Bonjour, et bienvenue à le Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps! After the seemingly endless Summer Shutdown, the championship resumes for Round 12 at the iconic Spa-Francorchamps for the Belgian Grand Prix. The track runs clockwise for 44 laps, the fewer number of laps given that Spa is the longest circuit on the calendar, at an immense 7.004km. Comprised of a mix of highs-peed corners, slow(er) corners, and dramatic elevation changes, Spa is a very challenging track.
Turn 1, La Source, marks the slowest corner on the track before (if you make it out unscathed) opening up to Eau Rouge. There is a risk of cars bottoming out* at the bottom of Eau Rouge, the long sweeping corner should therefore dictate drivers’ ride-height for the rest of the circuit.
With DRS assistance along the Kemmel Straight into sector two, Les Combes offers a lovely opportunity to overtake. The second sector is made up of slow corners (that’s a relative term there…) where mechanical grip is important. A good exit at Turn 15 for the Curve Paul Frère is needed to take Blanchimont at full speed, and into the Bus Stop Chicane for another opportunity to overtake.
Spa is a low drag, lower downforce circuit. So an aerodynamically efficient setup is favoured to assist in straight-line speed for sectors one and three. Teams opting for more rear wing are typically going for a stronger sector two. Despite having 19 corners, brake wear is considered light, giving an indication of just how little braking is needed.
The Belgian Grand Prix is a favourite among drivers and spectators; it’s not hard to see why.
* Lol, bottom.