed themselves to or over their own limit.
Mercedes driver George Russell said: “It was an absolutely brutal race, by far the most physical I have ever experienced. I felt close to fainting.” If a driver fainted in a car exceeding speeds of 340km/h, many would question why the Qatar GP had not already been cancelled, yet the race remains on the F1 calendar until 2032, courtesy of a 10 year-long contract worth over 55 million dollars.
Monaco’s own Charles Leclerc has joined several drivers in expressing relief that the Qatar race has been scheduled for six weeks later next season, with a race day on Sunday, December 3, but added “Even that I don’t know if it’s enough. It was at the limit of being on the dangerous side in the last few laps.”
Featured image courtesy of @ScuderiaFerrari on X, Charles Leclerc on a blistering Lusail Circuit