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Formula 1 | Five things to look out for in Spa this weekend

2020-08-28 16:42

Sean Parker

 spa francorchamps

The Spa-Francorchamps racetrack in Belgium. Image: spa-francorchamps.be

• The seventh race of the Formula 1 season takes place in Belgium this weekend. 

• The famous Spa-Francorchamps in Stavelot will once again host the Grand Prix. 

• The track is well known for its high average speed of over 250km/h. 

Just a few months ago we didn't know if the 2020 Formula 1 season would take place. The coronavirus pandemic brought the season-opening Australian Grand Prix to a screeching halt mere moments before the green light for first practice. 

Subsequently, the opening eight races of the season were called off. Behind the scenes the organisers frantically stitched together a framework that would make it possible to host races. 

The season started on July 5 with a double-header in Austria and then onto Hungary before another double-header at Silverstone. 

The teams moved on to Barcelona for the Spanish GP and this weekend the world's most technologically race cars will battle at the famous Spa-Francorchamps. 

I'm certainly not the only F1 fan who loves when the F1 circus rolls into Belgium. It hosted its first GP in 1925 and has held a GP for the last 37 years except on three occasions. 

It's one of the sport's oldest tracks and it will be sorely missed by the fans this year who can't cheer from the stands. 

This weekend serves as an opportunity to see the fastest circuit cars in the world, race at the best track in the world. Corners like Blanchimont and Les Combes are world famous. But once you hear the commentator mention the cars head into the La Source hairpin, you know what's next: Eau Rouge. 

Perhaps one of the most exciting and challenging stretches of tarmac in motorsport. It has everything. But do you know where the name is derived from? Eau Rouge is a small creek not far from the track. 

It's 15-kilometre long stream that starts in the Hautes Fagnes and ends in Challes. It gets its name from the coloration of the stones and riverbed due to reddish iron oxide deposits. 

The cars average over 250km/h around Spa because of several high-speed sections like Eau Rouge / Raidillion and onto the Kemmel Straight. 

It's simply miraculous to watch the drivers put the car and their bodies through the pressure that Spa puts on a F1 car. 

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Image: AFP 

Five things to look out for in Spa-Francorchamps

The guys at Team Racing Point share what we should know about the famous Belgian track:

• Eau Rouge and Raidillon are certainly iconic F1 corners – but the challenge has changed over the years. With the current generation of cars, this section is taken flat, meaning there’s effectively a two-kilometre straight run to Les Combes. That doesn’t make it easy, though. This section is hugely demanding on the suspension.

• Spa’s first and third sectors reward good engine power and low drag. By contrast, the second sector is slow – more suited to a higher downforce set-up and actually comparable to Monaco in some respects. This creates quite a headache for the engineers. As a high-efficiency circuit, there’s a balance to be struck in how much downforce you’re willing to keep on the car, knowing it will lead to the drawback of extra drag on the high-speed straights.

• The Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps is the longest lap on the F1 calendar and features plenty of high-speed corners such as Pouhon and Eau Rouge, creating one of the highest average speeds of the season at nearly 250km/h.

• When you think of rain and F1, you immediately imagine the unpredictable! That takes on extra meaning at Spa, where a wet to dry circuit tests your strategic mettle. As one of the longest laps on the calendar, switching to slicks a lap too early or a lap too late can have significant consequences on your race.

• Spa is one of the easiest circuits on the calendar for overtaking – which is also an important factor in race strategy. While the likes of Sergio Perez could run longer tyre stints in the Spanish Grand Prix in the knowledge that the circuit’s lack of overtaking opportunities would help him hold track position, it's much more difficult to pull off a similar trick at Spa.

Read the original article here.

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