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Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps

Formula 1 circuit

Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps
Credit: Mercedes
Vital statistics for Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps
CircuitCircuit de Spa-Francorchamps
Race debut1950
Results for the 2017 Belgian Grand Prix
Pole positionLewis Hamilton
Race winnerLewis Hamilton
Fastest lapSebastian Vettel

Deep in the heart of the forest, Belgium provides one of the most remote but legendary circuits on the F1 calendar. The fearsome Eau Rouge corner ranks highly in any list of top turns, an uphill twisting section with a blind crest. At just over 7km, the track is one of the longest, but is still a cutdown version of the full Spa track. As with many European races, the weather can provide an additional challenge, particularly as one end of the track can be dry as clouds break over the other.

F1 history

If the Hungarian Grand Prix isn’t the best way to send the Formula One season into its summer break, then the Belgian Grand Prix is certainly a fantastic fixture to get things going again. Set at the Spa-Francorchamps, the much-loved race is often damp, but hardy fans flock to the track to welcome F1 back in style.

The difficulties of the Spa track for drivers are what makes it special. The iconic Eau Rouge left-right sweep up the hill to a blind crest, the lengthy 7 kilometre track meaning conditions at one end can be completely different to the other, and the elevation changes and natural feel of the turns, compared to more recent designs, all add up to make a highlight on the Formula One calendar.

Eau Rouge is one of the first obstacles a driver faces upon starting a lap of the circuit. The first corner is the hairpin at La Source, which drops away downhill to another tight corner before straightening up for the steep climb up the hill. The track speeds up through the second sector, through chicanes and across the bumpy tarmac, before entering the final complex - a lack of straight track and a difficult chicane finish off the lap.

The Belgian Grand Prix is never completely secure on the calendar, financial difficulties saw it dropped for the 2006 season. Since then it has been a regular fixture but talk of the future always turns towards a race-share, perhaps with the French track of Magny-Cours. Although the facilities aren’t up to scratch, and the fans have to tramp through mud in the depths of the Belgian countryside, a calendar without Eau Rouge on would be a very different and disappointing prospect.

For now, we must celebrate Spa-Francorchamps while we still have it. The passion from the crowds cheering on their favourite drivers around the lengthy circuit is only rivalled by the excitement from the paddock as they prepare to take on the challenge of the legendary track.

Learn more about Belgium with the Pocket F1 Handbook.