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Formula 1: a flood of penalties presents the race stewards with a dilemma

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A flood of penalties presents the race stewards with a dilemma

Audi will enter Formula 1 in 2026

Audi’s entry into Formula 1 for the 2026 season is perfect, albeit initially as an engine manufacturer. This was announced by the company from Ingolstadt in Spa-Francorchamps, where the Belgian Grand Prix will be held.

Because of a rule violation, six drivers have to start from last place at the Belgian Grand Prix. This poses a problem for the Formula 1 race commissioners. In qualifying, a tricky arithmetic game takes place.

Wowing to a flood of penalties, Formula 1 expects a tricky arithmetic game when determining the starting grid for the Belgian Grand Prix. Led by world champion Max Verstappen, half a dozen drivers have to start from the back at the 14th round of the season on Sunday. The reason is the unauthorized change of engine components. The race stewards therefore punished Red Bull’s championship leader Verstappen, his Ferrari rival Charles Leclerc and Haas driver Mick Schumacher.

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Also affected are McLaren’s Lando Norris, Alpine driver Esteban Ocon and Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas. Because of the extent of the penalties, theoretically all offenders should be at the bottom at the start. The exact starting position will be determined after the qualifying result on Saturday (4 p.m. / Sky).

First among the last?  For Max Verstappen, qualifying is about damage limitation

First among the last? For Max Verstappen, qualifying is about damage limitation

Credit: AFP/JOHN THYS

Hope for Mercedes

Because it is usually easier to overtake in a race at Spa-Francorchamps, the teams decided to accept the penalties. This gives them fresher engines for the rest of the season. In Formula 1 there have been restrictions on the use of drives for a long time. If the limit is exceeded, a fixed penalty system takes effect.

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Emotional young woman working on laptop on blue background.

Chronic back pain

In the overall World Cup standings, defending champion Verstappen is already 80 points ahead of Leclerc. The sanctions against the duo, which shared eleven of the 13 race victories this year, open up opportunities for other competitors at Spa. Carlos Sainz in the Ferrari, Sergio Perez in the Red Bull and Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and George Russell should have the highest hopes.

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