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F1 chief Domenicali writes to GPDA over Qatar GP concerns

Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali has written to all drivers via the GPDA to thank them for their efforts in the Qatar Grand Prix and address concerns about the extreme conditions.

Mohammed bin Sulayem, President, FIA, Stefano Domenicali, CEO, Formula 1

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

After the race, Williams duo Logan Sargeant and Alex Albon needed medical treatment, while most drivers said it was the toughest event in which they had ever competed.

The position of the race in the calendar, some six weeks earlier than 2021's inaugural Qatar GP and thus guaranteeing hotter conditions, came in for criticism.

However, the timing has already been addressed for 2024, with the event moving back to 1 December.

On the Monday after the race, the FIA noted that it had "begun an analysis into the situation in Qatar to provide recommendations for future situations of extreme weather conditions".

Domenicali subsequently wrote to GPDA chairman Alex Wurz, in essence thanking the drivers for their efforts in Qatar, and noting that they were incredible athletes.

He also explained that this season's scheduling was unavoidable and reminded them that the date has moved for next year.

It's understood that the GPDA appreciated the fast response from Domenicali and there has been ongoing dialogue between the Italian and Wurz on the subject.

The GPDA appreciated the fast response from Domenicali, and there has been ongoing dialogue between the Italian and Wurz on the subject.

Alexander Wurz

Photo by: Erik Junius

Alexander Wurz

“Stefano reached out to us very quickly after the race,” Wurz told Autosport. “As usual, and often he personally engages with the GPDA. His letter to us was of informative nature, saying that he and everyone appreciate that this was a very hard race, and he informed the drivers that the next Qatar F1 event would be at a later date.

“The FIA, after initially announcing to the media about the investigation, is also in contact with us. We have started exchanging ideas and suggestions and have a joint desire to look into the matter and debate what is a needed, with a considered and sensible approach to this matter.”

The drivers have also been in contact with each other via WhatsApp.

"Of course there was some discussion going on together, and also with the GPDA," said Alfa Romeo's Zhou Guanyu. "A lot of drivers obviously putting some complaints, and also some advice for going forward.

"I think the race was added to the calendar very late. And then for that kind of time of the year, it's going be bad.

"We're lucky everybody is safe or healthy enough to race this weekend, because it was a tough Sunday, especially in the drivers' room, everyone was lying on the floor trying to cool the body system down. So that was a pretty terrifying moment for everyone."

Guanyu Zhou, Alfa Romeo

Photo by: Alfa Romeo

Guanyu Zhou, Alfa Romeo

Asked how long it took to recover, he said: "I think two or three days, you don't feel tired, but you just feel like mentally a little bit destroyed after that race.

"Also you're pushing as well. I think also was this tyre regulation change on Sunday, that made a big difference as well, because normally you are looking after your tyres, so you're not really pushing 100% the whole race, because you can't with the Pirelli tyres.

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"We will be obviously sending some feedback, of course, to F1 about it. We have letters already sent by FOM, but I just feel like these situations are better to be avoided.

"I mean, it's not like we can't do it. I'm happy to do something again. But I think it just put people at risk with, let's say, no rewarding reasons."

Regarding the communication from Domenicali, he added: "The letter just says thanks for our patience in Sunday's race, because it was tough. Nothing special, but it'll be under discussion, that's for sure."

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