The 2014 Formula 1 season is back from a mandatory summer break. This time, the race will be held in Belgium on the 24th of August (this Sunday at 8:00pm Malaysian time). The drivers in this weekend’s race will be revving their engines and making their way to the Spa-Francorchamps circuit Belgium (image below).
Above: Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium. Photo taken from the official Formula 1 website.
A Brief History of the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps
The Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps is one of the most storied venues in the world of motorsports. It is also known as the home of the Belgian Grand Prix, the 24 Hours of Spa, and the Spa 1000K. Fondly known as Spa, it has long been recognized as a supreme test of courage and skill. Spa’s list of winning drivers reads like a history of Grand Prix and sports car racing, such as Michael Schumacher, Pedro Rodriguez, Jim Clark, Jo Siffert, Jacky Ickx, Henri Pescarolo, Juan Manuel Fangio, Ayrton Senna, Dan Gurney, and Alberto Ascari.
The circuit was designed by Jules de Their and Henri Langlois van Ophem in 1920. The triangle-shaped circuit originally ran over public roads between the Belgian towns of Spa, Malmedy, and Stavelot in the Ardennes region. The elimination of a hairpin turn in the Eau Rouge Valley creek shortened the circuit by about a kilometer and added to its already fearsome speeds. Even if Spa lacked the long lanes of Le Mans, Monza or Reims, with the exception of the famed La Source hairpin, it comprised exclusively of fast, sweeping curves where speeds rarely fell below 100 mph.
Spa has seen many changes over the years. The revamped circuit retains much of the original course and many of its signature turns including La Source, Blanchimont and the daunting Eau Rouge. The renewed Spa features a demanding, purpose-built section that sweeps down a valley through the fast Pouhon curve and the Campus esse bend before rejoining the “old” circuit near Blanchimont. As a result, it is the most challenging tracks on the current Formula One and sports car racing schedule. According to seven-time world champion driver, Michael Schumacher:
“It is the best circuit in the world. The kind of atmosphere you get at Spa is similar to the old Nurburgring. The only place which still has quality and atmosphere. Eau Rouge is really the most tremendous corner. Imagine flying downhill and seeing a big mountain in front of you. You feel as though you are driving into the road before going up and it is probably the best sensation and the most satisfaction you can experience as a racing driver.”
The timetable below shows the action for this weekend’s Formula 1 Grand Prix:
|Friday, 22 August 2014||Practice 1||4:00pm – 5:30pm|
|Practice 2||8:00pm – 9:30pm|
|Saturday, 23 August 2014||Practice 3||5:00pm – 6:00pm|
|Sunday, 24 August 2014||Actual Race Day||8:00pm|
The timing above follows the local Malaysian GMT+8.
Did you know…
… that Lewis Hamilton is the only current driver to take pole position more than once at Spa, yet despite his luck, he still trails Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel in the victory count?
Did you also know…
… that all four of Jim Clark’s Belgian triumphs and five of Michael Schumacher’s six victories came without the benefit of starting from pole position?
Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull Racing has won the Belgian GP race for three years in a row, from 2010 to 2013. And now he will fight to maintain his place on the podium as the drivers of Mercedes, Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton, will do their best to snatch the victory from Vettel. Rosberg and Hamilton have both won a number of races already this year. Rosberg have been on the podium four times this year, having won races in Australia, Monaco, Austria, and Germany. His partner, Hamilton, outshone the German and took home trophies from races in Malaysia, Bahrain, China, Spain, and Great Britain, one more race than Rosberg.
Show your support for this weekend’s Formula 1 Grand Prix with a purchase of a Fernando Alonso or Ferrari poster. Get yours today at the Formula One Grand Prix poster album from Posterific Facebook, while stocks last!