F1 Grand Prix Preview: Belgian Grand Prix

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The Belgian Grand Prix

2015 FORMULA 1 SHELL BELGIAN GRAND PRIX

Round: 11

Date: 23 August 2015

Circuit: Circuit De Spa-Francorchamps

First Grand Prix: 1950

Type: Purpose Built, Free flowing with varying topography

Length: 7. 004km

Laps: 44

Lap Record: Sebastien Vettel, RBR, 2009 – 1:47. 263

Tyres: Soft (Yellow) Hard (White)

DRS: Two. Main traight. Kemmel Straight

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Bonjour, Hallo, Goeiendag and welcome to the Belgian Grand Prix.

Spa has never been the exact science that F1 flaunts itself to be. No, not at all. Through the evolution of its history, Spa has never been about maths and calculations. Quite simply, it is about how beautiful you drive.

Its topography attracts sunshine, low cloud and secluded rainfall. In the lively sense of the word, Spa is quite literally a moody creature, unpredictable and unforgiving in each sector.

The free flowing design allows flare and finesse. Spa isn’t just for drivers, but dancers, and each dance is different. Pilots sway on alternating chambers, tempt fate on high kerbs, and trust the invisible physics of aerodynamics. With such history behind its mystique, Spafrancorchamps is alive and stirring. The dormant creature wakes only a handful of times a year, and provides a thrilling spectacle unchallenged by any other circuit on the F1 calendar. Belgium hosts one of the most electrifying corners that motorsport has to offer. In just a flash of a second the cars enter and exit the uphill terror at 300kph.

In August every year, the Formula One fraternity gathers around the sinuous hills of Stavelot. On Friday morning, the sleeping monster wakes and unleashes twenty cars onto its warped, grey spine.

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The Ascent: Sector One.

Squatting lowly on a broad track, the driver sets up his Formula One car to face the only hairpin on track; La Source. It is navigated briefly to confront a downward curve before hitting a wall of tarmac called Eau Rouge. Ordinary logic would say that this “ramp jump” should catapult the cars into the distant stratosphere. Yet the aerodynamics of modern Formula One allows nearly two tons of downforce to subjected unto the car. The driver blasts through the left-then-right-then-left again in roughly two seconds. This is no ordinary feat. Imagine trying to thread cotton through a needle at 190mph – it seems absurd doesn’t it? Kemmel Straight follows before the first of many high speed curves.

The Decent: Sector Two.

It’s a long break for the drivers along the Kemmel straight. They refine brake balance, transmit important radio messages and if there is time, have a sip of water from their fluid pumps. At the end of the uphill passage, the cars enter a complex of blinding corners. Fighting the trickery of under and overseer, a balanced car is paramount to anything else.

The long road home: Sector Three.

 Surprisingly, there isn’t any skill in the last of the trio of sectors. Keeping the wheel as straight as possible, the accelerator pedals are pushed to the limits of their geometry on their approach to the infamous Bus Stop Chicane. Why bus stop? The cars pass through the compressed ess at low speed, giving fans a great opportunity to view the world’s most complex hybrid cars.

 

What to Expect

After a shorter than usual summer break, it will be difficult to expect significant changes throughout the field. However, in the thick of the field, there will be four teams that will be in the cross hairs of fans vison and television camera lenses: Mercedes, Ferrari, Red Bull and Mclaren.

Mercedes are feeling more cautious this August than in previous months. The prancing horses are gaining horse power, and seem to be distracting and worrying factor for the Silver Arrows. Whether or not they will have made a big enough stride forward to challenge the German works team, is unsure.

Red Bull and their successful, yet dwindling relationship with engine partner Renault, appear to have drifted apart into opposite corners. Rumours of an engine switch to either Mercedes or Ferrari power have been prominent on Fleet Street. Will this affect the rest of the year?

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About dphansen24

I am an avid freelance Formula 1 writer and blogger. My writings are diverse and range from historical insights, to thorough and exciting analysis of the modern era and the topics that come with it. I am also able to take in requests from readers that wish to gain vision into particular stories. All are welcome. I encourage constructive criticism and conversation in comments or via email. My passion for the world’s fastest show consumes my daily efforts and I am always enthused to write about the sport I love most. Even as a pundit, I too have a curiosity and am always ready to learn more about an ever expanding sport.

Posted on September 2, 2015, in Grand Prix in Preview and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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