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Complete Guide to Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps

One of the jewels of the Formula 1 and host of the Grand Prix of Belgium, the Spa-Francorchamps track lives around the Ardennes forest, bringing some of the most well-known turns in the calendar.
Sunday, August 26, 2012

August 26th, 2012 (F1plus / Gabriel Polychronis)Circuit de-Spa Francorchamps is one of the most challenging circuits on the F1 calendar. Here is a complete guide to it.

The Belgium Grand Prix, hosted at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, is widely enjoyed by fans and drivers alike. The circuit’s quick, undulating nature makes it one of the most demanding tracks on the current Formula One calendar.

Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps contains twenty turns and is 7.004 kilomentres (4.352 miles) in length. The current lap record belongs to Sebastian Vettel, with a time of 1:47.263.

Here is what the drivers will be experiencing:

Turn One – ‘La Source’: Drivers will be treated to a supreme overtaking opportunity after a short run that leads into La Source. La Source is a sharp right-handed hairpin, taken at about 75 kilometres per hour. Viewers will witness a mad scramble as drivers attempt to gain positions without collisions on the first lap. Precision and control will be the key to do so.

Turns Three, Four and Five - ‘Eau Rouge’: Eau Rouge is arguably the most exciting, most spine tingling and most famous part of the circuit. Drivers will cross over the Eau Rouge stream just before hitting the start of a steep, left-right-left ascent. A small run off area is provided for the drivers on the left hand side, but this counts for nothing whilst drivers are travelling at speeds of 300 kilometres through this part of the circuit. Overtaking through Eau Rouge requires shear bravery and driving skill. Very few drivers, including Felipe Massa and Mark Webber, have managed to do so

Turn Six and ‘Kemmel Straight’: After negotiating Eau Rouge, drivers will travel through a slight right kink that is turn six, and then they will bounce on the limiter across Kemmel Straight.

Turns Seven and Eight (‘Les Combes’): Starting the second sector is a right to left chicane that is turns seven and eight. Drivers will brake approximately 100 metres away in order to prepare for this chicane. They will travel through the first part of the chicane in third gear, and then through the second part of the chicane – which is Les Combes – also in third gear.

Turn Nine: Drivers must react quickly after travelling through the previous right to left chicane in order to complete turn nine with the optimal driving line. Turn nine is right-handed and taken at about 160 kilometres per hour.

Turn Ten – ‘Bruxelles’: After a short, downhill straightaway, drivers will approach Bruxelles, which is a long right-handed hairpin. Overtaking here will be a challenge, as the road heading into Bruxelles is barely wide enough for two Formula One cars. Drivers will caress the throttle through the exit of turn ten, and prepare for turn eleven.

Turn Eleven: Turn eleven is a near ninety degree, left-handed turn. This corner is ideally completed in third gear at about 150 kilometres an hour. A long straightaway follows this turn, and leads into turn twelve.

Turn Twelve – ‘Pouhon’: A short application of brakes is all that is needed for this long, left-handed sweeping turn. Shortly after decelerating for Pouhon, drivers will plaster the accelerator pedal as they exit the turn and head slightly uphill to turn thirteen.

Turns Thirteen and Fourteen (‘Campus’): Turn thirteen is situated at the peak of a small hill. The best braking point for this turn is approximately 75 metres away. Turn thirteen is a long right hander, which is ideally traversed in the third gear. Drivers must quickly reposition themselves quickly for turn fourteen, which essentially forms a right to left chicane. Turn fourteen is completed in a much faster fashion. Only the slightest dab of the brakes is required for this turn.

Turn Fifteen – ‘Stavelot’: After turn fourteen, drivers will descend downhill to a ninety-degree right hander that is turn fifteen.
This corner is usually completed at about 140 kilometres an hour and in the third gear.

Turn Sixteen: Turn sixteen is the first turn in sector three. It is a fast right hander, where no brake application is required. Drivers will just need to sustain approximately three quarters throttle force through this turn.

Turns Seventeen (‘Blanchimont’) and Eighteen: Blanchimont and turn eighteen are two extremely fast left-handed sweeping turns. Blanchimont is completed at full throttle and turn eighteen requires only a slight release of the accelerator pedal.

Turns Nineteen and Twenty: Drivers will just reach the limiter before they brake at roughly 150 metres away from the final chicane. At 70 kilometres per hour, this right-left chicane is the slowest point on the track. This chicane is treated as a prime overtaking location.

Circuit of Spa-Francorchamps. Values inside boxes refer to: Gear, G-Froce and Speed (in Kph)

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