The iconic Spa Francorchamps circuit

The summer break is over and F1 returns for the Belgian Grand Prix. The Spaa-Francorchamps is the longest circuit on the calendar and a favorite for fans and drivers alike. Refreshing themselves during the summer break, it’s time to see if Nico can make his move against Lewis Hamilton. Ferrari would also want to redeem themselves, following a bad run till the break.  Things to look forward to at the Belgian Grand Prix are :

 

Can Nico fight back in the championship ?

Nico Rosberg has been on a dreadful run, as Lewis Hamilton dominated. Not only did they collide, he has been in trouble with the stewards as well. The summer break should have allowed him to refocus after some much needed rest. the Belgian Grand Prix is not a strong race for Nico, who is yet to taste victory at Spaa.

Lewis might have a double grid penalty.
Lewis might have a double grid penalty.

This year, it could be his. Lewis is considering to take in new parts for his engine, which would demote him down the order. There should be little or no competition for Nico should this happen, and it could give him that much needed confidence boost for the rest of the season, if he trumps Lewis here.

For Lewis, the Belgian Grand Prix, could be the venue for his 50th Grand Prix win, a feat thats only bettered by Alain Prost and Michael Schumacher. The possible engine penalties, make this very doubtful.

 

Can Ferrari redeem themselves starting from Belgium ?

After the Spanish  Grand Prix, Ferrari’s performances have been dreadful. The heated conversations on the radio between Seb and the team do not paint a good picture that all is well. This has allowed Red Bull to claw their way into contention for second in the constructors championship, and allow their drivers to fight for 3rd as well.

Vettel and Ferrari have had some pretty intense radio conversations during races this season.
Vettel and Ferrari have had some pretty intense radio conversations during races this season.

With 9 races to go in the season, and major rule changes for 2017, Ferrari’s developmental focus will be for 2017. However, they should still be able to make marginal improvements to the car and improve on their relationship between driver and team. Ferrari have an aggreessive strategy, with 1 Medium, 5 Soft and 7 Super Soft tyres. This would set the foundations for an interesting battle with Red Bull Racing.

Both their drivers are multiple race winners here. Kimi’s 4 wins are the most of any current driver. His win in 2009, was the last time Ferrari tasted victory here.

 

Manor’s new boy: Esteban Ocon

Manor made a mid-season driver change. Rio Haryanto has been replaced by Renault test driver, Esteban Ocon as his sponsors could not meet their financial obligations to Manor F1. Ocon will make his F1 debut at the Belgian Grand Prix. He has had success here in the GP3 and Formula 3, finishing 2nd in both series.

Esteban Ocon makes his debut at the 2016 Belgian Grand Prix for Manor F1
Esteban Ocon makes his debut at the 2016 Belgian Grand Prix for Manor F1

It will be interesting to see how he fares against Pascal Weherlein, who has taken the Manor car into the points this season. Renault’s 2017 driver line up is yet to be confirmed. A strong second half of the season starting with the Belgian Grand Prix could see Ocon land a seat there.

 

It’s make or break for the Renault drivers !

Renault’s return to the sport has been one of struggles. Just 6 points are to their name, through a 7th place finish of Magnussen. Both drivers, have shown occasional sparks of brilliance, in what has been a quiet season for the team.

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While the team principal has been full of praise, both know they need to show they are the future for the team. With Esteban Ocon also getting a race nod, it might prove to be a tight battle over the next two races. The team are expecting to announce the line up in September.  A strong race performance here,  and in Monza might just help these two secure their future for 2017.

Daniil’s future in the sport.

Danil Kyvat is a talented racer, but has been down hill since his switch to Torro Rosso. With just 2 points since the switch, he has been out performed by Carlos Sainz. While engine failures have not helped in some races, he has been woeful for the last few races.

Daniil needs to buck up for the remainder of the season.
Daniil needs to buck up for the remainder of the season.

It’s sad as at one point, he was the youngest point setter, and has started 48 grand prix races.  It’s for a driver who is not even 23. While his immediate future for the sport won’t be in doubt, it will hamper his chances for getting a switch to a top team in the future. Knowing Red Bull, they may replace him, also if results are not satisfactory.

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