FIA have announced an investigation will be held into racing in extreme climatic conditions, following a series of incidents in 2023 Qatar Grand Prix.
A chaotic Qatar GP saw drivers limited to a maximum 18-lap stint on each set of tyres which forced everyone to push hard on every lap, in-turn limiting the opportunity to lift and coast to manage tyres especially in scorching weather conditions at night.
Williams’ Logan Sargeant consequently was forced to retire on Lap 40 due to becoming ill from the intense heat, whilst his teammate – Alex Albon needed treatment as did Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll.
McLaren’s Oscar Piastri who finished second meanwhile needed a lie-down in the cool-down room ahead of the podium ceremony, such was the brutal impact of the heat upon the bodies of every drivers except Lewis Hamilton who spun out on the opening lap.
Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz meanwhile was forced to watch the race from his garage after a fuel system issue prevented him from participating in the race.
Organisers subsequently came in for criticism from media, fans and race drivers across other motorsport categories, having allowed the race to take place in early October in hot temperatures.
FIA have since noted ‘with concern that the extreme temperature and humidity during the 2023 FIA Formula 1 Qatar Grand Prix had an impact on the wellbeing of the drivers.’
Many fans consider F1 drivers to be ‘elite athletes’ which the FIA agreed with but admitted that they ‘should not be expected to compete under conditions that could jeopardise their health or safety.’
FIA also acknowledged that whilst ‘safe operation of the car is, at all times, the responsibility of the Competitors,’ they should of considered ‘car safety requirements’ in regard to temperature and have vowed to ‘take all reasonable measures to establish and communicate acceptable parameters’ for racing.
As part of understanding the ‘acceptable parameters’, the FIA have launched an investigation into the race conditions, with view of gaining ‘recommendations’ for future events held in extreme weather conditions.
Next year’s Qatar GP is set for 1 December with temperatures expected to be lower but the FIA believes that this investigation is necessary, in order to avoid any ‘repeat of this scenario’ at any race event.
The FIA are set to hold a medical commission in coming weeks and will discuss measures which can be implemented, from driver guidance to researching modfications to improve ‘efficient airflow in the cockpit’ alongside calendar tweaks to permit races in ‘acceptable climatic conditions’.