Formula 1 – Belgian GP – Race Preview (with Video)


Spa is back! After its absence from F1 calendar the Belgian GP and Spa-Francorchamps track return coming weekend. This will be the last European race on the 2007 season. Both drivers and fans love this track – the driver skills are of great importance here, the track layout and unpredictable weather conditions of Ardennes seldom result in a dull race…

There are several challenging corners, including the most famous of them all – Eau Rouge (well, Eau Rouge / Raidillon combination).

The drivers come into the corner downhill, then quickly change the direction at the bottom and go steep uphill. This corner needs to be taken flat out as it requires quite a bit of downforce (and the faster the F1 car goes the more downforce it generates. The exit from Eau Rouge / Raidillon is important as it leads to long straight where lots of time can be made or lost in qualifying, track positions can be gained or lost in the race. To see how steep this corner is, check this video GT race earlier this year, it gives much better view than the usual TV footage:

There were several changes made to the track during past year’s renovations. Let’s hope they only improved what needed to improved in terms of safety and facilities, without ruining the challenging nature of this track.

Ferrari team expects to be more competitive here than they were in Monza. They have a mountain to climb after their point losses in Italy. It may be interesting to see how Hondas perform here after good result in Monza. Spa should show whether Monza was just a low downforce fluke or real display of improvement of their car. Another team to watch may be Spyker and their B-car. It did not show much in Monza, here they can try again.

The track preview is here:

This is how ING Race Index rates Belgian GP:

The stock market has the Dow Jones Index, the Formula One has the ING Race Index. Using current information, the index evaluates and compares the most important factors influencing the 17 race circuits. ING – the statistics bank of the Formula One – rates the Belgian Grand Prix in Spa as the very best F1 circuit. Here are the facts:

Circuit: At nearly 7 kilometers, this superlative track is the longest in the Formula One. Despite recent modernization, the course in the Ardennes, with its legendary curves like Eau Rouge and La Source is one of the last traditional Grand Prix venues. The unpredictable weather adds to its appeal. 78 points and 1st place.

Strain on Drivers: In the Eau Rouge, the most famous curve in the Formula One, drivers are pressed into their seats with four Gs before they speed into the sweeping Raidillon curve at 300 kilometers an hour. 73 points and another 1st place index rating!

Vehicle Set-Up: The hilly circuit in its natural setting requires only moderate downforce. The weather is the great undetermined factor here; the track often alternates between wet and dry segments, making tire selection a critical gamble. That adds up to 75 points and 3rd place on the index.

Engineering requirements: The uphill segments demand tremendous engine performance. This creates unbelievably high levels of mechanical stress! That makes for 83 points and another index 1st place!

The Belgian Grand Prix ? an event that has been repeatedly removed and then reinstated in the F1 schedule ? is one of the most fascinating and traditional Formula One events. This circuit is like no other in the world.

At 79 points overall, the Belgian Grand Prix ranks NUMBER ONE on the ING Race Index!

Click here for ING Race Index Video (without narration).

If you do not want to look at that many videos, you may want to check this comprehensive one from Sidepodcast.tv


F1 Belgium Preview
Uploaded by sidepodcast

F1 had several colorful races here in the recent history. Remember 2005 when Sato got the knock on his helmet from M. Schumacher, after taking Schumi out of the race?

Or the carnage after the race start in 1998. In not so nice weather Coulthard spun on the track. What followed is in the video below. Race had to be restarted only to see Hakkinen and Michael Schumacher to crash shortly after … Only 8 drivers made it to the chequered flag on that day, some in their spare cars and 5 laps down …

And here is another nicely compiled video of the recent Spa F1 history.

Also read:
Formula 1 Flashback – Sunday August 26, 1990 – Belgian GP (with video)

and

Formula 1 Flashback – Sunday September 2, 2001 – Belgian GP (with video)

No matter what happens on Thursday at the World Motorsport Council hearing, let’s hope for a great race on Spa’s return to the F1 calendar.

Here are the top 10 finishers in Belgian GP in past 10 years. There were no races in 2006 (renovation works) and 2003 (tobacco advertising law issues).

2005
1)Kimi Räikkönen – McLaren/Mercedes – 1:30’01.295
2)Fernando Alonso – Renault +28.394
3)Jenson Button – BAR/Honda +32.077
4)Mark Webber – Williams/BMW +1’09.167
5)R.Barrichello – Ferrari +1’18.136
6)J.Villeneuve – Sauber/Petronas +1’27.435
7)Ralf Schumacher – Toyota +1’27.574
8)Tiago Monteiro – Jordan/Toyota +1 Lap
9)Christian Klien – Red Bull/Cosworth +1 Lap
10)Felipe Massa – Sauber/Petronas +1 Lap

2004
1)Kimi Räikkönen – McLaren/Mercedes – 1:32’35.274
2)M.Schumacher – Ferrari +3.132
3)R.Barrichello – Ferrari +4.371
4)Felipe Massa – Sauber/Petronas +12.504
5)G.Fisichella – Sauber/Petronas +14.104
6)Christian Klien – Jaguar/Cosworth +14.614
7)David Coulthard – McLaren/Mercedes +17.970
8)Olivier Panis – Toyota +18.693
9)Jarno Trulli – Renault +22.115
10)Ricardo Zonta – Toyota – Engine

2002
1)M.Schumacher – Ferrari – 1:21’20.634
2)R.Barrichello – Ferrari +1.977
3)J.P.Montoya – Williams/BMW +18.445
4)David Coulthard – McLaren/Mercedes +19.358
5)Ralf Schumacher – Williams/BMW +56.440
6)Eddie Irvine – Jaguar/Cosworth +1’17.370
7)Mika Salo – Toyota +1’17.809
8)J.Villeneuve – BAR/Honda +1’19.855
9)Allan McNish – Toyota +1 Lap
10)Nick Heidfeld – Sauber/Petronas +1 Lap

2001
1)M.Schumacher – Ferrari -1:08’05.002
2)David Coulthard – McLaren/Mercedes +10.098
3)G.Fisichella – Benetton/Renault +27.742
4)Mika Häkkinen – McLaren/Mercedes +36.087
5)R.Barrichello – Ferrari +54.521
6)Jean Alesi – Jordan/Honda +59.684
7)Ralf Schumacher – Williams/BMW +59.986
8)J.Villeneuve – BAR/Honda +1’04.970
9)H-H.Frentzen – Prost/Acer +1 Lap
10)Jos Verstappen – Arrows/Asiatech +1 Lap

2000
1)Mika Häkkinen – McLaren/Mercedes – 1:28’14.494
2)M.Schumacher – Ferrari +1.104
3)Ralf Schumacher – Williams/BMW +38.096
4)David Coulthard – McLaren/Mercedes +43.281
5)Jenson Button – Williams/BMW +49.914
6)H-H.Frentzen – Jordan/Mugen-Honda +55.984
7)J.Villeneuve – BAR/Honda +1’12.380
8)Johnny Herbert – Jaguar/Cosworth +1’27.808
9)Mika Salo – Sauber/Petronas +1’28.670
10)Eddie Irvine – Jaguar/Cosworth +1’31.555

1999
1)David Coulthard – McLaren/Mercedes – 1:25’43.057
2)Mika Häkkinen – McLaren/Mercedes +10.469
3)H-H.Frentzen – Jordan/Mugen-Honda +33.433
4)Eddie Irvine – Ferrari +44.948
5)Ralf Schumacher – Williams/Supertec +48.067
6)Damon Hill – Jordan/Mugen-Honda +54.916
7)Mika Salo – Ferrari +56.249
8)A.Zanardi – Williams/Supertec +1’07.022
9)Jean Alesi – Sauber/Petronas +1’13.848
10)R.Barrichello – Stewart/Ford +1’20.742

1998
1)Damon Hill – Jordan/Mugen-Honda – 1:43’47.407
2)Ralf Schumacher – Jordan/Mugen-Honda +0.932
3)Jean Alesi – Sauber/Petronas +7.240
4)H-H.Frentzen – Williams/Mecachrome +32.243
5)Pedro Diniz – Arrows +51.682
6)Jarno Trulli – Prost/Peugeot +2 Laps
7)David Coulthard – McLaren/Mercedes +5 Laps
8)Shinji Nakano – Minardi/Ford +5 Laps

1997
1)M.Schumacher – Ferrari – 1:33’46.717
2)G.Fisichella – Jordan/Peugeot +26.753
3)H-H.Frentzen – Williams/Renault +32.147
4)Johnny Herbert – Sauber/Petronas +39.025
5)J.Villeneuve – Williams/Renault +42.103
6)Gerhard Berger – Benetton/Renault +1’03.741
7)Pedro Diniz – Arrows/Yamaha +1’25.931
8)Jean Alesi – Benetton/Renault +1’42.008
9)G.Morbidelli – Sauber/Petronas +1’42.582
10)Eddie Irvine – Ferrari – Collision

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2 Mark WEBBER
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