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F1 drivers unhappy after ‘dangerous’ Qatar Grand Prix causes fainting and vomiting

Esteban Ocon vomited and Lance Stroll said he faded in and out of consciousness because of the extreme heat and humidity during Sunday’s race

Philip Duncan
Monday 09 October 2023 14:23 BST
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Esteban Ocon says he ‘threw up’ in his helmet during 'horrible' Qatar Grand Prix

George Russell believes Formula One went “beyond the limit of what is acceptable” by staging a Qatar Grand Prix that Lando Norris described as “too dangerous”.

Canadian driver Lance Stroll said he faded in and out of consciousness because of the extreme heat and humidity during Sunday’s 57-lap race in Lusail and was also seen stumbling towards an ambulance moments after he emerged from his Aston Martin.

London-born driver Alex Albon was treated for acute heat exposure at the on-track medical centre, while his rookie Williams team-mate Logan Sargeant was forced to park his car through illness. Alpine’s French driver Esteban Ocon also vomited during the race.

Temperatures in the drivers’ cockpits exceeded 50 degrees for a contest which lasted one hour and 28 minutes.

Russell, 25, who is director of the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association, and revealed he came close to blacking out after driving back from last to fourth following his first-corner crash with Lewis Hamilton, said: “Today was beyond the limit of what is acceptable.

“Over 50 per cent of the grid said they were feeling sick, couldn’t drive and were close to passing out.

“You don’t want to be passing out at the wheel when you are driving at 200mph, and that is how I felt at times.

“If it got any hotter I would have retired because my body was ready to give up.”

This was only the second staging of the Qatar race and the first of a 10-year deal which, in the region of £45million each season, is among the most lucrative for the sport’s American owners Liberty Media.

Esteban Ocon says he ‘threw up’ in his helmet during 'horrible' Qatar Grand Prix

Next year’s edition will be held two months later in December when it is expected to be cooler.

McLaren driver Norris, 23, who finished third, said: “We found the limit today and it is sad we had to find it this way.

“It is never a nice situation to be in when people are ending up in the medical centre or passing out.

“It is not a point where you can just say, ‘the drivers need to train more’. We are in a closed car and it gets extremely hot.

“Clearly, when you have people who end up retiring or in such a bad state it is too much. It is too dangerous.

“I know that next year this race is later on in the season, and it will be cooler, but it is still something that needs to be addressed. I am sure we will speak about it because it shouldn’t have happened in the first place.”

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