Bad Weather Causes Delays for Belgian GP Sprint Shootout

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Persistent heavy downpours at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit have caused continuous interruptions throughout the weekend, including a 10-minute delay to Friday’s qualifying session for the forthcoming Grand Prix.

Despite initial predictions of milder weather on Saturday, unexpected rainfall once again marred the Ardennes circuit just before the anticipated sprint shootout, a qualifying event for the afternoon sprint race.

Merely thirteen minutes before the scheduled start of the sprint shootout at noon local time, the session was postponed for the first time, waiting for an improvement in weather conditions.

The FIA declared that in the event of the sprint shootout’s cancellation, they would refer to the results from Friday’s qualifying to establish the starting lineup for the sprint race.

The delayed session is now scheduled to commence at 12:35 pm local time.

Grid penalties, if any, will only affect the actual Grand Prix, allowing Red Bull’s Max Verstappen to start from pole despite his five-place grid penalty for using a fifth gearbox of 2023.

Similarly, Haas’ Kevin Magnussen will have the opportunity to start from 13th rather than 16th position, despite causing obstruction to Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc during qualifying.

Photo by: Andy Hone / F1 Flow Images (Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB19, Alex Albon, Williams FW45)

The FIA further stated that these arrangements remain provisional and are subject to changes based on the stewards’ decision.

There are no significant predictions of rainfall for Sunday’s Grand Prix, relieving concerns about a repeat of the 2021 edition, which faced extended delays and was stopped after just three laps behind the safety car.

The fatal accident of Formula Regional driver Dilano van ‘t Hoff, an 18-year-old Dutchman who was fatally struck by a rival car on the Kemmel straight while stationary, has heightened F1’s caution towards wet-weather racing. Poor visibility in the rain was a critical factor in the incident.

In recent times, the FIA and F1 have been working towards reducing the spray disruption in single-seater races. However, preliminary tests at Silverstone with “spray guards” aimed at minimizing tyre-generated spray have yet to yield satisfactory outcomes.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Belgian GP Sprint Shootout Delay

Why was the Belgian GP sprint shootout delayed?

The Belgian GP sprint shootout was delayed due to heavy rainfall at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit, which has been disrupting the event throughout the weekend.

What will happen if the sprint shootout cannot proceed due to weather conditions?

If the sprint shootout cannot proceed due to the adverse weather, the FIA has confirmed that they will use the results from Friday’s qualifying session to set the grid for the sprint race.

When is the rescheduled start time for the session?

The delayed session is now scheduled to commence at 12:35 pm local time.

Will grid penalties be applied to the sprint shootout?

No, any grid penalties will only be applied to the grand prix itself. This means racers like Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Haas’ Kevin Magnussen can start from their original positions despite incurring penalties.

How has the fatal accident of Formula Regional driver Dilano van ‘t Hoff affected F1’s approach to racing in the rain?

The fatal accident of Dilano van ‘t Hoff has heightened F1’s sensitivity to wet-weather racing. In recent months, the FIA and F1 have started taking steps to try and reduce the amount of spray that disrupts visibility in single-seater racing.

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VerstappenFan1 July 29, 2023 - 4:07 pm

yes!! Max can still start from pole!! hope the weather clears up soon tho

James89 July 29, 2023 - 7:08 pm

man, was really lookin forward to the shootout. bad weather’s killin the fun.

RacingGuru July 30, 2023 - 6:09 am

Feel sorry for the teams and the fans. Weather’s been a real spoilsport this weekend. Hope Sunday’s clear.

F1Fanatic July 30, 2023 - 10:17 am

Not sure how I feel about using Friday’s qualifying results. Seems like a cop-out, but guess it’s better than no race.


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