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Mercedes point to major improvement for Qatar GP future

The Qatar race was tough for all drivers last weekend but Mercedes doesn't expect a repeat when the sport returns next year.

Russell Qatar
To news overview © Mercedes F1

Mercedes is anticipating that the Qatar Grand Prix next year will be less extreme on drivers' bodies following the difficult outing last weekend.

Many drivers showed visible signs of distress after the race due to the high temperature they were subject to during the race.

Logan Sargeant withdrew himself from the competition due to feeling so unwell, Esteban Ocon revealed he threw up inside his helmet while Lance Stroll admitted he was passing out behind the wheel.

Drivers were able to push flat out throughout the race due to a maximum of 18 laps being allocated to each tyre compound due to concerns regarding their reaction to kerbs.

Concerns were raised after the event regarding the safety of the race, with the FIA confirming that it is conducting an analysis to avoid the situation repeating.

Next year, the Qatar Grand Prix is scheduled to take place on December 1, when temperatures are anticipated to be lower.

Mercedes' Trackside Engineering Director Andrew Shovlin believes this will help the drivers navigate the race safely.

“Fundamentally, when the air temperature is near body temperature around 36 degrees you can blow air at the driver, but it doesn’t have the same cooling effect as when the air is a bit lower,” he said.

“The added humidity also makes it very difficult for them. There were other factors as well. It's a tough circuit so lots of high g-force cornering.

“It’s very busy, lots of turns and that places a lot of physical demands on the body. With these restrictions in the stint length too, you could push the tyres as hard as you like.

“The race was really a sequence of qualifying laps for the drivers, so it was really busy. All of that combined made it probably the toughest race that any of them have ever had to do.

“Now, what is the real solution to that? Next year the race moves to December.

“That's a cooler part of the year and that's probably the biggest thing that we can do to help.”

F1 2023 Qatar Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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