Should F1 SCRAP the Qatar Grand Prix? YOUR COMMENTS after drivers slam ‘dangerously hot’ race which saw Esteban Ocon vomit inside his helmet and Lance Stroll briefly pass out inside sweltering cockpits
- Formula One drivers slammed the Qatar Grand Prix as being ‘dangerously hot’
- Esteban Ocon vomited inside his helmet while Lance Stroll briefly passed out
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Fans have called for Formula One’s farcical Qatar Grand Prix to be scrapped after one driver briefly lost consciousness and another vomited inside his helmet amid the sweltering temperatures during the race.
George Russell and Lando Norris hit out at the event on Sunday which went ‘beyond the limit of what is acceptable’ with many drivers saying they were feeling sick and close to passing out.
Temperatures in the drivers’ cockpits exceeded 50 degrees for the 57-lap race in Lusail which lasted one hour and 28 minutes.
Canadian driver Lance Stroll said he faded in and out of consciousness because of the extreme heat and humidity during the race and was also seen stumbling towards an ambulance moments after he emerged from his Aston Martin.
Alpine’s French driver Esteban Ocon also vomited in his helmet during the race while London-born driver Alex Albon was treated for acute heat exposure at the on-track medical centre. Albon’s team-mate Logan Sargeant was forced to retire with ‘intense dehydration’.
Esteban Ocon vomited inside his helmet amid stifling conditions at the Qatar Grand Prix
Logan Sargeant was forced to retire from the race after suffering from ‘intense dehydration’ at Lusail International
Race-winner Max Verstappen cuts an exhausted figure after struggling in the heat
And the news that drivers’ health has been put at risk due to the extreme conditions has seen many of our readers call for the Gulf State race to be scrapped.
One commenter said: ‘Scrap the contract with Qatar. Driver safety should be number one priority. Imagine passing out while driving at over 300km/hr.’
Another agreed, insisting that drivers potentially passing out is not only a major safety risk for those in the cockpit but fans in attendance as well.
‘Passing out in an f1 car turns into into a 1 ton bullet travelling at 300 kmph. Its not just a danger to the driver but others including fans. Qatar should be scrapped immediately,’ they said.
One of our readers was in total agreement with Russell, as they labelled the race and the conditions as ‘ridiculous’.
Many of our readers called for the race to be scrapped following news of the driving conditions
They wrote: ‘Totally agree with George, the race is ridiculous, has to be held at night as its too hot in the day, and this was the race the FIA decided it would be a good idea to force a mandatory 3 stop in!
‘So you had a circuit with a short fast straight and endless fast corners, temperatures above 50, and a 3 stop requirement to add to all the pressure and pace. Ridiculous, scrap this track of the calendar. Look at the three winners, all in their early 20s super fit and struggled to walk after.’
One reader claimed to be in the country over the weekend and said just getting to the airport at night was ‘unbearable’.
‘I transited through Doha over the weekend. The heat at midnight was stifling and completely unbearable. Standing in a bus waiting to be taken to an aircraft was beyond belief. Why anyone would consider a Grand Prix in that country is clearly just chasing money,’ they said.
‘It beggars belief that a race was staged in such conditions. Shame on the money grabbing organisers and charlatans who think more about how rich they can get then the practicalities for those having to work and compete. So wrong on so many levels.’
Many accused Formula One of thinking about money before driver safety
Others slammed Formula One bosses for staging the race in the Gulf State in the first place, claiming it was only staged in Qatar due to money.
‘Qatar was unsuitable for the World Cup football and is also unsuitable for F1 racing. But both organizers don’t care one jot – money is the name of the game,’ one wrote, while another said: ‘F1 have sold their souls to these, just as FIFA and the PGA, EUFA will be next allowing Saudi Arabia into the champions league, they all have no principles, just greed!!!’
Following comments of drivers coming dangerously close to passing out, Mercedes driver Russell, 25, who is director of the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association, revealed he came close to blacking out after driving back from last to fourth following his first-corner crash with Lewis Hamilton, said: ‘Today was beyond the limit of what is acceptable.
‘Over 50 per cent of the grid said they were feeling sick, couldn’t drive and were close to passing out.
‘You don’t want to be passing out at the wheel when you are driving at 200mph, and that is how I felt at times.
‘If it got any hotter I would have retired because my body was ready to give up.’
One of our readers said they were out in Doha at the weekend and struggled with the heat
Others voiced their concerns over how the race could be potentially fatal given the conditions
One commenter called for the race – as well as Monaco Grand Prix – to be scrapped
Russell also compared the ‘brutal’ experience to driving in a ‘sauna’ after just 20 laps of the 57-lap race.
This was only the second staging of the Qatar Grand Prix, which was inaugurally raced in 2021 before going on hiatus in 2022 due to its clash with the country’s FIFA World Cup – that tournament already shifted from its traditional summer slot to winter in a bid to escape the suffocating heat.
In 2021, Lewis Hamilton sported a rainbow helmet in a bid to attract ‘scrutiny’ to the country’s human rights record and laws against members of the LGBTQ+ communities.
Hamilton – who has also spoken out along similar lines at grand prix in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain – also added that he was ‘aware’ that the nation was ‘trying to make (positive) steps’.
2023’s race was the first of a 10-year deal which, in the region of £45million each season, is among the most lucrative for the sport’s American owners Liberty Media.
George Russell was outspoken about the punishing heat at the Gulf state grand prix on Sunday
Next year’s edition will be held two months later in December when it is expected to be cooler.
McLaren driver Norris, 23, who finished third, said: ‘We found the limit today and it is sad we had to find it this way.
READ MORE: Formula One driver VOMITS inside his helmet during the sweltering Qatar Grand Prix with the grid subjected to farcical humidity… leaving several racers requiring medical attention
‘It is never a nice situation to be in when people are ending up in the medical centre or passing out.
‘It is not a point where you can just say, ‘the drivers need to train more’. We are in a closed car and it gets extremely hot.
‘Clearly, when you have people who end up retiring or in such a bad state it is too much. It is too dangerous.
‘I know that next year this race is later on in the season, and it will be cooler, but it is still something that needs to be addressed. I am sure we will speak about it because it shouldn’t have happened in the first place.’
The demanding nature of the track itself already tests the drivers’ limits, with multiple pitstops throughout the race, but Alpine driver Ocon called his seventh-placed finish ‘the hardest-fought points’ of his career.
The Frenchman shared how he had vomited ‘for two laps’ on laps 15 and 16, adding: ‘I’ve never had that in the past.
‘I’ve always been able to do two race distances in the car, that’s always what I’m training for but today, it’s just the hot air and how hot the engine is from behind the car.
‘I don’t think we particularly see in the cockpit too well, so it must have been like 80 degrees inside the car today. I’m glad that next year we come back in December.
McLaren driver Oscar Piastri takes time out of the stifling Qatar heat to cool down. F1 stars have described the conditions as ‘dangerous’
Russell claimed that over 50 per cent of the grid were affected badly by the humidity
‘I felt to a point that in the straight line I was trying to catch some air with my hands to try and guide it to the helmet, because the more I was breathing to try and just get back better into the corners, the more hot it was in the helmet.
‘It was honestly horrible but, yeah, hardest ever fought points on my side, but glad that we maximised the result and P7 is a very good result for us today.’
The significant instances of dehydration amongst drivers will be a concern for their teams, due to the already high amount of liquid lost during a race.
Even in mild temperatures, drivers can sweat out up to three litres, losing up to three kilograms of their bodyweight in the labour-intensive sport.
Sunday’s race was eventually won by three-time world champion Max Verstappen, who successfully clinched the defence of his title after Saturday’s sprint race.
Verstappen was vocal about how much he had dreaded taking part in the grand prix in October.
‘When I saw the weather before coming here, I was not looking forward to it,’ the Dutchman shared in the press conference after his victory. ‘It’s just too warm and, like Lando said, it has nothing to do with more training or whatever.
‘I think some of the guys who are struggling today, they are extremely fit, probably even fitter than me!
Ocon shared that he vomited inside his helmet on lap 15 in the over 40 degree heat
Third-placed British driver Lando Norris was keen to rehydrate after the race finished
Sergio Perez also looked to be feeling the heat as he mopped his brow after Sunday’s race
‘But yeah, it’s just the whole day. It’s like you walk around in a sauna and also then in the night, the humidity goes up.
‘The races are quite long. But it’s not the only place, there are a few places like that. Singapore is almost a two-hour race and it’s very, very warm. I think it’s also quite on the limit of what should be allowed. So there are a few things to look at but this was definitely way too hot.’
In October, the average temperature in the Gulf state is around 30 degrees, compared to 20 degrees in December.
Next raceweekend will see drivers travel to the comparatively cooler climes of Austin, Texas, for the United States Grand Prix.
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