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Sep 01 2012

F1 2012: Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps Qualifying

Hard to believe it’s already been 5 weeks since Hungaroring but for the first 2 we had the XXX Olympiad to amuse us.  They take their vacations seriously which is why there was a lot of development work just before mid-season most of which they’ve still been unable to test except during racing because of the execrable weather.

Practice at Spa was just like that with very little track time at all and that using the Wets and Inters.  Lotus has a new passive F-Duct (spoils the airflow over the rear wing reducing drag and downforce) they’ve never gone fast enough to use.

So qualifying as always is a crapshoot, Spa itself is considered one of the fastest tracks on the circuit when it’s not raining which it usually is.  Rapid elevation changes can starve the engines of oil and cause failures.  Massa’s engine blew up in P1, but it was race used and there was no penalty.

While it’s fair enough to call this mid-season, the majority of races have already been run and there is a certain urgency for Teams that feel they are in contention to improve their positions or stave off rivals.  To me the story line at the top is whether Alonso can continue to make that piece of junk he’s driving look good and Red Bull will continue its malaise.  McLaren as always could be great if their race management wasn’t so damn stupid and Lotus is putting a ton of work into breaking the top 3.  Mercedes waves it’s hands in the air and just dosn’t care, Force India keeps thinking they can steal one.  The announcers will continue to sentimentally root Williams but they are years away.

Counting this there are 9 races left in 13 weeks before the end of the season on November 25th.  Spa and Monza next week are the last ones in Europe.

The full slate of Speed support broadcasts, Debrief, Practice, and Qualifying will be repeated Sunday morning from 12:30 to 4:30 with the GP 2 race starting at 6 am and the Belgian Gran Prix at 8.

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