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Qatar Grand Prix 2023

FIA to analyse Qatar F1 health scares; potential action revealed

A number of drivers struggled in the heat and humidity of the Qatar Grand Prix.

Norris Qatar Sprintrace
To news overview © RN365/Michael Potts

The FIA has begun analysis into the situation that led to a number of drivers struggling to cope with the physical demands of the Qatar Grand Prix.

Driver welfare was brought into question during a 'torturous' 57-lap event at the Lusail International Circuit, where a three-stop race was mandated after safety concerns were raised by Pirelli and the sport's governing body over tyre life.

This, added to 32-degree Celsius air temperatures and the natural heating from the mechanical components of an F1 car, led to cockpit temperatures surpassing 60 degrees.

Esteban Ocon confirmed he vomited in his crash helmet early in the race, Logan Sargeant retired through illness, Lance Stroll and George Russell both stated they were fighting against fainting and a number of drivers were seen lifting their visor during pit stops and on the main straight to try and find cooling air.

Possible action

In response, a statement from the FIA said: "The FIA notes with concern that the extreme temperature and humidity during the 2023 FIA Formula 1 Qatar Grand Prix had an impact on the wellbeing of the drivers.

"While being elite athletes, they should not be expected to compete under conditions that could jeopardise their health or safety.

"The safe operation of the cars is, at all times, the responsibility of the Competitors, however as with other matters relating to safety such as circuit infrastructure and car safety requirements, the FIA will take all reasonable measures to establish and communicate acceptable parameters in which Competitions are held.

"As such, the FIA has begun an analysis into the situation in Qatar to provide recommendations for future situations of extreme weather conditions.

"It should be noted that while next year’s edition of the Qatar Grand Prix is scheduled later in the year, when temperatures are expected to be lower, the FIA prefers to take material action now to avoid a repeat of this scenario.

"A number of measures will be discussed at the upcoming medical commission meeting in Paris.

"Measures may include guidance for competitors, research into modifications for more efficient airflow in the cockpit, and recommendations for changes to the calendar to align with acceptable climatic conditions, amongst others.

"Research from other series, such as cross-country events in extreme climates, will be examined for potential applications to circuit events.

"The FIA’s commitment to closer cooperation between technical, safety and medical departments under the leadership of the FIA President will facilitate this process."

F1 2023 Qatar Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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