Friday, August 23, 2013


The Belgian Grand Prix is an automobile race, part of the Formula One World Championship. The first national race of Belgium was held in 1925 at the Spa region's race course, an area of the country that had been associated with motor sport since the very early years of racing. To accommodate Grand Prix motor racing, the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps race course was built in 1921 but it was only used for motorcycle racing until 1924. After the 1923 success of the new 24 hours of Le Mans in France, the Spa 24 Hours, a similar 24-hour endurance race, was run at the Spa track.

Since inception, Spa-Francorchamps has been known for its unpredictable weather. At one stage in its history it had rained at the Belgian Grand Prix for twenty years in a row. Frequently drivers confront a part of the course that is clear and bright while another stretch is rainy and slippery. The Belgian Grand Prix was designated the European Grand Prix six times between 1925 and 1973, when this title was an honorary designation given each year to one grand prix race in Europe.

Since the early 1920s, the Circuit of Spa-Francorchamps has resounded with a thousand and one fabulous tales of those heroic times in which they drove on earth roads at the wheel of awesome machines. Conceived by Liège aristocrats within a magic triangle between Francorchamps, Malmédy and Stavelot, its route through the magnificent scenery of the Ardennes has taken on a force of character that has stood the test of time. It is one of the most popular races on the Formula One calendar, due to the scenic and historical Spa-Francorchamps circuit being a favorite of drivers and fans.

Qualifying is not hugely significant to final race result; the pole sitter has only won the race four times in the last 12 years. Overtaking is not a problem at Spa and the DRS wing makes it very straighforward anyway.


Track length : 7.004 kilometres
Race distance : 44 laps (308.052 kilometres)
Corners : 19 corners in total
Average speed : 238km/h
Aerodynamic setup : Medium downforce
Top speed : 322km/h (with Drag Reduction System active on rear wing) – 312km/h without
Full throttle : 70% of the lap (high)
Total fuel needed for race distance : 144 kilos (high)
Fuel consumption : 3.2kg per lap (high)
Time spent braking : 14% of lap
Number of brake zones : 6
Brake wear : Low
Loss time for a pit stop : 18 seconds (average)
Total time needed for pit stop : 21 seconds
Fuel effect (cost in lap time per 10kg of fuel carried) : 0.38 seconds (high)

Lap record : 1min 45.108secs (Kimi Raikkonen, 2004)
2012 pole : Jenson Button McLaren 1:47.573
2012 winner : Button
2012 race lap record : Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1:47.263, 2009


Spa is notorious for fickle weather. With such a long lap, it can be raining on one part of the circuit and the rest can be dry. Also the temperatures can fluctuate dramatically, so it can be 25 degrees one day and 15 degrees the next. This can have a significant effect on the cars. The forecast for this weekend is for unusually warm and sunny weather, with temperatures around 22 degrees. However this can change very quickly and it’s always a good idea to factor in a wet weather plan.


Pirelli tyre choice for Spa: Medium (while markings) and hard (orange markings). This is the first time this combination has been seen with the updated specification of tyres, post Silverstone. In 2011 Pirelli brought the soft and medium tyre to Spa, last year they went to medium and hard.


The FIA has confirmed that two DRS zones will be in place for the forthcoming Belgian Grand Prix, continuing a pattern that has been set for much of the 2013 campaign.

The first zone, retained from previous visits to the venue, is situated on the run down to Eau Rouge, with the activation point coming at the start of the Kemmel Straight. Unlike last year, drivers have another chance to use the device, with the second zone located along the main straight, following a detection point before the Bus Stop chicane.


The chance of a safety car at Spa is statistically very high at 80% and 1.4 per race. Rain is one reason, but also accidents tend to be high speed and so there can be quite a lot of debris. Last year’s race saw a safety car after the pile up at the start triggered by Romain Grosjean, for which he received a one race ban.

  • Four different teams have won the nine races so far this year (Lotus, Red Bull, Ferrari, Mercedes).
  • Red Bull's triple champion Sebastian Vettel is the only driver with four wins in 2013. Ferrari's Fernando Alonso and Mercedes's Nico Rosberg have won two races each. Lotus's Kimi Raikkonen and Mercedes's Lewis Hamilton have each won one.
  • Alonso has 32 career wins, Vettel 30, Hamilton 22, Raikkonen 20 and McLaren's Jenson Button 15.
  • Ferrari have won 221 races since the championship started in 1950, McLaren 182, Williams 114 and Red Bull 38.
  • Mercedes have been on pole seven times in 10 races. Vettel has taken the other three.
  • Vettel has 39 poles to his credit, putting him third in the all-time list (Michael Schumacher had 68 and Ayrton Senna 65). Hamilton has 30 and Alonso 22.
  • Hamilton's pole in Hungary last month was his third in a row and lifted him ahead of late Argentine five-times champion Juan Manuel Fangio in the all-time lists.
  • Mercedes have locked out the front row in qualifying three times this year.
  • Alonso has not been on the front row in the last 20 races, with his last appearance being his pole in Germany in July 2012. He has not been on pole in a dry qualifying since 2010.
  • Caterham and Marussia have yet to score a point after three seasons in Formula One.
  • None of the five 2013 rookies has scored points so far.
  • Kimi Raikkonen has now finished a record 27 successive races in the points for Lotus, although scoring systems have changed since Michael Schumacher set 24 in a row in 2001-03.
  • Raikkonen last failed to score in China in 2012. He is the only driver to have scored points in every race this year and has also racked up 38 successive grand prix finishes - three short of Nick Heidfeld's record of 41.
  • Former champions Williams scored their first point of the season in Hungary, ending a run of 10 races in a row without scoring.
  • Spa is the longest circuit on the calendar and one of the fastest, with an average speed of around 230 kph and cars on full throttle for about 70 percent of the time. Button and Vettel, last year's top two in the race, made only one pit stop.
  • The circuit has hosted 45 of the 57 Belgian Grands Prix to date.
  • Michael Schumacher won six times at Spa, the most by any driver. Raikkonen has won four times and been on the podium every time he has finished there.
  • There are no Belgian drivers at present. Only seven Belgians have scored points in Formula One. The last to do so was Thierry Boutsen in 1992.
  • Ferrari have won 16 times in Belgium to McLaren's 14. Both have won 12 times at Spa.
  • Apart from Vettel's win with Red Bull in 2011, Ferrari and McLaren have won every Belgian Grand Prix since 1999.
  • Five of the last 11 races at Spa have been won from pole.
  • Five of the current drivers have won the Belgian GP: Button (2012), Vettel (2011), Hamilton (2010), Raikkonen (2009, 2007, 2005, 2004) and Felipe Massa (2008).
Well, we should be nicely stocked and stoked for the race now. Especially since we've been deprived for almost a whole month. And what a way to start the second half of the season and satiate our hunger for racing after so long than to race at the greatest racing track ever - Spa! Looking forward to a long and hard fought race Mr Grosjean, please don't spoil it again for us.

If you enjoyed this posting, please do share it with your network so more people can enjoy it as well. Also, check out my t-shirt designs for Hamilton fans below, click on image.

No comments: