After a summer break with plenty of off-track action F1 returns to the legendary Spa-Francorchamps. This power sensitive circuit means the fight for the win will be between Mercedes and Ferrari, however, a chance of rain could bring Red Bull into the fight. The midfield battle will be close, as always. Haas continue to edge closer to Renault for fourth in the Constructors championship on a track which should suit the American team.
Force India have been in the headlines throughout the break due to their financial struggles. Lawrence Stroll bought part of the team, but there is a strong possibility that they may be forced to sit out this race. The drivers are maintaining a business as usual attitude while the team have removed all the Force India branding from the paddock. They may be forced to run under a different name which would reset their points tally from the whole season.
Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari will receive a significant boost in their title challenge as they introduce the third spec of their engine. Customer teams Sauber and Haas have been using this engine for the past few races with no problems. Ferrari hope this upgrade will further increase their power advantage over Mercedes as the majority of the tracks left on the calendar are power sensitive.
The German driver will be keen to start cutting into Lewis Hamilton's 24 point lead. It's the largest lead in the championship for either driver and with only nine races remaining. Reliability will be a key factor as it has already proved this season.
There is a chance of rain on Friday and Saturday which could make practice useless and create an exciting qualifying session. A wet qualifying in Hungary strongly favored Mercedes after Ferrari had been quickest in the dry all weekend. Red Bull were surprisingly slow in the wet which is normally their strong point.
The majority of teams will bring sizable upgrades as the European calendar comes to a close and focus shifts to the 2019 cars. This is a critical point in the season as teams begin to balance their resources between the current cars and development for next year.
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