Serious Qatar GP concerns after vomiting, near fainting and medical centre checks

Henry Valantine
Esteban Ocon at the Qatar GP.

Esteban Ocon endured a difficult season overall at Alpine.

Multiple Formula 1 drivers have shared their concerns after a hot, humid Qatar GP saw them suffer more than usual on Sunday.

The heat at Lusail combined with the demanding track layout and need to push throughout the race, with multiple pit stops required, pushed the drivers to their physical limits on Sunday.

Esteban Ocon admitted he vomited in his helmet, while Logan Sargeant was forced to retire with “intense dehydration”, while Williams team-mate Alex Albon also went to the medical centre for treatment for “acute heat exposure.”

Multiple Formula 1 drivers found Qatar GP heat ‘honestly horrible’

Ocon took to team radio after the race to say he was vomiting from inside his helmet by lap 15, and when asked about that in the media pen afterwards, he confirmed the truth in it – and elaborated further on how tough conditions were for him.

“Yeah, by lap 15, 16 for two laps I think I was doing that and I was like, shit, sorry for swearing, but it’s gonna be a long one,” Ocon admitted to Sky F1 when asked to confirm if he had been vomiting inside his helmet.

“Managed to get that under control, just mentally tried to focus on exactly what I had to do, but I’ve never had that in the past.

“I’ve always been able to do two race distances in the car, that’s always what I’m training for but today, it’s just the hot air and how hot the engine is from behind the car.

“I don’t think we particularly see in the cockpit too well, so it must have been like 80 degrees inside the car today. I’m glad that next year we come back in December.

“I felt to a point that in the straight line I was trying to catch some air with my hands to try and guide it to the helmet, because the more I was breathing to try and just get back better into the corners, the more hot it was in the helmet.

“It was honestly horrible but, yeah, hardest ever fought points on my side, but glad that we maximised the result and P7 is a very good result for us today.”

Lando Norris: Heat concerns show Qatar calendar placing ‘shouldn’t have happened in the first place’

Formula 1 will visit Qatar in December in the 2024 season, when the weather will hopefully be cooler for the drivers as they go about their racing.

Lando Norris, who took third place on Sunday, believes the race was “dangerous” for those on the grid.

“I think today we probably found the limit,” Norris said after the race.

“I think it’s sad we had to find it this way. It’s never a nice situation to be in, you know, some people are ending up in the medical centre or passing out, things like that.

“It’s a pretty dangerous thing to have going on, but it’s not a point where you can just go ‘the drivers need to train more’ or do any of that.

“We’re in a closed car that gets extremely hot in a very physical race, and it’s frustrating I guess on TV, it probably doesn’t look very physical at all.

“But clearly when you have people who end up retiring or in such a bad state, it’s too much, for the speeds we’re doing, it is too dangerous.

“So I know that this race next year is later on in the season and it will be a lot cooler, a few months later, but it’s something that needs to be thought of and I’m sure we’ll speak about it because it kind of shouldn’t have happened in the first place.”

“When I saw the weather before coming here, I was not looking forward to it,” Max Verstappen added in the post-race press conference, sat alongside Norris.

“It’s just too warm and, like Lando said, it has nothing to do with more training or whatever.

“I think some of the guys who are struggling today, they are extremely fit, probably even fitter than me!

“But yeah, it’s just the whole day. It’s like you walk around in a sauna and also then in the night, the humidity goes up.

“The races are quite long. But it’s not the only place, there are a few places like that. Singapore is almost a two-hour race and it’s very, very warm. I think it’s also quite on the limit of what should be allowed. So there are a few things to look at but this was definitely way too hot.” recommends

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Oscar Piastri, who took second place on Sunday, believes the drivers were “lucky” in a sense that the weather was not quite as warm as it was earlier in the week, as it could have been worse for them on Sunday night.

“I’m very glad that we’re coming back later next year,” Piastri said.

“I think today has also probably been hotter and more humid than the last couple of days, so that’s not helped things.

“But you know, I think Thursday was like four or five degrees hotter than it was today. So in that sense, we’re almost a little bit lucky it wasn’t worse.

“But yeah, definitely the toughest race I’ve done and I think, obviously, we need some discussions about a lot of things from this weekend. It’s not a good situation to be in.”

Charles Leclerc reflects on ‘absolutely crazy’ conditions in Qatar GP

Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc thinks the Qatar GP was the hardest race of every driver’s career, eclipsing any outing in Singapore that the drivers face every season.

“I think it was the toughest race for all of our careers, for every single driver,” Leclerc said to Sky F1.

“[First], the heat was absolutely crazy. Second, we’ve got a lot of high-speed corners, and third, which I think is the most significant thing, is adding three stops.

“We were always thinking about tyres, that it would have been a full push race for tyres with little management, but I think we maybe underestimated that that meant we also were under so much more stress in the high-speed corners, which is not normally not the case.

“It’s difficult to put into words how difficult it was. I mean, it was twice as difficult [as] a race like Singapore in the past where it was really on the limit.”

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