Spa-Francorchamps in the Ardennes forest is a pilgrimage for Formula 1 fans across the world every year as they travel to Belgium to admire Formula 1 cars through the iconic high speed corners Eau Rouge, Pouhon and Blanchimont. Its mix of fast and slow corners and undulating surfaces make it one of the most challenging tracks in the world. Sudden rain showers have contributed to some very memorable Grand Prix moments.
Its size, spread out across seven kilometres, means that it can be dry in the pits but pouring with rain at the other end of the circuit. With its fair share of incidents, the 1998 GP was the most spectacular in recent times. Thirteen of the twenty-two starters were wiped out only a few hundred yards in to the race due to heavy rain and a collision between Michael Schumacher and David Coulthard. Damon Hill won the race for the Jordan team. Kimi Räikkönen has won the race four times and Sebastian Vettel twice.
Circuit length 7.004 km
Race distance 308.052 km
2013 winner Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull)
Spa is one of F1’s classic tracks and a great spectacle. It’s a long lap at 110 seconds and strategy is important, especially rapid decision making in the event of a rain shower as much time can be lost. One of the key issues for teams to decide in their strategy planning was whether to go for a low downforce set up, with less wing, to help straight line speed in sectors one and three, or whether to go for more downforce to help with sector two. It’s a very tough circuit on engines and with only 5 per driver for the season, teams will want to try to use a new one here, if they have one available. Fuel consumption is also quite high here and this year Pirelli is bringing soft and medium tyres, which will make for more aggressive strategies. (UBS)