Oct.11 - Gerhard Berger has rubbished the suggestion that F1's governing body needs to intervene to protect the health of the drivers in extreme heat.

Multiple drivers really struggled throughout the Qatar GP, involving vomiting in their helmets, extreme dehydration and heat exposure. George Russell said many of his rivals admitted they were "close to passing out".

In reaction, the FIA accepted some of the responsibility, admitting that despite being "elite athletes", they should "not be expected to compete under conditions that could jeopardise their health or safety".

At the forthcoming FIA medical commission meeting, various ideas will be discussed - including race scheduling, "guidance for competitors", and better cockpit ventilation.

Former F1 driver Gerhard Berger, however, who won 10 grands prix amid a long Formula 1 career in the 80s and 90s, has little sympathy.

"It was the same for us," the former Ferrari and McLaren driver told Servus TV.

"This time, the boys seem to have pushed themselves to the limit, but it's simply a question of fitness. If you're in great shape, you won't get sick."

Formula 1 drivers today are generally fitter overall than in the 80s and 90s, and Austrian Berger - now 64 - admits that his McLaren teammate Ayrton Senna was fitter than him.

"It's a fitness problem and a circulatory issue," he said when asked about the reaction of today's drivers to the extreme heat in Qatar last weekend.

"If you ask a Verstappen or a Hamilton, they don't get sick even in those temperatures. Because it's a factor that you must have on the radar if you want to win.

"For myself, I was often at the limit too, especially in the first half of my career. And I had to manage my limit. In a hot race in Adelaide I had to reduce my speed in the last few laps to avoid getting into a situation like we saw now. And I lost places as a result, of course," said Berger.

"I often felt sick because I didn't have the fitness."

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3 F1 Fan comments on “FIA Takes Action After Qatar GP Health Scare: How to Protect F1 Drivers?

  1. smokey

    The concept of heat exhaustion is not unusual in the Middle Eastern countries at certain times of the year. Hello ..... why do they always wear long, white, light materials ~ it's because of the extreme heat and humidity that is so prevalent in those countries. I mean, it's not unusual for temperatures to get into the 50's celsius in that part of the world! And racing drivers wear thick flame proof attire that retains body heat in extreme conditions. Why are we surprised that heat exhaustion happens?
    Thank you Gerhardt for your comments about your time racing, however, the F1 circus didn't do races in the Middle East in your day! Adelaide temperatures can get into the 40's celsius in summer, but doesn't usually have the high humidity that they experience in the Middle East.

    • Jere Jyrälä

      At certain times, yes, but not when F1 races usually have occurred & 50s, even if not unheard of, are still more on the unusual side & the humidity isn't usually that high in the Middle East either, like in Singapore, Florida, Malaysia, etc.
      Finally, racing suits are actually quite lightweight these days.


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