The Belgian GP is always one of the most unpredictable races when it comes to the weather forecast. So, can fans look forward to – or fear – rain at this weekend’s race?
A mainstay on the calendar since the first World Championship season in 1950, Spa-Francorchamps is part of the fabric of Formula 1 history. The daunting, seven-kilometre-long course is one of the fastest that drivers face every year, featuring many elevation changes and fast corners.
In addition, the length of the track means that if wet weather sets in, mistiming your pit stop can have catastrophic consequences. Also, while one part of the track may be dry, another may be soaked, due to the vast distance covered. Because of this unpredictability, the Belgian Grand Prix is always an unmissable event.
It has also seen many unforgettable F1 moments as a result, with the weather often adding to the drama.
A rainy history
For instance, at the 1998 Belgian GP, rain was a strong factor in one of the most expensive pileups in F1 history. After David Coulthard spun on a wet drain cover, his McLaren triggered a pinball-like crash with 13 cars involved. This prompted a red flag and a race re-start.
All the more impressively, the wet weather helped Jordan take their first-ever race win in the 1998 race. Damon Hill crossed the line first, with Jordan teammate Ralf Schumacher completing a one-two for the team.
More recently, rain caused a rather underwhelming, yet still memorable, 2021 race weekend. An unprecedented level of rain descended on Spa, with qualifying absolutely soaked. This, therefore, caused a few surprises in grid position. Most notably, George Russell put his Williams, a backmarker car, in P2 with a stunning lap.
On Sunday, the weather somehow got even worse. The flooded track was basically undrivable, with the field tiptoeing behind the safety car for two laps.
Unfortunately, this was all the action that the fans got to see. Officials abandoned the race, awarding half points to the finishing positions from the two safety car-led laps.
But this did have one positive point. George Russell claimed his first ever podium, and his team’s first for four years. Meanwhile, Max Verstappen took the race win on his way to the 2021 World driver’s championship.
Heading into the 2022 Belgian GP, fans hope for a more reasonable weather forecast that will enable them to actually see a race. So, what is the outlook for this weekend?
Belgian GP 2022: What is the weather forecast?
The weather looks positive ahead of F1’s first race following the summer break. When predicting the weather, though, different outlets have differing reports.
The Met Office predicts a pretty bright weather forecast throughout the Belgian GP weekend, with a low chance of rain on race day. However, they do report the potential for light showers just before qualifying on Saturday. If this is the case, teams will have to contend with the headache of changing track conditions.
In contrast, Weather.com predict a much wetter forecast at Spa on their day-by-day outlook. They suggest a 70% chance of rain on Saturday, with a 40% chance on Sunday. Additionally, Weather.com reports a chance of thunder, too.
Finally, BBC Weather point to somewhere in-between the previous two claims. Their hour-by-hour predictions suggest a 15% chance of rain from the start of qualifying at 3pm. Meanwhile, on Sunday, BBC lists a 19% likelihood of wet weather affecting the Grand Prix.
Given Spa’s flair for the dramatic, you can never be sure what weather forecast you will get at the Belgian GP. Hopefully, the conditions allow for an exciting weekend – and a full 44-lap race this time.
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