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Esteban Ocon

Ocon would 'rather be killed than retire' despite Qatar GP hell

Esteban Ocon was one of many drivers who struggled with the heat inside the cockpit during the Qatar Grand Prix.

Ocon Qatar
To news overview © XPBimages

Alpine driver Esteban Ocon has insisted “you need to kill me before I retire" after driving through "hell" at the Qatar Grand Prix.

Sweltering conditions were present in Qatar all weekend with the temperature often peaking above 35 degrees Celsius.

The intensity of the race was increased when 18-lap maximum stints per tyre compound were mandated due to concerns over the rubber's reaction to the kerbs.

With drivers able to push harder due to tyre wear being less of a concern, the continuous fast laps coupled with the heat made for difficult conditions behind the wheel.

Ocon detailed that early on in the Grand Prix he was throwing up under his helmet, while Williams driver Logan Sargeant withdrew himself from competition due to feeling so unwell.

Speaking to media including RacingNews365.com after the race, Ocon asserted that he had never experienced such detrimental conditions before.

“In Jeddah, that’s how it feels, a flat-out push from start to finish,” he said. “But I never felt something like that.

“It was so hot that I wanted to open the visor in the straight line because I had no air.

“I was trying to also guide, with my hand, some air into the helmet because the more I was breathing to try and get everything lower, the more heat was coming inside the helmet.

“It was hell in there. But next year, we're coming [later] so that should be better.”

When asked if he was tempted to retire while feeling unwell, Ocon said: “No.

“You need to kill me before I retire. It’s true.”

The FIA has opened analysis of the extreme climactic conditions with actions vowed to ensure drivers can compete safely.

F1 2023 Qatar Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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