Daniel Ricciardo: F1 drivers aware of Spa danger

The Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps has come under plenty of scrutiny after fresh safety concerns

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Daniel Ricciardo is unconcerned by the dangers of Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, ahead of a potential wet race weekend at the 2023 Belgium Grand Prix.

The Australian made a grand return to AlphaTauri at the Hungarian GP, finishing 13th, in what certainly could have been a points finish, if not for an unavoidable Lap 1 collision. 

Coming into his second race weekend, Ricciardo may have hoped for an event-free time on the track, however, with rain forecast from Thursday through to Sunday, it looks to be a potentially tricky time behind the wheel for all the drivers.

Though despite this, Ricciardo seems unfazed by the rain, and the potential dangers it may bring.

“As a race car driver, we’re aware of this from a young age,” Ricciardo told the media ahead of the Belgian GP.

“I think it’s a lot safer over the years, but there are still some dangers so it’s something that we’re aware of, but we’ve just kind of learned to live with it because as a driver you can’t really think about it.”

It was just a few weeks ago that Spa tragically claimed the life of 18-year-old Formula Regional driver Dilano van `t Hoff, and in 2019 witnessed the passing of Formula 2 driver Anthoine Hubert.

Riccardo believes that these accidents serve as a reminder of the dangers of the sport.

“When accidents do happen, it’s a reminder, because I think over time, the risks you feel become smaller when nothing has happened for a while,” Ricciardo added.

“It’s not something coming into the weekend, you necessarily think of, but we are aware of what happened recently, but also a few years ago, as well.”

Daniel Ricciardo of AlphaTauri during 2023 Belgian GP practice| Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

New F1 cars harder to drive in the wet 

In 2022, Formula 1 gave itself a makeover, introducing a new generation of cars, which was one of the biggest technical changes in F1 history, led to a drastic aerodynamic overhaul which has seen the cars require a lot more downforce.

For this reason, Ricciardo believes these cars struggle in the wet.

“These cars are tricky in the wet, getting the temperatures in tyres makes it tricky for us. Sometimes the grip is there and sometimes it’s not, it’s very on and off,” Ricciardo said.

“This makes it very difficult to really control a slide in the wet because the lack of grip makes it a lot more snappy and a bit more unpredictable.

“I think it’s when you also have just a lot of downforce on the cars it creates that more high grip to low grip sensation in the wet. I think lower downforce cars are easier because you’re more in like a constant flight so it’s a bit slower, a bit more predictable.”

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