Death Track? Ahead of the 2023 Belgium GP at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, concerns have arisen regarding whether the grand prix should be called off if the conditions become too dangerous.
The Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, frequently referred to as Spa, a 7.004 km (4.352 miles) track, is located in Stavelot, Belgium.
This circuit has hosted Formula One Grand Prix since 1925, except in 2003 and 2006.
Besides Formula 1, Spa hosts several other international events, including the 24 Hours of Spa, the World Endurance Championship 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps.
Since the Spa circuit has been open for racing, it has seen some brutal accidents, and some have ended in death.
The most recent one is that of the Dutch racer Dilano van’t Hoff on July 1, 2023, during the 2023 Formula Regional European Championship.
While racing under extremely wet conditions, the racers had less visibility, resulting in the accident, taking the life of the 18-year-old young racer.
Previously in 2019, a Formula 2 racing driver Anthoine Hubert lost his life during the 2019 FIA Formula 2 Championship while driving the Dallara F2 2018.
Calling Off The Belgian Grand Prix Regarding Safety Concerns?
With the surrounding rain and extreme weather conditions, Formula One drivers have called on the FIA to call off the weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix.
While racing in heavy rain, Van’t Hoff lost his life, and this resulted in Aston Martin driver Lance Stroll calling for changes to the layout of the circuit.
Ahead of the Belgium GP, the weather was expected to be wet throughout, and Mercedes driver George Russell also raised safety concerns.
He said Spa definitely comes among the riskiest circuits, and canceling the race would be better than seeing a huge incident.
Despite all the raised concerns, the race weekend was underway, and final practice took place on Friday, July 28.
Moreover, during their qualifying race 1, most of the racers were struggling to find the grip with so much rain on the track.
By qualifying 3, all ten racers looked comfortable and improved their qualifying time, with Max Verstappen on the pole crossing the line eight-tenth of a second ahead of Charles Leclerc.
However, Verstappen has to serve a five-place penalty and will be started P6 on Sunday.
Pierre Gasly leads tributes to Anthoine Hubert at Belgium GP Circuit
The Frenchman invited all teams from F1, F2 and F3 to take part in the tribute.
Pierre Gasly felt this was the best way to pay tribute to his close friend Anthoine.
The Alpine driver said, “I’m someone that is emotional.”
“I think I link places with emotions, and I’ve had the worst emotions of my life here. But at the same time, it’s one of my favorite tracks, so it’s very contradictory.”
“I love this track, and I love racing this track, but at the same time I’ll never forget what I felt going down these stairs [in the paddock] when my parents told me the news.”
“It’s obviously tough, but I accept the sport that we do, and it’s things you have got to live with. It’s also life, as sad as it can be.”
Gasly laid flowers at the spot, the Kemmel Straight, where his friend lost his life back in 2019. Since he lost his friend, the French driver has laid flowers at the site of the crash every year.