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FIA Discussing Cancellation Of Belgian Grand Prix Following Concerns From Multiple F1 Drivers – News18

Persistent rains in Spa, Belgium. (Credit: AP)

Following the recent tragic death of Dutch teenager Dilano van’t Hoff in a wet FRECA race at Spa, F1 drivers have raised their concerns regarding safety for the upcoming fixture this week.

Formula One drivers including the likes of George Russell, Charles Leclerc and Fernando Alonso have called on the FIA, to call off this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix if conditions become too dangerous due to rain.

Ahead of this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix, safety concerns were raised by Mercedes driver George Russell, who is also a director of the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association.

Heavy rain fell over the Spa-Francorchamps Circuit on Thursday, with the grizzly weather expected to continue throughout the weekend.

Although the forecast is better for Sunday’s Grand Prix, the weather is notoriously difficult to predict in the Ardennes and there is a fear in the paddock that the weekend’s running – which features a sprint race on Saturday – could be heavily disrupted.

That was the case in 2021 when the Grand Prix was abandoned after just two laps and zero racing because of the heavy rain. And safety is a major topic of discussion here after the death of Dutch teenager Dilano van’t Hoff in a wet FRECA race at this circuit just a few weeks ago.

Van ‘t Hoff died in an accident at Spa-Francorchamps earlier this month while racing in heavy rain at a Formula Regional European Championship by Alpine (FRECA).

The accident, which occurred on the Kemmel straight after Spa-Francorchamps’ famous Eau Rouge and Raidillon corners, sent shockwaves through the sport and resulted in Aston Martin driver Lance Stroll calling for changes to the layout of the circuit.

Van ‘t Hoff’s fatal accident was the second in four years at the circuit, following Anthoine Hubert’s death at Spa-Francorchamps during a Formula 2 race in 2019.

“The two questions are whether Spa is safe enough and then it’s the question of the conditions,” Russell said. “The fact is motorsport will always be dangerous when you’re travelling at these speeds.

“If you were to put a ranking of risk of all of the circuits, for sure Spa is one of the riskier circuits, along with Jeddah, along with Monaco, for example. Suzuka to a degree. Then when you’ve got a combination of the weather, it’s very challenging. It’s the visibility, we just have no visibility whatsoever. The way I describe it to try and give some perspective is driving down the motorway in pouring rain and turning your windscreen wipers off,” said Russell.

Forty-nine drivers have been killed here since 1924, including when Anthoine Hubert died four years ago in a multiple-car crash in an F2 race going through the circuit’s Eau Rouge-Raidillon corner, which has attracted the most calls for changes to be made to improve its safety.

“Following recent events, the FIA have to be bold with their decisions when it comes to safety when it comes to visibility,” he said. “Everybody wants to race but when you are going down that straight at over 200 miles an hour and you can’t see 50 metres in front of you, there will be huge incidents.”

Russell’s concerns were echoed by other drivers including Charles Leclerc, Lando Norris, Valtteri Bottas, ad Fernando Alonso who were all of the belief that the sport could not risk a repeat of Van ’t Hoff’s tragic accident.

Ferrari’s Leclerc said, “Visibility is really difficult to put into words what we are saying, apart from saying we are seeing nothing. We really don’t see anything when it’s raining. This is a really big problem for Formula One and for motorsport in general. We have quite a bit of downforce and there is quite a lot of spray and this causes quite a lot of incidents because we cannot react to what is in front.”

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