Grand Prix 2018 Belgian Grand Prix Practice, Qualifying & Race Discussion

90 years ago, this November, the Bureau International Des Expositions was created by the signing of the convention relating to international exhibitions. Like most organisations, the BIE's home was Paris, France. The role of this organisation was to oversee the calendar, bidding process, selection and organisation of World Exhibitions and ensure that all countries worked together in the best conditions.

The first World Fair was held in Paris in 1844 and one of the best known of these early efforts became known as the Great Exhibition held in London in 1851 and featured the gigantic crystal palace. All these early world fairs featured technological developments and saw many technical wonders shown to the public for the first time.

As the years progressed, and with the formation of the BIE, the purpose of these fairs gradually moved away from technological developments and towards overall cultural themes. Ironically, the first of these was held in New York in 1939 and was titled "Building the world of tomorrow". Of course, over the next 6 years, nations did their very best to demolish the world of tomorrow.

Following the second world war, nation states were too busy rebuilding their shattered infrastructure and attempting to re-establish their economies to worry about holding cultural affairs. That was until Belgium was selected to host their 11th world’s fair. Expo 58. The theme would be "A World View - A New Humanism" and was set to run from July to September 1958.

The most well-known legacy of this event is the Atomium. The giant sculpture displays 9 Iron atoms formed into a cube representing the shape of an iron crystal magnified 165 billion times. The sculpture remains in Heysel Park on the outskirts of Brussels and is still open to the public today. It represented mankind’s faith and hope in scientific development and the nuclear age.

In 1958, Formula One chose its own way of honouring technical development as for the first time a trophy was awarded not just to the world champion driver but the International Cup for F1 Manufacturers was awarded to the most successful manufacturer. Initially, and until the late 70's, only one car, the best finishing, scored points towards the title. Vanwall became the first team to lift the new cup but Mike Hawthorn lifted the drivers title in his works Ferrari. Both cups were heading to Britain for the first time. Vanwall won 6 of the 9 races it entered that season with Moss and Brooks taking 3 wins each but unreliability cost both drivers the title. The Vanwall quite literally either won or broke down. Perhaps it was the involvement of an extremely gifted engineer, brought in to revise the car in 1957 after Vanwall's initial efforts in F1 were dismal failures. The name of that engineer? Colin Chapman.

At the 1958 Belgian GP, Tony Brooks finished first while Hawthorn finished second for Ferrari and Stuart Lewis-Evans brought a third Vanwall home in third place. Moss suffered an engine failure on the first lap. Further down the field, in the second Ferrari, a Belgian called Olivier Gendebien finished 6th in his first ever Belgian GP.

Gendebien had come to the attention of no less than Enzo Ferrari himself through his performance in sports car racing. Ferrari signed him to his team to drive in these events but also allowed him to make the occasional appearance in an F1 car. His best year however, was in 1960 where he took 2 podiums behind the wheel of a Cooper for the privateer Yoeman Credit racing team.

Enzo Ferrari summed Gendebien up as "a gentleman who never forgets that nobless oblidge and, when he is at the wheel, he translates this code of behaviour into an elegant and discerning forcefulness."

Such was this elegant and discerning forcefulness that, while very few would have ever heard of him in F1, his sports car record reads like this, 4 wins in the 24 hours of Le Mans, 3 wins in the 12 hours of Sebring, 2 wins at the 12 hours of Reims, 3 wins in the Targa Florio and 1 at the 1000km Nurbugring. A truly remarkable sports car record that few drivers even today, can match.

So, if anyone asks you in the future to name some famous Belgian racing drivers, among the likes of Gachot and Boutsen, don't forget to tell them about Olivier Gendebien. Gentleman, outstanding driver and Belgian.

Enjoy the race.


Champion Elect
For me like cider_and_toast its indisputable. From the slow motion. im not it wouldve hit him flush with the tyre but you can see it wouldve have made contact at some point as tyre marks & the footage proves. When you think what happened when a 800g spring did to massa. What a 10kg tyre couldve

This is coming from a person that was hugely against halo. I saw a quote that said i would rather discuss "that saved his career" than "that cost him his career"


Leave me alone I'm on Smoko
vintly in a catogry that is defined as open wheel racing then the wheels are always going to be exposed. That's the whole point. The halo was brought in for the exact reason you described. Unless rather than the halo you'd like F1 to turn it's cars into DTM cars? Wouldn't need the halo then I guess.


Test Driver
I do wonder, if the halo had been available in IndyCar, would drivers like Dan Wheldon still be with us as well?
No. The accident crushed the car's airbox which is stronger than the HALO.

On Leclerc's incident:
It doesn't look like Alonso's tyre would have hit Leclerc. The damage to the HALO is only cosmetic, the actual structure is covered by a layer of carbon fibre.


Race Winner
The fact is having a helmet on as a racing driver only offers so much protection, we all know that. The halo does offer protection from the head being damaged by parts flying up towards the driver or as in the case on Sunday, a car going over the top of them and clouting them with a wheel or whatever on the way over.

There are always going to be risks in motorsport no matter what you do, everyone knows that, you can't eliminate them all. For me the halo (even though I never liked the look of it) has proved itself worthy of being fitted and it didn't take long to do so. We don't want to go back to the bad old days when racing drivers died on a semi regular basis, at least I don't anyway.

With the speed the cars go and the impacts when they either come together, throw out a broken part or hit something solid you have to have a safe amount of protection. The human body isn't as tough as the cars and can't be repaired as easily either.


Mostly bacon
vintly in a catogry that is defined as open wheel racing then the wheels are always going to be exposed. That's the whole point. The halo was brought in for the exact reason you described. Unless rather than the halo you'd like F1 to turn it's cars into DTM cars? Wouldn't need the halo then I guess.

Putting a block in the way of the back wheels wouldn't turn F1 cars into DTM cars, neither would it necessarily mean F1 would have to forfeit the 'open wheel' description, which is after all just a phrase to describe, not define, F1.


Mostly bacon
Fair enough. I expect there will be an occasion where the halo is shown to have categorically stopped serious injury or worse, proving its effectivity. It's also effective at making the cars look odd and obscuring the view of the driver. Plus they look silly when exiting the car – this is clearly much more important than driver safety.


Podium Finisher
After crashing into the back of another F1 car, a car goes airborne mainly because the rear wheels of the car being hit propell the other car upward. This wouldn’t happen if the rear wheels were covered, even partially.

Yea, I have always leaned towards full fendered, full body F1 cars. They did have a couple in 1954 or 1955, but I gather they have been outlawed since. It does increase their straight line speed. I do find that most people immediately object to covering the wheels. Not sure why.


Not a Moderator
Valued Member
Blimey, that slo-mo picture brings it home clearly to us Halo naysayers. Slices of humble pie all round.

Respectfully, it's still ugly. And, it could still impair a driver's ability to scramble clear when his car flips over. So it depends quite a bit on what the naysayers were naysaying. I don't think the debate is over - because otherwise we will get enclosed wheels, roll cages...who knows what, and F1 won't be F1 any more.
Top Bottom