Fast Facts: The Belgian Grand Prix

F1statLike a long lost friend, Formula One comes back into our lives after a break from the hustle and bustle. A chance to rest, reflect and recharge – or for the fans, pine for some Formula One action! As we head to the Ardennes, our very own @F1StatMan has parked his frites and mayonnaise to bring some some rather delicious Fast Facts.

 

Spa #F1PP

This is the 62nd running of the Belgian Grand Prix as round of the World Championship. The race featured as a round of the original F1 World Championship in 1950. It was not held in 1957, 1959, 1969, 1971, 2003 and 2006.

Three circuits have hosted the race: Nivelles in 1972 and 1974; Zolder in 1973, 1975-1982 and 1984. The remainder have been held at Spa-Francorchamps,

Michael Schumacher is the most successful driver with six victories and Ferrari are the most successful constructor with 16. They are, however, tied with McLaren on 12 each at Spa.

Five drivers in the current field have won in Belgium. Kimi Raikkonen is the most successful with four victories, winning in 2004, 2005, 2007 and 2009. Lewis Hamilton won in 2010 and 2015. Sebastian Vettel in 2011 and 2013, Felipe Massa won in 2008 and Daniel Ricciardo in 2014. Massa’s victory was initially awarded to Hamilton who accepted the trophy on the podium, only to later have 25 seconds added to his time for cutting a chicane during a thrilling fight with Raikkonen at the end of the race.

This weekend Hamilton is set to make his 200th grand prix start. He made his debut at the 2007 Australian Grand Prix. He has 57 victories, three World Championships and this weekend he can equal Schumacher’s record of 68 poles.

The Spa-Francorchamps circuit was originally a road course, forming a triangle between Francorchamps, Malmédy and Stavelot. It held its first motorcycle race in 1921 and first car race in 1922. It has been modified many times since, settling roughly on its current layout in 1979, first used by F1 in 1983.

The current track, featuring a new Bus Stop chicane and new pit entry, first appearing in 2007. On this version, the race has been won from pole five times and from no further back than sixth.

McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne is the first driver to race at Spa under the Belgian flag since Jerome d’Ambrosio competed for Marussia during the 2011 season. Vandoorne was a winner at Spa in 2015, taking victory in the GP2 feature race. He has also won at Spa in 2013’s Formula Renault 3.5 series, and both Spa races of the 2010 F4 Eurocup 1.6.

Lance Stroll, the other F1 debutant at Spa this year, is also a previous victor at the circuit. Stroll won here last year on his way to winning the FIA Formula 3 European Championship.

Force India’s Esteban Ocon made his F1 debut at this race last year, driving for Manor. His current team have an affinity for the circuit: it is the site of their only pole position — Giancarlo Fisichella qualifying P1 in 2009. Fisichella went on to finish the race in second position — still their best result. In a previous incarnation as Jordan Grand Prix, the team scored its first victory at Spa, Damon Hill winning a chaotic wet race in 1998. Famously, Jordan Grand Prix also gave an F1 debut to a young Michael Schumacher at this race in 1991.

CIRCUIT NOTES

  • Two additional rows of tyres and a second conveyor belt have been added in Turns 4, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 and 15.
  • A total of 2000 tube inserts have been fitted to various tyre barriers around the track.
  • The guardrail on the right between Turns 8 and 9 has been replaced with a wall.
  • The kerb on the apex of Turn 15 has been extended as far as the asphalt section on the right after the corner, a drain has also be installed in front of this kerb.

DRS ZONES

There will be two DRS zones at Spa—Francorchamps. The detection point for the first is located 240m before Turn 2, with the activation point 310m after Turn 4. The second zone has a detection point 160m before Turn 18 and an activation point 30m after Turn 19.

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