First day at the Spa Francorchamps track may have lacked action in terms of cars, but it surely did not disappoint with the press conferences and other things that were happening today.
First of all, it seems that the Force India cars have went through the FIA technical check-ups and are allowed to race during this weekend. As a remainder, before the summer break the job-positions of 400 people from Force India have been endangered due to the problems this team has for already quite some time. During the summer break the Force India team has been bought by the father of Lance Stroll, but currently nothing is fixed as some Russian investors did not agree with the move by Stroll. During the press conference Lance Stroll said, when asked about the situation with his father, he said he is completely focused on his work in Williams, and answered in a „safe” way all the questions if his switch to Force India in the next race is possible. Despite that, the Motorhome of Force India as well as the Hospitality are left without the name stickers, which can confirm the rumours that Force India will undergo a name change maybe even during this racing weekend.
Beside the continuity of the saga of troubles for Force India, it was a tough day for Daniel Ricciardo due to the press conference and his bombshell decision to leave Red Bull Racing in the end of the 2018 season and join Renault Sport F1 alongside Nico Hulkenberg from 2019 onwards. When asked, he said that the decision is only due to how he feels, not a bad atmosphere in the team, the presence of Max Verstappen nor the upcoming deal with Honda. Ricciardo admitted that he just looks for a new challange and nothing else. On the other hand, the one that will take his spot in Red Bull, Pierre Gasly, has been as excited as ever and cannot wait to join the team and improve his performance even more. When asked about it, he admitted he is very happy to be a part of one of the top 3 teams in F1, especially after only one season in Toro Rosso and F1 in general. There has been also some fuzz going around Fernando Alonso as well as his fellow Spaniard Carlos Sainz Jr, due to Alonso's reitrement and Sainz Jr's change from Renault F1 to McLaren. Fernando Alonso in a press conference admitted that he is as well looking for new challanges, and wanted to leave F1 when he is still a strong driver, although he does not say that this is a definite „goodbye” to F1. On the other hand, Sainz Jr said that he is leaving Red Bull on good terms and is very excited to be a part of the McLaren family, since it is not possible to be dissapointed with this team and it was his dream to be a part of it for a very long time. In other news, Charles Leclerc has expressed a lot of hope for the future improvement of Alfa Romeo Sauber. When asked about his goals or hopes for this second part of the season, he admitted that it is not only performing well but also already working on the next year's season. Leclerc has been positive about the progress and the current performance, and he hopes that soon the Alfa Romeo team can show even more and catch up even more with the rest of the grid. To summarize it quickly, the first day of F1 back in the paddock after the summer break has been eventful and full of information. Without a doubt the upcoming days are gonna bring even more things to the spotlight, and might clear up some unknowns about the future of some drivers and teams.