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More wet weather misery thwarts teams in practice at Spa
Posted By: James Allen  |  31 Aug 2012   |  3:24 pm GMT  |  22 comments

The Friday free practice sessions at Spa were a washout today, with hardly any competitive laps turned in the afternoon session, as heavy rain lashed the circuit.

No-one ventured out on circuit for almost 45 minutes as winds of 7 metres per second brought curtains of rain down on the track.

There was also heavy rain in the morning, but most of the cars did get some laps in.

It was the fourth Grand Prix in succession where rain has thwarted the teams who always seek to learn as much as possible on Friday about new parts on their cars.

“With no in-season testing we use these Fridays for testing and it’s very difficult when it’s rained off,” said McLaren’s Paddy Lowe.

Hungary’s second session was hit by rain, while Silverstone and Germany were both washouts like today, making it three washouts in four races.

It is frustrating for the teams, many of whom opted not to mount new parts onto the cars for risk of damaging them in a wet session where they would learn little anyway.

Ferrari ran a new rear wing, McLaren two different rear wing configurations, with Jenson Button trying out a wing with a “Monkey seat” small wing mounted on the rear crash structure, to help the interaction between the diffuser and the main elements of the rear wing. McLaren also had a wraparound aerodynamic piece sitting above the air intake of the side pods, to help generate pressure into the diffuser to help with rear end downforce.

Lotus were unable to learn much about the performance of its double DRS device which it was hoping to sign off to use in qualifying and the race this weekend.

In the morning session, where more laps were turned, Kamui Kobayashi set the fastest time while Felipe Massa suffered an engine failure, on an engine which was close to the end of its life, having already been extensively raced earlier in the year.

BELGIAN GRAND PRIX, Spa Francorchamps, Free Practice 1

1. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber 2m11.389s 20
2. Pastor Maldonado Williams 2m11.941s + 0.552s 14
3. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 2m12.004s + 0.615s 12
4. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 2m12.824s + 1.435s 15
5. Mark Webber Red Bull 2m13.191s + 1.802s 13
6. Sergio Perez Sauber 2m13.861s + 2.472s 16
7. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 2m14.210s + 2.821s 14
8. Valtteri Bottas Williams 2m14.660s + 3.271s 16
9. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 2m14.860s + 3.471s 12
10. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 2m15.402s + 4.013s 13
11. Paul di Resta Force India 2m15.812s + 4.423s 11
12. Timo Glock Marussia 2m16.409s + 5.020s 16
13. Nico Hulkenberg Force India 2m16.786s + 5.397s 10
14. Vitaly Petrov Caterham 2m16.788s + 5.399s 16
15. Lewis Hamilton McLaren 2m16.827s + 5.438s 5
16. Jenson Button McLaren 2m16.861s + 5.472s 8
17. Charles Pic Marussia 2m17.519s + 6.130s 14
18. Heikki Kovalainen Caterham 2m18.199s + 6.810s 10
19. Pedro de la Rosa HRT 2m19.546s + 8.157s 12
20. Dani Clos HRT 2m19.689s + 8.300s 12
21. Romain Grosjean Lotus 2m38.701s + 27.312s 9
22. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 2m40.749s + 29.360s 4
23. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus 2m46.580s + 35.191s 9
24. Felipe Massa Ferrari

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Wondering how bad was the rain say compared to Malaysia where they red flaged the race?

Is there an option where the practice session can be red flaged to the next day like they would with a severly wet qualifing session.

With the very little testing available through the season I though this could be an option.


Hard to say in terms of standing water, but the rain was definitely as hard as in Malaysia. The first 30 mins of FP2 it was torrential


Interesting sidepods on the McLaren for today. 🙂


Bring back at least SOME in-season testing, at designated circuits. When 75% of recent races have been rain-affected & all the work that most Teams are doing is just shelved, it seems daft.

I know about the cost-saving, or the public face of it anyway, but when zillions are being spent all the time, it would surely be a benefit to have some testing, particularly of aero.


James, I just read on the web that Mark Weber is getting a gear box penalty. Any info on that?


Story posted on the site


a bit frustrating after a long wait for the season to resume.

It should make for a busy P3 if weather permits as precast. The teams in this case should be concentrating on long runs so it won’t be so clear who may have the advantage over a lap.

I hope it won’t be a full wet race comes sunday, more so if the rain is as strong as today, seeing F1 cars start and follow the safety car for laps, doesn’t do much for me.. I usually find changing conditions a good recipe for entertaining races.

I so really want a race that rises to its hype after such a long wait.



If Lotus use this double DRS in FP3 (very likely Kimi might have it) and then decide that it does not want to use it, will there be enough time for it to make the car ready for quali? Other teams also will have similar issues I guess?


From what they are saying tonight, neither car will run it tomorrow in FP3.



Despite the fact that I wasn’t lucky enough to be selected as a member of your Road Trip crew i still made it to Spa today and saw that Hamilton at about halfway through FP1 walked over to the Ferrari- and Mercedes-boxes, seemingly to have a quick chat, do you have any idea what he was up to?

Btw, n-joy the sim!! Again!!:-)


Well done for putting up with the rain!

He was taking a look around. He noticed that Red Bull’s chief mechanic isn’t here so they have a stand-in running the pitstops and doing the lollipop. Big responsibility


I love tiny snippets such as these! More please James! It shows drivers who think outside the box (Wow I HATE that phrase!! ;-)). Reminds me of Schumy always studying the other cars at the end of races – back in the days when he was winning, of course…


“7 metres per second brought curtains of rain down on the track.”

And exactly how fast is that in English?


Fifteen miles per hour.


That’s 25.20 KM/H 🙂


About 125 furlongs an hour.


15.66 mph


about 15.6 mile per hour. That makes more sense now?




Would extreme wet/monsoon tyres help?

A shame the teams didnt get to run their upgrades. If the rest of the weekend is mostly dry as predicted, tomorrow practice is going to be critical… and very busy!!


“Would extreme wet/monsoon tyres help?”

A little, However they make visability worse because they clear more water & they still woudn’t eliminate aquaplaning completely.

The biggest problem with monsoon tyres is that the cost of development & shipping them around the globe make them financially unfeasable considering how little they would likely be used.

Also consider that the biggest reason nobody ran today wasn’t necisarily because of tyres but more because there was nothing to really learn since the rest of the weekend is forecast to be dry.


Although the lack of running today is not very good for the fans both at the track & watching on TV it does make the remainder of the weekend interesting as nobody sitll knows where all the teams are in relation to thier pace.

Free practice 3 will give abit of a clue but I would guess most temas will concentrate on long-run race simulation all of which means qualifying should be very interesting indeed!

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