Unfavorable weather conditions causing interruptions during practice sessions are not unheard of at Spa. However, the complexities are heightened this year as it’s a sprint weekend with two races and two qualifying sessions to accommodate.
Various possibilities were deliberated during the routine team managers’ gathering on Friday morning.
The main consensus is that a standard qualifying session must take precedence in preparation for Sunday’s Grand Prix.
In an ideal scenario, Friday’s FP1 session would set the grand prix grid if rain spoils the scheduled late afternoon qualifying session. Alternatively, the qualifying session for the main race may be repositioned to Saturday’s slot, which was originally reserved for the pre-sprint shootout, provided the weather is suitable.
The grid thus formed could also be used for the sprint, even if traditional shootout regulations pertaining to tyre usage and session duration are not observed.
Moreover, this weekend could witness the inaugural use of the revised point system, if the sprint or main race doesn’t reach their complete distance. This change was introduced after the disputed 2021 Belgian GP where half points were granted even though the field ran behind the safety car and no laps were finished under racing conditions.
As per the new arrangement for both sprint and the grand prix, at least two racing laps without any intervention from the safety car or VSC are necessary for points to be assigned.
Regarding the sprint, there are two potential results. No points are allocated if less than 50% of the anticipated 15 laps are covered. If more than half the distance is covered, full points will be distributed to the top eight finishers as per the usual 8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 order.
Contrarily, for the 44-lap grand prix, there are four different possibilities. If the leader completes fewer than two laps, no points are distributed. If the race covers between two laps and a quarter of the distance, only the top five finishers receive points in a 6-4-3-2-1 manner.
If the race is called off between a quarter and half the distance, points are awarded to the top nine in the 13-10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1 order. If the race is called off between half and three-quarters of the distance, points are assigned to the top ten with the allocation being 19-14-12-10-8-6-4-3-2-1. Beyond three-quarters distance, full points are awarded.
As stated, in all these situations, for points to be assigned, two racing laps without any safety car intervention need to be completed.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about F1 Belgian GP rain scenarios
What are the potential scenarios if rain disrupts the F1 Belgian GP weekend?
There are multiple scenarios that could play out if rain disrupts the F1 Belgian GP weekend. These include changes to qualifying sessions and the sprint race due to weather conditions, and the use of a new points system that was established after the controversial 2021 Belgian GP. The new system requires that at least two racing laps without any safety car or VSC intervention must be completed for points to be awarded.
What happens to the qualifying sessions if the weather is bad?
If the qualifying session scheduled for Friday afternoon is rained out, the grid for the grand prix could be set by the FP1 session results. Alternatively, the slot initially reserved for the pre-sprint shootout on Saturday could be repurposed as the qualifying session for the main race, if weather permits.
How does the new point arrangement work?
For both the sprint and the grand prix, at least two racing laps without any safety car or VSC intervention need to be completed for points to be awarded. If the sprint completes less than 50% of the anticipated 15 laps, no points are given. If more than half the distance is covered, full points will be distributed to the top eight finishers. For the grand prix, the point allocation varies depending on the race progress, with different scenarios applying if less than 2 laps are completed, between 2 laps and 25% distance, between 25% and 50% distance, between 50% and 75% distance, and beyond 75% distance.
How would the sprint and main races be impacted by weather?
The sprint and main races could be impacted by weather in various ways. The grid formed for the main race could also be used for the sprint, even if traditional shootout rules are not followed. Moreover, if either the sprint or the main race doesn’t reach their full distance, new points arrangements could be implemented, which were agreed upon after the 2021 Belgian GP.