Spa-Francorchamps (dpa) – Formula 1 is back from the summer break and is going full steam ahead with a triple pack.
Spa-Francorchamps, Zandvoort and Monza could become crucial stations on the road to Max Verstappen’s second world championship crown over the next three weekends. Around the Belgian Grand Prix on Sunday (3:00 p.m. / Sky), there are also some topics for the future in the spotlight.
Can the title race get exciting again?
With an 80-point lead over Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc, defending champion Max Verstappen already has a very comfortable cushion. The Red Bull star has won eight of 13 races this year. And in his native Belgium and his home country of the Netherlands, he still has two particularly motivating performances to look forward to. “I’m really looking forward to doing it again,” says Verstappen. Poor prospects for the red competition, especially as Ferrari have repeatedly lost important points this season due to breakdowns, errors and incapacitation. A lot of things would have to come together for the Scuderia to still be able to pull it off.
And the future of Mick Schumacher?
The 23-year-old still doesn’t have a contract for the coming year. His employer Haas is taking his time with the talks. Schumacher should provide additional arguments for continued employment on the road. However, his options for a different cockpit are limited. The top teams have already fixed their driver pairings for 2023. At McLaren, Alpine or Alfa Romeo, Schumacher is probably not the first choice when it comes to personnel considerations. A strong performance in the former saloon of his father Michael, who won his first race at Spa 30 years ago, would improve his son Mick’s bargaining position at Haas.
What future for the spa?
The place of the Ardennes roller coaster in the racing calendar is threatened. The track reportedly does not yet have a contract for 2023. Because races in Qatar and Las Vegas will be added and space may need to be made for China and South Africa, Formula 1 could avoid Belgium next year. “It’s all about the money these days and that’s the problem. It’s just a business,” said McLaren driver Lando Norris. France and possibly even Monaco are also on the brink.
And what about the Formula 1 plans of Audi and Porsche?
The fact that the two VW Group subsidiaries want to participate in the racing series from 2026 has long been no secret. During the summer break, the world association led the way by agreeing on the new engine formula. At least Audi is said to be able to release details of its Formula 1 entry very soon. Possibly even Spa.
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