Heatwave Hits Cars and Crowd

Sweltering record temperatures up to 34 degrees Celsius, causing spectators to faint and tyres to blister, have added more uncertainty to the outcome of Sunday's European Grand Prix in the Eifel mountains

Heatwave Hits Cars and Crowd

Instead of the usual mix of weather conditions ranging from high winds to cold rain, the Nurburgring in the hilly terrain on Germany's western border is now boiling under hot sunshine.

At least 10 spectators were treated for heat exhaustion during Saturday's qualifying session, some of whom fainted and were carried away on Red Cross stretchers. The track surface temperature was nearly 50 degrees during the afternoon.

Some teams played down the impact of the heat on their cars or tyres, observing that temperatures at Grands Prix in Malaysia and Bahrain were even higher. But others blamed the hot air for below-par performances in the qualifying session.

"I think it got up to 47 degrees which can affect the car's balance," said Scot David Coulthard, whose Red Bull Racing car took a disappointing 12th place on the grid.

"The track temperature was very high, I think it was close to 50 degrees," said Narain Karthikeyan of India, whose Jordan qualified 19th in the 20-car field. "Therefore my car was quite difficult to drive."

But Ferrari's Michael Schumacher said he was not bothered by the temperatures that broke existing May records for the region. "It's not too high, it's not a problem," he said.

Nick Heidfeld, who took the first pole position of his career for Williams on Saturday, went a step further. "The heat's not a problem for us - if anything, it seemed to work to our advantage today," he said.

Not Expected

Mario Theissen, motorsport director for BMW, said the heat was affecting the teams but they had all experienced similar conditions already this season. "We should be able to deal with it but it's not what we expected here," he said of his Williams team.

Pierre Dupasquier, Michelin's motorsport director, said it was not the heat that might cause trouble for some teams but poor tyre selection.

"The heat is not a problem but if you screw up with your tyre selection, then you have a problem," he said. "If your tyre is too soft it will blister. If it's too hard, the performance won't be there and you'll be too slow."

Dupasquier said unpredictable weather conditions at races such as Nurburgring, where temperatures can vary between five and 30 degrees, and Spa in Belgium are a challenge every year compared to circuits near oceans with more moderate climates.

"Two weeks ago they were predicting the weather here would be stormy and rainy," he said. "They got that wrong."

Many spectators at Germany's biggest sporting event, where some 110,000 are expected on Sunday, were ready for the heat.

"Most people seem to be taking the right precautions and drinking enough," said Thomas Wendel of the local Red Cross.

Klaus Ballack, a Berlin pensioner sitting in the grandstand with dozens of people wearing shorts or swim suits, said he felt like he had spent the afternoon at the beach.

"It's pretty hot and I saw them cart off a teenage girl who passed out, but most people are still in good spirits," he said.

shares
comments
Webber Puts Monaco Behind Him
Previous article

Webber Puts Monaco Behind Him

Next article

Analysis: Can Anyone Beat Kimi?

Analysis: Can Anyone Beat Kimi?
Load comments
The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver the goods for McLaren  Plus

The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver the goods for McLaren 

From being lapped by his own team-mate in Monaco to winning at Monza, it’s been a tumultuous first season at McLaren for Daniel Ricciardo. But, as he tells STUART CODLING, there’s more to the story of his turnaround than having a lovely summer holiday during Formula 1's summer break...

The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title Plus

The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title

As the battle continues to rage over the F1 2021 drivers' championship, teams up and down the grid are turning their attentions to the prize money attributed to each position in the constructors' standings. But F1's sliding scale rules governing windtunnel and CFD use will soften the blow for those who miss out on the top places

Formula 1
Nov 25, 2021
The invisible enemy that’s made Hamilton’s title charge tougher Plus

The invisible enemy that’s made Hamilton’s title charge tougher

After winning his past few Formula 1 titles at a canter, Lewis Hamilton currently trails Max Verstappen by eight points heading into the final double-header of 2021. Although Red Bull has been his biggest on-track challenge, Hamilton feels that he has just as much to grapple with away from the circuit

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2021
Why F1’s inconvenient penalties have to stay Plus

Why F1’s inconvenient penalties have to stay

OPINION: Quibbles over the length of time taken by Formula 1's stewards over decisions are entirely valid. But however inconvenient it is, there can be no questioning the importance of having clearly defined rules that everyone understands and can stick to. Recent events have shown that ambiguity could have big consequences

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2021
The mistakes Red Bull cannot afford to repeat in F1 2021’s title fight climax Plus

The mistakes Red Bull cannot afford to repeat in F1 2021’s title fight climax

OPINION: Red Bull has had Formula 1’s fastest package for most of 2021, but in several of the title run-in events it has wasted the RB16B’s potential. It cannot afford to do so again with Lewis Hamilton motoring back towards Max Verstappen in the drivers’ standings with two rounds remaining

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2021
Qatar Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Qatar Grand Prix Driver Ratings

Qatar was a virtual unknown for most as Formula 1 made its inaugural visit to the Gulf state, and tyre management quickly emerged as an even more critical factor than normal. Perhaps then it should come as no surprise that two of the championship's elder statesmen produced standout drives

Formula 1
Nov 22, 2021
How Hamilton dominated in Qatar despite missing a key Mercedes advantage Plus

How Hamilton dominated in Qatar despite missing a key Mercedes advantage

There was simply no stopping Lewis Hamilton on Formula 1's first visit to Qatar. The Mercedes driver eased to pole position and led every lap to secure an utterly dominant victory - even without a key Mercedes weapon in his arsenal to increase the heat on Red Bull heading into the final two races of the gripping 2021 title race

Formula 1
Nov 22, 2021
How Surtees became an unappreciated Ferrari great Plus

How Surtees became an unappreciated Ferrari great

John Surtees and Enzo Ferrari parted ways amicably but could have achieved more together. On the weekend that Formula 1 makes its bow in Qatar, a country best-known for staging bike racing, NIGEL ROEBUCK recalls the career of the formidable ‘Big John’ - the first man to achieve success at the highest level on two and four wheels

Formula 1
Nov 21, 2021