F1 must ‘define boundaries’ to protect drivers – Vowles

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Williams Team Principal James Vowles has insisted boundaries must
be defined to protect driver safety after a strenuous Qatar Grand
Prix. Rookie Logan Sargeant was forced to retire for the
Grove-based outfit after suffering with dehydration, despite
attempting to race through his difficulties. Alpine's Esteban Ocon
vomited in his helmet early in the race whilst Aston Martin's Lance
Stroll was one of a number who attested to almost passing out
behind the wheel at high speed. The FIA and will work together
to examine and potentially introduce measures against the effects
of extreme climactic conditions, as revealed by a statement in the
week following the event. Addressing Sargeant's condition, Vowles
explained: “He was ill the week prior and ill a little bit leading
up to Friday. “That weakened his immune system and sufficiently so
that he was very easily dehydrated. “The circumstances in Qatar
were very different. The rule brought in for safety meant a
three-stop was incredibly easy to do on the tyres, so the drivers
were pushing flat out from start to finish. “It really was four
sprint races just flat out from start to finish – that was
different and unusual to drivers. “There are elements of this we
need to understand and as a sport, do better. “They have a drinks
system on board, it is only a couple of litres and it is not
terribly cool when you are 20 or 30 laps into the race, so there
are probably elements that we can help with. “But we are a sport
pushing elite athletes to the absolute limit, so what we need to do
now is define boundaries to make sure they get to the end safely.”
Miscalculation Despite the difficulties experienced by drivers, the
ambient temperatures and humidity at the Lusail International
Circuit were far from excessive compared to other events, leading
to a miscalculation by Williams. “Before the season, we highlight
the tracks that are going to be difficult from a physical
perspective for the drivers,” said Vowles. “Of that list, Miami and
Singapore were at the top level of it – they are sort of in the
mid-30s, low-30s in terms of ambient temperature and in Miami, with
the sunlight at the track there is a higher temperature. “There is
high humidity as well which means the body isn't able to cool
itself efficiently. “But Qatar wasn't there as one of those tracks
– that obviously is wrong in hindsight. It was the most difficult
track bar none for the drivers.”

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