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F1 regulators mandate extra cooling measures for 2024 season

The FIA are determined to avoid the health risks experienced at this year's Qatar Grand Prix

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All Formula 1 teams will be required to run extra weight for cooling equipment from next year when temperatures are deemed “extreme”.

Formula 1 drivers vomit, pass out due to heat during Qatar Grand Prix : NPR
Even race winner Max Verstappen struggled to keep himself cool during the Qatar Grand Prix (Image Credit: Getty Images)

At an emergency meeting for the F1 commission, regulators discussed possible measures for avoiding the risks to health and safety present during the 2023 Qatar Grand Prix weekend.

A scoop fitted underneath each driver’s race seat has already reached approval for the 2024 season, but there has been further developments to prevent overheating inside the cockpit.

The FIA have now revealed that they have the power to trigger an emergency declaration when conditions are considered too dangerous. This will increase the minimum legal weight of all cars, incentivising teams to provide ice vests and other cooling equipment to their drivers to withstand the heat.

FIA single-seater Director Nikolas Tombazis explained the new rules: “This will give an extra bit of weight for the cars, something like probably two kilos, which will be mandatorily put on and mandatorily used for the purpose of cooling the driver. So, that will enable solutions such as cooling vests.”

He adds that it will be against the rules to simply add ballast to other parts of the car: “We need to work out some of the details, but we want to make it clear that it’s not something that you can use for any form of dodgy advantage… It’s really for the purpose of [cooling] and it’s mandatory.”

Hot and humid Qatar Grand Prix proves dangerous for drivers’ health

The Qatar Grand Prix weekend was one of the hottest in the history of F1, with temperatures reaching close to 40 degrees Celsius.

Along with the high relative level of humidity, the sweltering conditions proved too much for some drivers. Logan Sargeant retired partway through the 57-lap event due to sickness, while Esteban Ocon for Alpine threw up inside his helmet.

Sargeant’s teammate Alexander Albon was sent to the medical centre suffering from “acute heat exposure”, and Lance Stroll revealed he was regularly passing out in the high-speed corners prevalent at the Lusail International Circuit.

Race organisers were caught by surprise at the severity and rampancy of health risks during the Qatar Grand Prix. The FIA are clearly committed to making sure these issues never arise again.

Feature Image Credit: Williams F1

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