Drivers and engineers were surprised on Thursday when they inspected the Spa-Francorchamps circuit.
Diagonal grooves have been cut into the asphalt covering the entire upper half of the starting grid, from first to twelfth places.
Germany's Auto Motor und Sport said championship leader Sebastian Vettel is worried the grooves might disadvantage those who qualify best for the Belgian grand prix.
"There is probably a disadvantage for the start, because you will have less tyre on the track," said the German.
Correspondent Michael Schmidt asked F1 race director Charlie Whiting for an explanation.
"In this area we needed better drainage for when it rains," he said.
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