Vomiting, Fainting, and Seeking Ambulance: Qatar GP Unleashed “Hell” on F1 Drivers

Recall how the drivers called the Singapore GP the hardest race of the season in terms of physicality. Well, looks like the drivers have changed their stance on the same after the 2023 Qatar Grand Prix unleashed absolute hell on them. But what exactly happened? Well, in brief, it involves vomiting, fainting, and seeking an ambulance. Let’s dive deeper and see what exactly happened.

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The pressure of driving an F1 car is already quite intense as the drivers contend with high G forces inside the car. The cockpit is essentially an oven with the fuel tank, battery pack, and engine right around the drivers. Add to this the fact that Qatar is a high-speed track with high average temperatures and humidity makes it unbearable for the drivers. So much so that Logan Sargeant had to retire from the race as he was feeling sick.


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The Williams driver, after contemplating his decision to retire for multiple laps, and struggling inside the car finally made the decision to call it a day. Sergeant was seen struggling to even get out of the car after retiring. And it wasn’t only him. Almost every driver made comments about how the race made them sick. Charles Leclerc called it the toughest race of his career whereas George Russell called it a brutal and most physical race of his life.

Esteban Ocon was arguably the one who suffered the most as he vomited inside his car just a third of the distance into the race. During the post-race interviews, Ocon said, “I had to open the visor to be able to breathe. It was hell in the car.” Lance Stroll had to go to the Ambulance straight after the race ended as he struggled to even walk in a straight line to get help. His teammate Fernando Alonso was heard saying that his seat was burning and that he needed someone to throw some water inside the car. 

However, the Qatar GP for the upcoming years is scheduled at a much later date meaning it will take place in cooler conditions. Thankfully no driver fully passed out while driving or else FIA would’ve been in deep water regarding the issue. But why exactly was this issue so prominent this year?


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FIA and Pirelli’s tire regulations for the Qatar Grand Prix made life harder for the drivers

The Qatar GP is known to be notorious on tires and the 2023 race was no different. As was seen during the Sprint race, the soft runners fell off the pace much sooner than the Medium runners. As a result of the observations and the previous history where the tires exploded late in the stint, FIA and Pirelli mandated that no set of tires be used beyond 18 laps of tire life. As a result of this, the usual tire saving went out of the window and all the drivers pushed to the limit.

via Reuters

It was almost as if every single lap in the race was a qualifying lap with the drivers pushing the limits every lap. Hence we saw the huge number of warnings and penalties relating to the track limit. Also, pushing every lap meant the already exhilarating Qatar GP was made even harder for the drivers in terms of physicality and hence we saw the drivers shattered after the race. 

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