Everything you need to know about the coming 2022 Belgian Grand Prix
After what seemed like an endless summer break for true Formula 1 fans, the 2022 campaign will continue with the 2022 Belgian Grand Prix on Sunday. The event will be the 14th race of the current season, and Max Verstappen and Red Bull seem easily comfortable in both the World Drivers’ and Constructors’ championships.
Will it be the last F1 race on Spa?
The Spa-Francorchamps will receive Formula 1 again in 2022 and hopefully will give us a better event than last year, although it will not be difficult. Moreover, the venue has been under threat of losing is place in F1, which could represent a colossal mistake of historical magnitude, as the track is definitely one of the greatest in the series’ history.
The Dutchman (258 points) seems easily headed to the World Championship, with an 80-point gap ahead of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc (178). Verstappen’s teammate, Sergio Pérez, is third with 173 points.
Mercedes’ George Russell is fourth with 158 points, ahead of Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz (156) and multiple World Champion Sir Lewis Hamilton (146).
The situation could change in the second half of the season, with the saga of the flexible floors reaching a point in which differences could be seen in the performance of the top cars, mainly Red Bull and Ferrari.
“New floor flexibility tests will be introduced, with the FIA announcing “changes to re-define the stiffness requirements of plank and skids around the thickness measurement holes” during the break. This is designed to target any floor-related tricks that the FIA suspects could be circumventing the intention of the regulations, and as the floor is such a critical performance generator, it will be fascinating to see if it impacts the competitive order”, as explained in Formula 1’s official website.
Also, there’s a new metric introduced to reduce the ‘porpoising’ or vertical oscillations on cars in order to reduce the effect and stop a potential safety risk for drivers. Exceeding said metric of acceptable porpoising will result in penalties from Spa onwards, which wasn’t the case in previous weekends.
What is the current F1 midfield order?
Alpine (Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso) is four points ahead of McLaren (Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo) for fourth place in the World Constructors’ Championship. The French team has 99 points, while McLaren has 95.
Despite Alpine being fourth in the WCC, McLaren’s Lando Norris is “the best of the rest” among drivers, as he is seventh with 76 points. On the Alpine camp, there was controversy in the summer break, with Alonso announcing his departure from the team to join Aston Martin in 2023 and starting the Oscar Piastri-saga.
The Australian was announced as Alonso’s replacement for 2023, but he denied such information some hours later, and the matter hasn't been solved yet. McLaren seems as the likely destination for Piastri in place of his fellow Australian Ricciardo.
Although Alfa Romeo (Valtteri Bottas and Guanyu Zhou) has not scored points in the last four races, the team remains sixth in the WCC with 51 points.
Haas (Kevin Magnussen and Mick Schumacher) is seventh in the World Constructors’ Championship with 34 points but failed to score in the last two events.
AlphaTauri (27 points - Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda), Aston Martin (20 points - Sebastian Vettel and Lance Stroll), and Williams (3 points - Alexander Albon and Nicholas Latifi) round out the WCC positions.
2022 Belgian GP Facts & Figures
The Belgian Grand Prix is an iconic round of the Formula World Championship, which has been part of virtually every campaign of the pinnacle of motor racing in history.
The race on Sunday will be the 67th running of the Belgian Grand Prix as a part of the World Championship of drivers. The first championship race in Belgium occurred in 1950, with legendary Juan Manuel Fangio winning for Alfa Romeo ahead of his teammate Luigi Fagioli.
Coincidentally, Alfa Romeo had won the first running of the Belgian Grand Prix in history in 1925 when Antonio Ascari (father of two-time World Champion Alberto) dominated the Spa round of the World Manufacturers’ Championship.
The event has taken place at three different tracks, with Nivelles (two races) and Zolder (10) hosting races in the 1970s and early 1980s. World Champions have won 50 editions of the Belgian round, with Michael Schumacher dominating the event six times, including his first-ever GP win in 1992.
Ayrton Senna (five), Jim Clark, Kimi Raikkonen and Lewis Hamilton (four each) follow Schumacher in the list of drivers with the most wins in the Belgian Grand Prix. Senna and Clark had streaks of four consecutive wins at Spa each, which is a record at the iconic track.
Hamilton and Vettel are the only active drivers to have multiple wins in Belgium. Ricciardo (2014), Leclerc (2019), and Verstappen, in last year’s shocker, are the other active drivers who have won at Spa.
Regarding team wins, Ferrari leads McLaren with 18 victories to 14. Lotus sits third with eight wins and Mercedes fourth with seven triumphs in three very different eras. They won twice in the European Championship, in 1935 and 1939 with Rudolf Caracciola and Hermann Lang, respectively. Then, Mercedes won an actual World Championship race in Belgium in 1955 with Fangio and added three more wins to their tally with Hamilton (2015, 2017 and 2020) and Nico Rosberg (2016) winning in the Hybrid Era.
Spa-Francorchamps Track Info
A legendary circuit, Spa was originally a 15-kilometer track and it was shortened to a 14-kilometer course which was faster than the first version, while both layouts included public roads.
The circuit proved highly dangerous, with the 1960 event being the only one in Formula 1 history where two drivers died during the same race (Chris Bristow and Alan Stacey suffered sad fatal accidents). Clark dominated the track during the 1960s, with four straight wins from 1962 to 1965, but the drivers were fully aware of the dangers of the circuit and ultimately wanted it to adapt to safety measures or simply they would not compete there.
The track was ultimately boycotted in 1969, and though it returned in 1970 with Pedro Rodríguez’s win for BRM, the safety concerns remained, and Spa was out of the calendar until 1983, a year after legendary Gilles Villeneuve lost his life in one of the other venues of the Belgian Grand Prix, Zolder.
The new 7-kilometer track was designed in 1979, and it has remained similar until recent years, though the last sector was changed in 2007, with The Bus Stop changed and the main straight extended.
Peter Collins (1956), Jim Clark (1962), Michael Schumacher (1992), and Charles Leclerc (2019) all took their maiden GP win at Spa-Francorchamps. Schumacher made his F1 debut in 1991 at Spa and sealed his seventh and final Formula 1 World Championship in 2004 in the Belgian circuit.
In the 2000 race, two-time champion Mika Hakkinen made one of Formula 1’s greatest overtakes, with a backmarker in the middle of the track. Schumacher overtook the backmarker, Ricardo Zonta, on the left side of the Kemmel Straight before Les Combes. In contrast, Hakkinen overtook them both after taking the inside line into Les Combes and went on to win the race.
In the Hybrid Era, Red Bull, Mercedes, and Ferrari have won races at Spa.
This year’s race will be the 55th Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps.
The track seems to be a power-demanding one, but it has 20 corners and the middle sector creates a setup problem that prompts the need for the teams to produce a lot of downforce. It is not easy to have the right setup for Spa, but balance is key to performing an overall great lap. However, a car without high top speed will suffer a bit in the Kemmel Straight on Sunday, especially if that car starts on Pole Position and has no car in front to take advantage of the slipstream. Still, a fast car in the middle sector can have a proper shot at great results.
This year, Spa has undergone some big changes. In addition to some new asphalt on five corners, there are some new gravel traps on four corners, which are much closer to the side of the track. Drivers will need to pay more attention to track limits, and there’s also an increased chance of sharp gravel being dragged onto the surface.
The current layout is 7.004-km long and the track records are held by Lewis Hamilton, with an outright Fastest Lap of 1:41.253 min in 2020 and Valtteri Bottas, with the Fastest Lap during a race of 1:46.286 min at an average speed of 237.231 km/h in 2018.
2022 Belgian Grand Prix - Tyres
The dry tyres for the 2022 Belgian Grand Prix will be the C2 as P Zero White hard, C3 as P Zero Yellow Medium, and C4 as P Zero Red soft.
Pirelli explained their choice with a simple statement in a press release: “The asphalt is new between Turns 2 and 4, and Turns 8 and 9, with the bumps removed and increased grip.
Gravel traps have been added close to the track at Turns 1, 6, 7, and 9. The gravel features sharp stones, and there are also some sharp edges close to the concrete kerbing.
Spa is one of the most demanding circuits for tyres on the calendar, featuring particularly high lateral loads. The famous Eau Rouge-Raidillon complex is just one of the places where tyres are subjected to multiple forces: pushed into the ground by downforce and compression, while cornering at the same time.
Variable weather is always a famous hallmark of Spa, making an outing for the Cinturato Green intermediate or Cinturato Blue full wet tyre a distinct possibility.”
Pirelli’s motorsport director, Mario Isola, explained how the brand will look at some of the new challenges of the Spa circuit: “This year, Spa has undergone some of the biggest changes we have seen since we started going there in the modern era of Formula 1. But we know something of what to expect thanks to the 24-hour race last month – our biggest event of the year in terms of people and tyres – as well as some asphalt samples that we have taken.
In addition to some new asphalt on five corners, there are some new gravel traps on four corners, which are much closer to the side of the track. Drivers will need to pay more attention to track limits, and there’s also an increased chance of sharp gravel being dragged onto the surface. The epic nature of Spa remains unchanged though, with all the traditional challenges that make the circuit so exciting still in place.”
The main changes came in the Eau Rouge-Raidillon section, with a larger run-off being added to improve safety in the extraordinarily fast area.
The minimum starting pressures will be 25.0 psi (front) and 22.5 psi (rear).
2022 Belgian Grand Prix Weather Forecast
Friday, Aug 26th - FP1 & FP2
Max. temperature: 22°C
Chance of rain: 70%
Sunday, Aug 28th - Race
Conditions: Partly sunny
Max. temperature: 22°C
Chance of rain: 20%
Who will be on the 2022 Belgian Grand Prix Podium?
Six of the last seven editions of the Belgian Grand Prix have been won from Pole Position, which would not be something to easily predict, given the characteristics of the circuit and how overtaking is quite possible, especially at the start, where the pole-sitter is often found in trouble due to the two effect.
Since 2010, only one Belgian GP was won from outside the first row of the grid, with Daniel Ricciardo winning from fifth in 2014 for Red Bull.
Among current racers, Lewis Hamilton leads in both wins and pole positions at Spa-Francorchamps, but it will definitely be a tall task for Mercedes to replicate such results, although the weekend presents the possibilities of a three-way fight between the top teams.
Each of the Top 3 teams (Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari) have race-winners and pole-sitters at Spa, with Hamilton, Verstappen and Leclerc. It could be difficult to see a surprise result from teams outside the Top 3, but anything could happen at this iconic track, which could give us mixed results and variable weather (hopefully not as last year).
The prediction for the top three of the 2022 Belgian Grand Prix is 1. Max Verstappen, 2. Charles Leclerc, 3. Sergio Pérez.
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