The Spa-Francorchamps event has been experiencing significant rainfall throughout the entire weekend, causing a 10-minute delay in Friday’s qualifying session for tomorrow’s grand prix.
While conditions were expected to get slightly more benign from Saturday onwards, fresh showers hit the Ardennes loop ahead of Saturday’s sprint shootout, which sets the grid for the afternoon sprint race.
Thirteen minutes before the sprint shootout, which was due to start at noon local time, the start of the session was delayed a first time, awaiting a break in the conditions.
If the sprint shootout cannot take place, the FIA will utilize the results from Friday qualifying to determine the starting grid for the sprint race.
The session is scheduled to begin at 12:35pm in the local time zone.
Any grid penalties would still only be applied to the grand prix itself, meaning Red Bull’s Max Verstappen would be able to start from pole despite incurring a five-place grid penalty for taking a fifth gearbox of 2023.
Kevin Magnussen of Haas would have the opportunity to begin from the 13th position instead of the 16th position, as he obstructed Charles Leclerc from Ferrari during the qualifying session.
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB19, Alex Albon, Williams FW45
Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images
The FIA stated that “the final decision rests with the stewards and may be subject to change.”
There is not much rain predicted for the upcoming grand prix on Sunday, easing concerns about a recurrence of the 2021 race that experienced significant delays and was ultimately stopped after only three laps under the safety car.
The sensitivity of F1 towards racing in wet conditions has increased following the tragic incident involving Formula Regional driver Dilano van ‘t Hoff.
The 18-year-old Dutchman was killed at the start of this month after being hit on the Kemmel straight by a competitor while stationary.
The accident was significantly influenced by the reduced visibility caused by the rain.
In the past few months, FIA and F1 have already begun implementing measures to decrease the amount of spray that causes disturbance in single-seater racing.
An initial Silverstone test with so-called spray guards to reduce the amount of spray thrown up by the tyres has not yet produced satisfactory results.