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Charles Leclerc

Leclerc reveals 'significant' factor in Qatar GP health drama

The Ferrari driver explains why the gruelling conditions were challenging in the race.

Leclerc Qatar
Article
To news overview © XPBimages

Charles Leclerc labelled the Qatar Grand Prix as the toughest in his F1 career after several drivers expressed concerns over the conditions.

The Ferrari driver finished fifth at the Lusail International Circuit in a race complicated by an 18-lap mandated tyre life following issues with Pirelli's tyres when analysed.

But there were bigger issues post-race when a number of drivers were noticed struggling to cope with the exhausting conditions - both Lance Stroll and Alex Albon were seen struggling to get out of their cars in parc fermé, while others went to the medical centre following the race.

"This is the toughest race I think for every driver's Formula 1 career. No exception - and I don't believe anyone that says it's not," Leclerc told media including RacingNews365.com.

"The most significant part is the fact that we had to do three stops, that meant no tyre management in the high speed and qualifying lap after qualifying lap.

"It's not even the physical preparation, it's just the dehydration is at such a level that your vision is so much worse, your height heart rate is going to the stars, and it's very difficult to control all of this.

"Maybe next year, if we find ourselves in the same situation, we'll have to discuss between us drivers."

Sargeant and track limits-dehydration.

Williams' Logan Sargeant was the only driver to retire due to the conditions and was later treated for "intense dehydration" after suffering flu-like symptoms earlier in the week.

Several others also admitted to vomiting or being close to passing out a few laps into the race, including Esteban Ocon and George Russell.

With temperatures skyrocketing inside the cockpit, Leclerc believes the lack of hydration in the intense heat was one of the key factors that affected drivers.

"I don't want to go into that too much for now, but I think it's difficult to put into words and to explain how tough it is," explained Leclerc.

"You have a lot of dehydration, you cannot drink because the drink is more like tea than anything else because it's 60-plus degrees, so it’s extremely difficult to hydrate yourself and again with the g-forces, you don’t see as well."

Track limits were adjusted on Saturday as part of the measures taken to ensure safety following Pirelli's tyre analysis but led to a number of infringements across the grid - including Leclerc.

"Also with the track limits, we are speaking about centimetres at 280kph. In qualifying when we are fresh it's [already] difficult to respect them, but then at the end of the race it’s a nightmare."

F1 2023 Qatar Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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