Pirelli boss sends warning to drivers ahead of 2022 Belgian Grand Prix

Spa-Francorchamps has undergone a number of changes.

This weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix kicks-off the second half of the 2022 Formula 1 season, as well as a European triple-header which includes Zandvoort and Monza.

After last season’s Belgian GP washout, rain is once again being forecast for this weekend; however, dramatic changes to Spa-Francorchamps means that a repeat of last year’s fiasco won’t be repeated.

It’s not just the circuit’s drainage which has undergone change, with developments having taken place at the Eau Rouge/Raidillon complex, Les Combes and at Turn 1.

Eau Rouge/Raidillon has undergone the biggest change, after a number of high-speed crashes left the circuit bosses with no choice but to make immediate changes.

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Lando Norris was the most recent Formula 1 driver to crash heavily at the complex, during qualifying last season.

The complex has been given more run-off at the top of the hill, meaning that should drivers crash, they’ll be less likely to hit the tyre barrier on the exit of Raidillon and bounce back onto the circuit, as Anthoine Hubert did in his fatal Formula 2 crash a few years ago.

As well as this, the complex has been resurfaced to reduce the bumps and most importantly, give drivers more grip, something which will hopefully reduce the number of crashes seen at the corners.

The same has also happened at Les Combes (Turns 8/9).

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The circuit will also appear more old school than usual this weekend, with a lot of the tarmacked run-off sections having been replaced by gravel, in order to stop drivers exceeding track limits on numerous occasions.

The La Source hairpin at Turn 1, where Kimi Raikkonen famously used all of the track limits, has had gravel pits fitted to stop drivers crossing the white line.

Should drivers wish to push too hard through the opening corner, then it could see them taking a trip through the gravel.

With so many changes having taken place, Formula 1 tyre manufacturer Pirelli, have warned all the drivers to “pay more attention”, with a high risk that gravel may get scattered across the track.

“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,” explained Pirelli Motorsport Director Mario Isola.

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“In addition to some new asphalt on five corners, there are new gravel traps on four corners, which are much closer to 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 [racing] surface.

“The epic nature of Spa remains unchanged though, with all the traditional challenges that make the circuit so exciting still in place.”