Grand Prix 2023 Belgian Grand Prix Practice, Qualifying & Race Discussion

For some reason my brain has blanked the 2022 Belgian GP from my mind, I'm not sure why. Having just read the Wiki page for the race it appears that Max Verstappen was fastest in Qualifying, but should have started last due to various power unit penalties. However, he ended up 14th on the grid as seven other drivers also took either PU or gearbox penalties at the race as well.

Come the race, mobile chicane Nicolas Latifi nurfed Valterri Bottas off bringing out the safety car after only two laps and by this time Verstappen was already 8th. After the safety car it only took another 10 laps for Max to pass the rest of the cars in front, winning the race by nearly 18 seconds from his team mate, Sergio Perez.

Now here's the kicker for this weekend, it is supposed to rain for all three days. As we know from 2021 the FIA does not like to let the cars even try and race in the rain at Spa so assuming we have some sort of qualifying session getting your car on Pole with be an absolute imperative as you will then be able to follow Bernd Maylander round for 3 laps and be declared the winner. This might be the opportunity for a team other than Red Bull to win a race in 2023, but I wouldn't hold you breath on that.

Spa in the sunshine looks a beautiful place. Spa in the rain, when the clouds get trapped on top of the hills, looks dank, dark and miserable. Let's hope that there is some sort of race this weekend. Perhaps F1 might consider having the option to race on a Monday should the Sunday be a wash out. But then how could we squeeze all the races Liberty Media now demand in to the calendar if the teams lose even one day from their stupidly tight logistics schedule.

For you enjoyment, here is a much more interesting article than I could ever write from Motorsport Magazine about the FIA's attempts to allow cars to race in the rain, and the development of "mudguards" (rain or spray guards surely?) - F1's new 'mudguards' fail to reduce spray – but wet weather solution still needed

It also give you a little bit of history on the soul searching F1 teams and drivers have done over the years when it comes to protecting drivers in a wet race. The drivers choose to drive these cars and are rewarded handsomely, but have we reached a point where without significant changes in car design they shouldn't race in the wet? My POV is that as the teams will spend tens of millions trying to get an extra 10th of a second of performance from the car it should be down to them work on how they can reduce the problems of spray and come up with something quick and simple to install on the car in a racing pit stop. It will be the responsibility of the track officials to tell the teams when these must be fitted and when they can be removed, otherwise we know one team or driver will try to gain an advantage by not using the spray guards.

This is supposed to be the pinnacle of motor sport, the teams should be able to design a car which can race in conditions which are foreseeable over the course of a racing season.

The Spa race is 44 laps of a 4.35 mile circuit, enjoy. There is also a sprint race, which I won't enjoy.
Apparently it was because they had prioritized other areas of development, and had not yet managed to get round to a low downforce rear wing to match the rest of the updates. I'll take the result in Belgium following the Silverstone and Hungary finishes, but they will need to get something sorted before Monza!
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