Carlos Sainz was fastest at the end of FP1 for the 2022 Belgian Grand Prix, with Charles Leclerc a close second.
A Red flag in the final 20 minutes of the session caused by Kevin Magnussen’s Haas who broke down on track, as well as a late rain shower meant that non of the other drivers, namely Max Verstappen could improve.
The Dutchman ended up third fastest behind the Ferrari duo.
Here are the fastest sectors so far in FP1 while we wait for the green flag… 👇
Formula 1 sent us off into the summer break with some interesting developments to ponder, starting with Sebastian Vettel’s decision to retire at the end of this season, following almost immediately by Fernando Alonso’s decision to jump ship to Aston Martin replacing the German.
From their matters became interesting as Alpine announced their reserve driver Oscar Piastri would be promoted to replace the departing Spaniard only for the Australian to deny his approval, as he was linked with Daniel Ricciardo’s seat at McLaren.
With McLaren announcing Ricciardo will be leaving the team at the end of 2022 with a big severance cheque, another piece of the puzzle was put in place, as we still wait on McLaren’s confirmation of Piastri alongside Lando Norris, while we anticipate where Ricciardo will be landing, as he adamantly claims he still has unfinished business in F1.
On another hand, the FIA ratified the power unit regulations for 2026, and Audi wasted no time announcing their F1 plans, which was somehow underwhelming as they only confirmed they will be a PU supplier, still finalizing their chassis plans. Given the name and size of Audi, a grander announcement would have been more fit.
Just after Audi announced their F1 entry, Alfa Romeo announced their exit at the end of 2023, making the much talked about Audi/Sauber deal more credible.
Porsche’s plans are yet to be announced, however, their tie-up with Red Bull is the worst kept secret in the paddock, as their official announcement will provide the finer details of the agreement.
The FIA also announced the revisions for the technical regulations for 2023 to sort out ‘porpoising’ with their technical directive TD039 fully effective in Spa, which for the first time in years, debuted some revisions on the track covering several corners, run-off areas, as well as a new track surface.
Will Red Bull and Ferrari slow down, while Mercedes goes faster? Let’s see what Spa tells us…
Spa FP1 Session Highlights
News emerged ahead of FP1, that Charles Leclerc will be receiving a grid penalty, starting his race from the back of the grid as Ferrari have decided to install a new power unit on the #16 F1-75, including the newly upgraded hybrid system.
Not a good start for the Monegasque’s quest to close the 80-point gap to Max Verstappen, but the fact that the latter will also be starting from the back of the grid due to extra power unit elements as well will serve as some consolation.
Lando Norris, Esteban Ocon, Mick Schumacher, and Valtteri Bottas will also be receiving grid penalties for new power unit components.
FP1 began under some really thick clouds, but the track surface was bone dry as action resumed for the final part of this 2022 season.
Various teams brought some upgrades the most major one being for McLaren who brought new: Diffuser, Rear Wing, Beam Wing, Rear Brake Winglet, Engine Cover, Cooling Louvres, Front Trackrod Fairing.
Mercedes also debuted an updated floor, front wing endplates, and a revised rear wing. The eight-time Constructors’ Champions are celebrating 55 years of AMG this weekend with special retro numbers on their cars.
Red Bull brought a new engine cover and rear wishbone shroud, while Ferrari has a new rear wing and new beam wing for their F1-75.
AlphaTauri had Liam Lawson, who currently drives in F2 for Carlin, in the seat instead of Pierre Gasly as mandated by the regulations that require teams to give young driver some track time in F1 cars during practice sessions.