GRANDPRIX247 Formula 1 News Website Title Partner BC.GAME
leclerc rain saefty f1 spa ferrari wet belgian grand prix FP1

Leclerc: When is it safe to start a race?

leclerc rain saefty f1 spa ferrari wet belgian grand prix FP1

Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc, echoing his fellow drivers and indeed the F1 world at large, has urged Formula 1 and FIA officials to put safety first as heavy rain disrupts Friday sessions and is sure to affect racing during the Belgian Grand Prix weekend.

Rain poured down over Spa-Francorchamps after Leclerc asked the question: “When is it safe to start a race?” while cautioning other drivers not to be over-anxious in trying to get laps in on a wet track that has seen two fatalities in the past four years.

This weekend’s Grand Prix weekend format includes a Saturday sprint race, and qualifying for Sunday’s race is held on Friday. There is only one Friday practice session scheduled, and if the expected rain is too intense, that lone practice session could be washed away.

At Spa-Francorchamps on Thursday, Leclerc told reporters he doesn’t want drivers to grow impatient trying to get on track: “Safety needs to be the priority. Us drivers, we shouldn’t complain if we don’t have any laps if it’s not safe to do so, with everything that has happened.”

Leclerc won the first race of his F1 career at Spa-Franochamps in 2019, the day after F2 driver Anthoine Hubert was killed in a multi-car crash at the track.

“(It) was difficult to enjoy the moment as we’d lost Anthoine the day before,” Leclerc said of his first Grand Prix victory.

Earlier this month, Dutch teenage driver Dilano Van’t Hoff was killed on the circuit while competing in the Formula Regional European Championship on slippery and very wet conditions

Leclerc: This is a really big problem for Formula 1, for motorsport in general

On such a notoriously risky track, Leclerc says safety is the priority and governing body FIA must make that its prime focus: “When is it safe to start a race? This is another topic for FIA to look closely (at) especially on a weekend like this. To not feel the pressure of starting a race just because we didn’t have any running.”

Two years ago, six drivers from the all-female W Series needed medical checks following a heavy crash during a qualifying session on the same track. There was also a multi-car accident in an F3 race.

Spa’s layout features a notorious flat-out uphill section known as Eau Rouge, which is followed by a blind corner sequence into Radillon.

Accidents are often caused by drivers bouncing back across the track after initial contact with barriers, leaving them wide open to be hit by other cars following behind. That portion of the track can be a brief blindspot for drivers.

“It’s really hard to put into words what we are seeing, apart from saying we are seeing nothing. We are not exaggerating when we say we don’t see anything. This is a really big problem for Formula 1, for motorsport in general

“There’s quite a lot of spray and then this causes quite a lot of incidents just because we cannot react to what’s in front of us,” warned Leclerc.

The first practice session today was rain-affected. Largely a washout with cars running the Pirelli extreme wet tyres, with no real representative times set early on. A red flag stoppage caused by Williams rookie Logan Sargeant punted the wall at the end of the Kemmel straight.

The rain remained but drivers, Max Verstappen among them, bolted on Intermediates to suss them out ahead of what is more than likely to be a wet Qualifying later in the afternoon, on the first day of the Sprint Race format at Spa this weekend.