Martin Brundle stands firm in Qatar GP row with ‘weak view’ challenged

Jamie Woodhouse
Max Verstappen, Red Bull and Oscar Piastri, McLaren, sit down after a gruelling Qatar Grand Prix.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull and Oscar Piastri, McLaren, sit down in Qatar.

Former F1 driver turned pundit Martin Brundle says the idea that drivers should not be pushed to the extreme levels seen in Qatar is “weak”.

While track limits and the Pirelli tyres were already major talking points of the race weekend, it was as the Qatar Grand Prix progressed that another issue came to light, that being the health of the drivers.

With scorching temperatures and the lack of coasting periods thanks to a mandated minimum three-stop race, drivers were pushed to their absolute limits, and perhaps too far beyond them.

Martin Brundle says this is where the drivers shown as “heroes”

Following the race several drivers were assessed at the medical centre due to the impact of the conditions on their well-being, while Logan Sargeant did not even make it to the end as he requested to retire, too ill to continue.

Esteban Ocon meanwhile revealed that he had been sick in his helmet, while Lance Stroll claimed to be drifting in and out of consciousness.

That has led to a question mark over whether things went too far in Qatar, the FIA believing so as they announced an upcoming meeting to discuss steps to ensure that no repeat of such extreme racing conditions occurs.

Brundle though does not support that way of thinking, believing that whether it is battling through extreme heat or navigating rainy conditions, this is where the drivers truly demonstrate what “heroes” they are.

“It’s races like Qatar and very rainy days which make F1 drivers look the heroes and athletes they are,” he posted on social media. “Absolutely don’t buy into the weak view we shouldn’t put them through this kind of challenge.

“Check out [Ayrton] Senna in Brazil, [Sir Jackie] Stewart at rainy Nurburgring, [Niki] Lauda post crash, etc etc.” recommends

F1 driver contracts: What is the current contract status of every driver on the 2023 grid?

Revealed: The contract status of every single race on the F1 2023 calendar

That being said, Brundle was not playing down the physical aspect of what the drivers went through, saying that from experience he knows the pain.

“Impressive to watch the F1 drivers cope with those condition in Qatar,” he wrote.

“I’ve been that hot in a Le Mans/Dayton24/F1 car, you can get delirious at the wheel, and when the adrenaline subsides and the heat soaks you just can’t get away from your own body it hurts so much.”

The drivers now have a free weekend to recover before returning to action at the Circuit of The Americas for the United States Grand Prix.

Read next – Breaking: Pirelli beat rival Bridgestone offer to land new major F1 deal