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Race information - Belgium 2016 // The summer break ends with the spectacular Spa

Published by Christine

The summer break was a much-needed respite from the manic action of back to back races, but we're ready to get going again now with more of the same. The fabulous Spa-Francorchamps is first on the post-break list, giving our drivers plenty to think about as they get back in gear. The battle at the top of the championships is heating up and there is everything to play for as we head into the more important stages of a season of competition.

Event schedule

From a championship perspective, the most important questions we need answered this weekend are if Lewis Hamilton's momentum can continue, or whether it has been halted by the four week holiday, and whether Nico Rosberg can turn things back to his advantage, or if he has had his moment in the sun.

Hamilton has already said he will be taking a penalty this weekend, thanks to running out of engines already, and although we don't yet know where he will be starting on the grid, we do know that Spa is a good track for overtaking on, so should provide plenty of opportunities for him, and excitement for us.

As we head into the latter portion of the 2016 season, we've also got a great battle going on between the two Ferrari drivers, who are sitting two points apart, and the season long fight between Ferrari and Red Bull just looks set to get more and more interesting.

We've got one new face to familiarise ourselves with, as Esteban Ocon makes his F1 debut for the Manor team, replacing Rio Haryanto who had to step back due to contractual reasons. Ocon has raced the track before but is presented with a huge challenge for his first F1 experience.

Session timetable
DateDaySessionTimeLocal time
26 AugFridayFree Practice 109:00
GMT +01:00
10:00
GMT +02:00
Free Practice 213:00
GMT +01:00
14:00
GMT +02:00
27 AugSaturdayFree Practice 310:00
GMT +01:00
11:00
GMT +02:00
Qualifying13:00
GMT +01:00
14:00
GMT +02:00
28 AugSundayGrand Prix13:00
GMT +01:00
14:00
GMT +02:00

Support racing for this event includes GP2 Series, GP3 Series and Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup.

Expected conditions

European races can often be unpredictable when it comes to the weather, and Spa is a particularly difficult beast to tame. The track is so long it can have two different climates at each end of the circuit, and it could be pouring with rain in one sector, whilst bone dry in another. However, the meteorological minds have had their best shot and come up with some sunshine, the occasional cloud and perhaps the odd shower for the next three days.

Sunny

Spa, Friday

29℃

  • Low 18℃
  • Humidity 60%

Sunny

Scattered showers

Spa, Saturday

29℃

  • Low 19℃
  • Humidity 62%

Scattered showers

Partly cloudy

Spa, Sunday

27℃

  • Low 14℃
  • Humidity 60%

Partly cloudy

Circuit history

Circuit information
CircuitCircuit de Spa-Francorchamps
LocationSpa
CountryBelgium
TimezoneGMT +01:00
Race debut1950
Laps44
Length7.004 km
Distance308.052 km
Line offset0.124 km

Spa-Francorchamps is a much-loved but also feared circuit, the longest on the 2016 Formula One calendar. It's a fast track with sweeping curves as well as the more challenging areas, such as Eau Rouge. The circuit has seen a few upgrades this year, mostly related to kerbing and artificial grass, but otherwise it remains unchanged.

This year is the 60th outing of the Belgian Grand Prix, with Spa hosting 80% of them. In the list of all time success, the highest current driver is Kimi Räikkönen who sits fourth in the all-time list. Ferrari are the most successful team at the track, as well, but it's a mixed bag. Where Mercedes have dominated the last few years, Spa has also delivered Daniel Ricciardo a victory for Red Bull in 2014, and Sebastian Vettel his own win the year before.

The track has average speeds of over 225km/h and more than 70% of each lap is spent at full throttle, which means the action should be fast and furious. However, the dramatic nature of the track means we could just as equally be in line for a safety car period or two.

Results for the 2015 Belgian Grand Prix
SessionDriverTeamTime
Free Practice 1Nico RosbergMercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team1:51.082
Free Practice 2Nico RosbergMercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team1:49.385
Free Practice 3Lewis HamiltonMercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team1:48.984
QualifyingLewis HamiltonMercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team1:47.197
Grand PrixLewis HamiltonMercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team1:23:40.387
Fastest lapNico RosbergMercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team1:52.416

Tyre compounds

This week, the tyre selection continues on the theme of medium, soft and supersoft, with another race set to be dominated by yellow and red sidewalls. There's more variety in this week's selection, however, with Rosberg opting for four of the medium compounds, whilst the Ferrari duo have gone for only one set each.

Both Mercedes drivers have the fewest amount of supersoft tyres, four each, whilst Hamilton has gone for the most soft tyres with six full sets to play with. Ocon, presumably, has to race on whatever Haryanto had opted for, which looks to be a good middle-of-the-road strategy selection.

Selected tyre sets per driver
Hard tyreMedium tyreSoft tyre
Lewis Hamilton364
Nico Rosberg454
Sebastian Vettel157
Kimi Räikkönen157
Valtteri Bottas337
Felipe Massa337
Daniel Ricciardo436
Max Verstappen436
Nico Hülkenberg346
Sergio Pérez346
Kevin Magnussen337
Jolyon Palmer337
Daniil Kvyat247
Carlos Sainz247
Marcus Ericsson157
Felipe Nasr157
Fernando Alonso346
Jenson Button346
Pascal Wehrlein445
Esteban Ocon445
Romain Grosjean247
Esteban Gutiérrez157

Press conference schedule

Official press conferences are organised by the FIA and happen four times during the weekend. The qualifying and post race press conferences will take place after the television unilateral interviews.

Press Conference Schedule
DayAttendeeRepresenting
ThursdayFernando AlonsoMcLaren Honda
Romain GrosjeanHaas F1 Team
Lewis HamiltonMercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team
Daniil KvyatScuderia Toro Rosso
Esteban OconManor Racing MRT
Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing
FridayÉric BoullierMcLaren Honda
Robert FernleySahara Force India F1 Team
Christian HornerRed Bull Racing
Monisha KaltenbornSauber F1 Team
Frederic VasseurRenault Sport F1 Team
Claire WilliamsWilliams Martini Racing
SaturdayThree fastest drivers
SundayFirst three finishing drivers

Race stewards

The FIA stewarding process includes a former F1 driver to offer added insight. These stewards are overseeing the weekend's action.

FIA stewards
NamePosition
Gerd EnnserMember of the DSMB's Executive Committee for Automobile Sport, and a Formula One and DTM steward.
Felipe GiaffoneAfter experience of motorsport racing in both his home country of Brazil as well as the stock car racing of the USA, Felipe Giaffone turned his attention to broadcasting and stewarding. In 2016, he became and FIA steward of the World Touring Car Championship, as well as making his debut as an F1 steward at Spa.
Danny SullivanFormer Formula One driver, Indy 500 winner and CART champion.

All content in the series Belgium 2016