2023 Belgian GP: FIA in hot water after controversial decision

Lance Stroll and Fernando Alonso were both eliminated in SQ2 at the 2023 Belgian GP.

Lance Stroll caused a red flag in the closing seconds of SQ2 at the Belgian Grand Prix on Saturday, after being fitted with the slicks “too early”.

The track conditions in the sprint shootout were very similar to what they were like in Friday’s qualifying session, where a dry line only became visible on Q3.

On Saturday morning, a dry line did appear in places during SQ2; however, there were several significant wet patches.

Stroll risked it nevertheless, but on the Medium compound bizarrely.

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It was immediately asked why was on the Medium compound and not the Soft, something the FIA clarified.

The FIA revealed that they hadn’t declared the track as being wet, in order to prevent the teams from having free tyre choice.

In a dry sprint shootout, the Medium compound has to be used during SQ1 and SQ2, with the Softs not being available until SQ3.

Considering the track was fully wet in SQ1, many were left baffled as to why the FIA strategically chose not to declare the track as wet.

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Stroll ended up crashing at Turn 9, putting his participation in the sprint race at risk.

The Canadian’s car simply just went straight, despite him turning the steering wheel.

He admitted that it was too early for the dry compound, with the circuit having been “really wet” in places.

“Well, we tried putting the slick tyres on, but it was still too early. It was really wet. Yeah, unfortunately, it didn’t work out,” Stroll said after the sprint shootout, as reported by PlanetF1.com.

“We just decided to go for it. It’s always tricky in these conditions and it was a bit early.

“It’s always hard to kind of judge and anticipate how much the track is gonna dry so it was one of those.”

The Canadian will start from P14 as a result of his crash in SQ2, which saw him not progress to SQ3.

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He recognises that the sprint will be “tricky”, but he’s still going to see what he can achieve.

“We’ll see what we can do,” he said.

“It’s gonna be tricky from P14 but there’s still opportunity.”