F1: Belgian GP preview

F1 is back and everyone – from team bosses to fans – are desperate to get answers. The summer break, driver ‘silly season’, contracts and surprise moves have us all champing at the bit. With so much to consider here are what I think are the key points.

F1 doesn’t stop

The summer break is definitely a misnomer; nothing in this sport stops. Consequently Spa will be a chance to see which teams are coming back recharged, with updates and rule-bending concepts to challenge Mercedes with. One of the big talking points in Belgium this weekend could be which teams have closed gaps and which teams have taken the summer break too literally.

Distracting silly season

There is rarely anything of substance to the silly season rumours, yet they still have a way of unsettling teams, drivers and sponsors. Will Hamilton be unmoved by Rosberg inking a new contract, his extension sitting in limbo and rumours about Vettel? How will Button react to increasing speculation linking everyone from Alonso to Vettel, Grosjean and Bottas to his seat? And what will Ferrari, a team in the doldrums, make of more suggestions their talisman is fed up waiting for a decent car? All of it might be complete rubbish but it takes an exceptionally strong mentality to block all of that out. Conversely, will the likes of Ricciardo and Rosberg benefit from not being central to any of those rumours?

Time for a Williams win?

Spa is fast, sweeping and with long straights so thoughts naturally turn to the slippery and powerful Williams-Mercedes cars. Yet the eccentric Spa weather won’t necessarily favour grunt and straight line speed. Downpours, dry/wet running and tricky conditions can level things – which makes you think about Alonso and Red Bull. But without bad weather it seems certain that both will feel exasperated as they trundle along the Kemmel straight in the wake of various Merc powered cars.

And in all that I’ve forgotten to mention the neck-and-neck Championship battle. Which suggests 2014 is turning out to be a rather vintage year for Formula 1.

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