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Zhou Guanyu, Alfa Romeo F1 Team, Alex Albon, Williams Racing, Charles Leclerc, Scuderia Ferrari, on the grid
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Special feature

The unwanted combination that made Qatar so extreme for F1

When assessing the toughest races of 2023 for drivers, it's difficult to look beyond the Qatar Grand Prix. But as PAT SYMONDS explains, it wasn’t just because of the high temperatures

Several races in the latter part of the 2023 season introduced extreme temperatures to the roster of challenges: Las Vegas, although not as cold as feared, was still one of the coldest races
of recent years and Qatar was both hot and
humid. Qatar highlighted that when certain facts align, the outcome can lead to exceptional conditions that really stretch the abilities of the drivers in an athletic sense.

It’s common practice these days for drivers to have to manage their way through a race. The car will generally be fuelled on the assumption that there will be periods when it is not flat out and the best strategic outcome will nearly always occur from stretching stints beyond the length of the tyres’ full capability. This means that a large degree of fuel and tyre management is exercised by the driver.

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