Belgian GP: Preview

Published on 28 July 2023 at 13:00

Nathan Hartley


Formula 1 heads to round 13 of the 2023 World Championship to the historic circuit Spa Francorchamps. Spa has been on the calendar ever since Formula 1 began in 1950, making it an iconic circuit that drivers love to drive.


Spa Francorchamps (Image Credit: Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images)


Wet weekend ahead


The forecast going into this weekend is not great is you want it to stay dry. Rain is expected on each of the three days, being at its heaviest on Saturday.


Drivers, especially George Russell, have called for the FIA to call the race off if they know that the rain is going to be too severe for the drivers to race on safely. 


2021 saw no race take place due to the torrential rain. The race only consisted of two laps behind the safety car as the visibility was impossible for the drivers behind one another. 


The FIA will be testing wheel arches for the 2024 season, in the hope of reducing less spray produced from the car, making the visibility a lot easier for the drivers behind.


Another issue in 2021 was in qualifying. At the start of Q3, the rain was getting heavier to the point where drivers would experience aquaplaning. However, instead of red flagging the session, the FIA allowed them to continue, which ended in a heavy shunt for Lando Norris at the top of Raidillon.


There is a possibility where the rain may get too much. Furthermore, rain can affect Spa more than other tracks due to the challenging nature of the circuit. Do you think the 2023vBelgian Grand Prix will still go ahead?


Verstappen to take five-place grid penalty


Many will go into this weekend expecting Max Verstappen to take pole once again. Red Bull will be a lot stronger at Spa rather than the Hungaroring due to its long straights, allowing Red Bull to utilise their straightline speed.


However, it has been confirmed that the reigning world champion will take a five-place grid penalty due to changing the gearbox and it being over the allocated gearboxes given.


This means that the Dutchman can qualify sixth at the highest, which is if he gets pole position on track.


To ease the excitement away, Verstappen started the 2022 Belgian Grand Prix from 14th and managed to win the race with ease, sawing through the entire field.


Red Bull will be looking for their 13th win in a row, trying to extend their new record of 12 wins in a row. Do you think Red Bull maintain their 100% winning record in 2023?


Sprint weekend


Spa will feature a sprint weekend, meaning that there will only be one practice session before competitive running. Teams with upgrades will be desperate to use that one hour session as much as possible, as they need to find the right set-up for the rest of the weekend.


The sole practice session will be followed by qualifying for Sunday's race on the Friday. Saturday will consist of a sprint shootout followed by a sprint race, which are both completely separate to Friday's qualifying and Sunday's race.


There has been mixed opinions regarding sprint weekends - with many wanting Formula 1 to revert back to the normal style every race. What is your opinion on sprint weekends?


My predictions


Winner - Max Verstappen

Podiums - Lando Norris, Lewis Hamilton

Pole Position - Lando Norris (Verstappen takes grid penalty)

Sprint winner - Max Verstappen

Dark Horse - Alex Albon

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