Leclerc issues plea to change Spa layout ahead of 2023 Belgian GP

Charles Leclerc gave an impassioned speech ahead of the 2023 Belgian Grand Prix.

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Charles Leclerc pinpointed where Spa needs to change to become safer ahead of a 2023 Belgian Grand Prix sprint weekend that’s expected to see rain on all three days, less than a month after Dilano van ‘t Hoff died in torrential conditions at the circuit.

Van ‘t Hoff‘s death in a Formula Regional race reignited the safety debate around Spa and the heavy rain forecast for the Belgian GP weekend has fans fearing it will go the same way as the washed-out 2021 edition of the race.

Leclerc identified where the circuit could become safer – less than four years after Anthoine Hubert was also killed at Raidillon during an F2 race.

“I think there are some changes that can make a difference,” Leclerc told the media. “We should have a bit more space on the left and right of for the walls after Eau Rouge.

“The way it’s done at the moment, if you lose control of the car you’re bouncing on the walls and have very high chances of finding yourself in the way again and I think this is probably a change that we should consider in the future.”

“After that is visibility, it’s really difficult to put into words what we are seeing apart from that we see nothing but we are not exaggerating when we say we don’t see anything.

“We really don’t see anything when it’s raining and this is a really big problem for Formula 1, any single-seaters now we have quite a bit of downforce. There’s quite a lot of spray and then this causes quite a lot of incidents because we just can’t react to what there is in front.”

Hubert‘s death occurred in dry conditions but was similar to van ‘t Hoff‘s incident as he hit the wall then bounced back onto the track before being hit again at high speed by another driver.

Leclerc was close friends with Hubert and went on to take his first F1 win the day after the Frenchman’s death, causing emotional podium scenes in 2019.

However, he admitted remodelling the corners of Eau Rouge and Raidillon themselves wasn’t necessary.

Leclerc: FIA must be brave enough in torrential conditions

Max Verstappen leads the pack around Spa in the soaking 2021 Belgian Grand Prix | Dan Mullan/Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Leclerc also urged the stewards to be brave in the face of torrential rain at the 2023 Belgian GP and only send drivers out if they’re sure conditions are safe.

In 2021, conditions were deemed too wet for any competitive running so cars only ran for a few laps behind the safety car to classify the result of the race, resulting in the shortest race in F1 history.

“The FIA must not feel the pressure of starting a race, it’s obvious to say but safety comes first and this needs to be the priority,” Leclerc added. “And as drivers we shouldn’t complain if we don’t have any laps because it is not safe to do so with everything that has happened.”

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