Qatar GP weather: Latest forecast for F1 race at Losail

Will hot temperatures be a problem at the second-ever Qatar GP?

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Max Verstappen looks set to claim his third Formula 1 drivers’ championship at the second-ever Qatar Grand Prix, and could even have things wrapped up before lights out on Sunday.

Lewis Hamilton won the inaugural event in 2021, which set up the hugely controversial Abu Dhabi GP two races later, but Qatar skipped F1 12 months ago to focus on the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

It’s going to be a scorching few days in the Middle East, and the sprint weekend means drivers will be racing meaningful sessions before sunset in temperatures of nearly 40 degrees Celsius in Qatar.

Unsurprisingly there’s no chance of rain over the weekend, but the high temperatures will still provide teams with plenty of problems as cars aren’t set to spend a minute on track in temperatures below 30 degrees.

Not that Verstappen will care. If he picks up more than two points all weekend then he will be crowned champion in Qatar, regardless of what Sergio Perez can do.

That means Verstappen could have his third title in the bag before the Grand Prix even starts, if he finishes sixth or higher in the sprint race.

Meanwhile, Perez can only afford to drop two points across the entire weekend if he’s to keep the championship alive until the United States GP.

Friday: Practice 1 and Qualifying

Red Bull’s Sergio Perez during qualifying for the 2021 Qatar GP | REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani

The only practice session of the weekend kicks off at 16:30 local time, so will catch the best of sunset over the Losail International Circuit at 17:15.

Temperatures at the start of the session will an exposure-inducing 37 degrees, but should have dropped to a more manageable 32 by the time qualifying gets underway at 20:00.

That means qualifying will be the first chance for teams to get see how their cars perform in race-representative temperatures, when they have to lock in their setups for the grand prix on Sunday.

However, the wind could be even more difficult to deal with. Expect plenty of mistakes and spills in FP1 with wind speed predicted to be at least 20 mph, sweeping in off the desert dunes.

That will have dropped slightly for qualifying, but wind speed will still be in the high teens for drivers to negotiate.

Saturday: Sprint Shootout and Sprint

Lewis Hamilton leads the 2021 Qatar GP | REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani

The sprint shootout is set to start at 16:00 local time, over an hour before sunset in Qatar, so temperatures could be as high as 38 degrees when cars first head onto track.

It will certainly be something for teams to manage, and the later start time for FP1 on Friday means it’s the first time they’ll be faced with temperatures quite that high. So it’ll be interesting to see how much qualifying preparation teams do in FP1.

However, things will have cooled down to 32 degrees by the time the sprint starts – well after sundown. The wind will have died down from Friday too, but remains in double-figures (just about) at around 12 mph.

Sunday: Race

McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo in action during the 2021 Qatar Grand Prix | REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani

Again, temperatures will have dropped to around 32 degrees when the race gets underway at 20:00 local time, but perhaps even more mercifully so will the wind.

It’s set to be just eight mph at lights out, and teams should be much more on top of conditions generally having run three competitive sessions by then.

Adam Dickinson
An international multi-award-winning journalist, Adam Dickinson has written for Total-Motorsport.com since June 2022 and also contributes to TNT Sports, Eurosport and the Rugby Paper. He's also had articles published in the Daily Telegraph and several local newspapers, previously worked for Last-Lap.co.uk and FeederSeries.net in motorsport, and graduated with a First-Class Journalism Degree from the University of Sheffield having also studied in Oklahoma. Adam started watching F1 by accident in 2007, catching the last race in Indianapolis, and attended his first race as a journalist at the 2023 British Grand Prix.
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