As the midway point of the sweltering Losail race approached, Alonso urged the team to find a solution after feeling a burning pain in his seat.
“The seat is on fire, buddy,” he said on the team radio. “Is there anything we can do at the stopping point? Throw me water or something!”
The team couldn’t do much to provide some relief for the Spaniard, but then team manager Mike Crack explained that a burnt seat is a recurring theme the team is trying to fix, and has been exacerbated by the extreme heat in Qatar.
“Yes, that’s true. It’s already been reported several times,” Krak said when asked if the problem had happened before.
“We were working on it. That doesn’t mean we didn’t do anything. It also happened in Singapore, which we thought was much better.”
“But obviously we have another set of extreme conditions, so I think we’re not far from air conditioning if it continues like this.”
Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin Formula 1 Team, Lando Norris, McLaren, on the grid
Photography: Mark Sutton / Motorsport pictures
When asked why the AMR23 seat gets hot, Krak said: “You have hydraulic lines, you have electronic control units around you. They all get hot, and you’re trying to insulate the seat from them.
“But you also don’t want to have any kind of active cooling because it’s just weight.”
Alonso revealed that the burning sensation on the right side of the seat actually began to occur during the first 15 laps.
“I think for me and Lance we suffered a little bit with the temperature rising in the seat on the right side,” Alonso said.
“I had burns in the first 15 laps, so I asked on the radio if they could throw some water or something at me at the pit stop, which apparently isn’t allowed. So, yeah, it was pretty intense.
“We have dealt with some issues [before]. “Today was extreme.”
Alonso likened the conditions at Losail, which nearly caused his teammate Stroll to faint and forced Williams driver Logan Sargeant to withdraw due to heatstroke, to the Dakar Rally test he completed with Toyota in August 2019.
“I had a test here with Nasser in August before Qatar and it was similar to today,” the two-time world champion added. “Qatar is always very extreme at this time of year.”
Despite seat issues and a derailment, the Spaniard insisted on finishing sixth, while Stroll dropped out of the points after repeated track-limit penalties.
Additional reporting by Adam Cooper
“Coffee ninja. Web fan. Hipster-friendly beer enthusiast. Professional creator.”