Find out what’s been buzzing right before the F1 summer break and get ready for a rainy weekend in Belgium.
Hey there, Podium-climber! 👋
Straight from race control, this edition, we’ll be delving into the last race before the summer break, which also happens to be a sprint weekend.
Furthermore, the landscape of F1 is about to shift gears as we join hands with the all-female feeder series, the F1 Academy.
On another note, worries are mounting as the unpredictable weather at the Spa circuit is creating a storm of concerns among the drivers. Given the devastating crashes in recent years, their anxieties are legit. Safety first, as they say!
In today’s email:
Pit Stop Talks – Latest in-depth news ahead of Belgian GP
In-depth education: Braking Bad: How F1 Drivers Rack Up Penalty Points
Fast Lane News – A speedy catch-up on all the latest chatter in the Formula 1 universe
The Belgian GP – Weekend schedule, track details, and more details on tire information from Pirelli
Lights out, and away we go!
Pit Stop Talks
⚙️ The upgrades teams are bringing at the Belgian GP
⚫️ Mercedes is testing 2 different wings for the weekend:
- Lower load for Hamilton
- Higher load for Russel
Mainly the lower plane is different: less cambered and shallower. The upper plane is similar. You can expect modest DRS effectiveness for both specs.
🟠 McLaren appears to be pursuing Red Bull’s powerful DRS concept.
While it will still rely on a double-element beam wing, new offloaded geometry will trade load from the beam wing to the rear wing mainplane to reduce aerodynamic load and drag.
🟦 Alpine has a track-specific front wing — along with Williams — it also has brought an updated floor in search of more performance, in a similar development to Aston Martin. For Mike Krack’s team, as well as the floor there are rear wing and beam wing tweaks just for the Spa layout.
🧾 Here’s the summary of all the changes:
|Red Bull||Engine cover|
|Mercedes||Sidepod inlet, Engine cover, Floor body, Rear wing|
|Aston Martin||Floor edge||Rear wing, Beam wing|
|McLaren||Beam wing, Rear wing, Rear wing endplate|
|Alpine||Floor body||Front wing|
|Alfa Romeo||Front wing, Rear wing, Beam wing|
|Williams||Rear corner, Front wing|
🛏️🔌 Electric blanket drama steals the show at 3-hour F1 meeting
F1 bosses had a 3-hour pow-wow at Hotel La Source and, of all things, only the fate of tyre blankets got clarity – they’re here to stay until 2025.
Everything from engine equalisation (some side-eyes at Ferrari, Mercedes, and Honda) to gearbox transmission standard, potential budget cap hikes, and Sprint Weekend reshuffles was on the table, but they’re still waiting for a decision. – Read more(DE)
❌ Alpine Team Principal Otmar Szafnauer and Sporting Director Alan Permane to depart Alpine following the Belgian Grand Prix
Szafnauer had come under increasing pressure following former Alpine CEO Laurent Rossi’s outburst at the Miami GP, saying the buck stopped with the team principal after a number of operational errors.
At this time it is believed that Bruno Famin (recently announced VP of Alpine Motorsports) will tave over the role of Team Principal on an interim basis.
The rumour mill has already started, less than 1 hours after the announcement, some voices saying that Mattia Binotto (former Ferrari Team Principal) is on Alpine’s shortlist as next principal. – Read More
🤯 Here’s a summary of the last 18 months for Alpine (via @jadenfr_):
🔵 Red Bull on a mission to destroy competition
Max Verstappen is having the time of his life, along with Christian Horner and Helmut Marko. These three musketeers love the domination that’s got them soaring through 12 straight victories, breaking F1 records left and right.
Still, that’s not enough for them. The latest upgrades that came in Budapest arrived with not just developments but a revolution, as if to say that the team doesn’t just want to defeat their opponents but to wipe them out entirely.
It wasn’t actually an update, it was a revolution. As if Red Bull does not want to beat its competitors but to destroy them.F1 technical analyst Paolo Filisetti
Red Bull is going full throttle with the updated RB19, teasing us with a sneak peek into the future RB20.
The aero changes brought to the RB19 in Hungary are like a work of art. The inlet has a lip reaching out to the front, and it’s got some serious vertical incline action going on. The whole lower profile of the sidepod has been revamped, creating a channel between the sidepods and the floor. Oh, and let’s not forget those sleeker edges, rounding out the latest version.
They are also taking the “DIY” approach and producing their engines in-house while also tapping into Honda’s expertise.
You could say that 2023 is the playground for testing and data collection and that they’re already eyeing the 2024 championship. – Read more
🙋🏻♀️ F1 goes all-female, with one driver per team
Formula 1 is joining forces with the all-female feeder series, the F1 Academy, for an epic partnership starting next season. Each F1 team will have their very own nominated driver tearing up the track under their name and flaunting their slick livery.
Susie Wolff, the series’ managing director, couldn’t contain her excitement, dubbing it a “landmark moment” in racing history.
This landmark moment not only demonstrates the depth of support for F1 Academy from across the F1 community but will inspire a whole generation of young girls to realize the opportunities both on and off track in motorsport.
Source: Sky Sports
This year, F1 Academy emerged on the scene with a mission to shatter the glass ceiling for women drivers in motorsports and create a clear pathway to F1.
The last time we saw a woman start a grand prix was back in 1976! Props to Lella Lombardi and Maria Teresa de Filippis for blazing the trail, but it’s high time for some fresh talent to take the spotlight.
We created F1 Academy to bring about real and lasting change to ensure young female talent have the right system in place to follow and achieve their dreams…In 2024 the F1 Academy will join our race calendar, raising the awareness and profile of the series globally and to have the F1 liveries on the grid will be something very special.
The F1 Academy is already a force to be reckoned with five teams – ART Grand Prix, Campos Racing, MP Motorsport, PREMA Racing, and Rodin Carlin – who each have three cars and three drivers, making a total of 15 cars and 15 drivers.
From 2024, 10 of these drivers will be nominated by F1 teams, and each team will have their livery on one car. The remaining five drivers in the series are set to be supported by other partners. – Read more
⚙️Verstappen hit with a grid penalty
Max Verstappen is about to catch a five-place grid penalty for the Belgian Grand Prix.
Red Bull decided to go a little wild and fit a fifth gearbox to Max’s RB19 for this weekend’s race at Spa-Francorchamps.
F1 drivers are supposed to stick to just four gearbox assemblies for the whole season, and Verstappen is the first one to exceed that.
Verstappen has frequently complained about gear sync issues in the earlier part of the season, although we don’t know if this has anything to do with the reason why he has burned through so many gearboxes. – Read more
🔮 Does Spa have a future?
The future of the Belgian Grand Prix in F1 is up in the air, and there’s a whole heap of troubles they’ve gotta deal with.
It looks like the final F1 race before everyone jets off for summer break is set to happen in some pretty gnarly weather.
Given the recent fatal accident involving FRECA driver Dilano van ‘t Hoff along the Kemmel Straight earlier this month, drivers are voicing their concerns. This weekend also marks four years since F2 racer Anthoine Hubert was killed in a side-impact collision at the 2019 event.
Aside from the recent accidents, there have been numerous others, and, even though various works and changes have been made to improve the circuit, the lack of visibility caused by the rain means racing at Spa is always daunting for the drivers.
It’s really difficult to put into words what we are seeing, apart from saying that we are seeing nothing – but we are not exaggerating when we say we don’t see anything, we really don’t see anything when it’s raining, and this is a really big problem for Formula 1, for motorsport in general, any single seaters.
FIA is trying to find a solution for the spray in wet conditions and has recently tested ‘Spray Guards‘ to help visibility. Still, the process will be long to develop a solution that works. – Read more
Braking Bad: How F1 Drivers Rack Up Penalty Points
Formula 1 is all about pushing the limits and going full throttle towards the checkered flag.
But what happens when a driver steps out of line and violates the rules? Cue the F1 penalty points system.
Let’s take a deep dive into the world of F1 penalty points, exploring what they are, how they work, and what they mean for the drivers.
Fast Lane News
📺 American viewers say goodbye due to “boring” calendar. – Read more
💸 Liberty Media stirs up trouble with clubs and restaurants in Las Vegas over viewing expenses. They’re asking $1,500 per head for licensing rights. Basically, they don’t want customers to be able to view the race without paying anything to the sport itself. – Read more
✋ Mercedes boss Toto Wolff advocates ring-fencing non-F1 staff to block cost cap exploitation. – Read more
👎 Ex-IndyCar and NASCAR racer Danica Patrick faces backlash over remarks on female racing skillset and mindset. – Read more
🔵 Nyck de Vries still attracting Formula 1 interest after brutal Alpha Tauri sacking. – Read more
☠️ Verstappen says Monaco is more dangerous than Spa. – Read more
🏎️ Rumors are that Bridgestone is out. Pirelli will remain a Formula 1 supplier until 2027. – Read more
🔴 Ferrari racing director Laurent Mekies will leave the team at the end of this week and move to AlphaTauri as its new Formula 1 team principal. – Read more
THE BELGIAN GP
🇧🇪 Scheduled: 28 – 30 JULY
Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium
What to expect at the 2023 Belgian Grand Prix
1️⃣ Overtakes: The 2022 Belgian GP had the 2nd most overtakes since the introduction of the DRS. There was a total of 74 overtakes, of which 44 were shown on TV.
The most overtakes, 99 to be more specific, happened in 2011. The first year with DRS introduced during the races.
The long straights at Spa are good towing opportunities, especially after Raidillon. The overtaking difficulty is average at Spa. The Bus Stop chicane and the DRS zone to Turn Five are the most used overtaking spots.
2️⃣ Front row’s the party in Spa. Approximately 63% of wins come from there.
3️⃣ Rain at Spa? Of course ☔️. We’ve already had rain marking FP1 today. The weather report? Looks like the dance floor is about to get even wetter!
This will transform into a huge strategy burden. Choosing the right tyre at the right time will make the difference in the standings.
4️⃣ Safety Cars at Spa? Almost a tradition since 2014. But Virtual Safety Cars? They’re like that guest who rarely shows up. Only popped in twice since 2015!
Tire preview from Pirelli
We’re back with the same tire trio from the last year’s race. The ⚪️ C2 is rockin’ the P Zero White (hard), the 🟡 C3 is showing off in P Zero Yellow (medium), and the 🔴 C4 is all fired up in P Zero Red (soft).
👀 The most hair-raising part of the circuit is the “Eau Rouge” compression, followed by the climb up to Raidillon. The downforce pushes the car into the ground during a high-speed left-hand turn, and then it goes light at the top of the hill onto the Kemmel straight with a high-speed right-left kink.
📏 Spa is the longest track on the Formula calendar, measuring a whopping 7.004 kilometers. Back in 1921, when the circuit was born, it was twice as long, stretching over 14.9 kilometers!
🛑 Last year, most of the teams went for a two-stop strategy, making the tires work extra hard.
👑 Charles Leclerc had his own fairytale moment at Spa. He won his first Formula 1 race with Ferrari in 2019. And speaking of Ferrari, they’re the kings of Spa with the most victories (14) since 1950.