Belgian GP Benetton preview

In preparation for the Belgian Grand Prix, the Mild Seven Benetton Playlife team decided not to undertake a normal circuit test as it was felt that quantifying the recent aerodynamic improvements and trying to develop them further would be more ...

In preparation for the Belgian Grand Prix, the Mild Seven Benetton Playlife team decided not to undertake a normal circuit test as it was felt that quantifying the recent aerodynamic improvements and trying to develop them further would be more productive. The car was therefore sent to Danielson in France for the whole of last week to carry out these experiments.

On the final day, Alexander Wurz took over from Mark Webber, who had been assisting with the aerodynamic testing, in order to carry out further work on improving starts. The week was successful from the point of view of both the aerodynamic and the start work.

Pat Symonds:
"Perhaps one of the things that dominates races at Spa year after year is the weather, and the unsettled summer that we have had in Europe this year suggests that the 2000 race will be no exception. Because of the length of the circuit, it follows that there is a wide variety of different types of corner, many of which present a unique challenge. It is therefore a circuit where balance through a variety of cornering conditions is all important. It is a relatively low downforce circuit, being the third fastest circuit in the calendar, with wing settings used that are similar to those used in Canada. The challenges that it presents make it a favorite with both drivers and the teams and unusually these days there are some opportunities to overtake. This should lead to exciting racing right through the field even if the weather remains dry. Bridgestone will be bringing medium and soft dry tyres to this race and it is expected that many teams will choose the soft tyre to aid performance. New on the tyre front for the Belgian GP are additional wet tyres, one designed for the very heavy rain conditions often encountered in Belgium and the other for intermediate conditions. After three races in which the team did not score any points, the Mild Seven Benetton Playlife team is approaching this race with renewed determination to snatch back third place in the Constructors' Championship."

Giancarlo Fisichella:
"Spa is one of the longest circuits in the grand prix calendar at nearly 7 km and is also one of my favorites. The lap starts as you cross the start/finish line at over 260 km/h reaching a peak speed of about 285 km/h before braking for La Source hairpin, which is taken in 1st gear at around 60 km/h. I then accelerate down the hill passed the old pits reaching 310 km/h before entering what is probably the most challenging corner of any grand prix circuit, Eau Rouge. All drivers attempt to take this flat in Qualifying but its very tricky. You need to lift on the throttle to take this complex of corners at a minimum speed of 280 km/h. It is important to maintain speed through this corner due to the long uphill drag towards Les Combes, I reach around 325 km/h before braking for the top chicane which is taken in 3rd gear at between 125-135 km/h."

"A short straight where I reach 260 km/h then leads to Rivage which is a long right-hand corner taken in 2nd gear at around 100 km/h. At this corner the circuit drops away and the cars always tend to understeer. A 3rd gear left-hand corner taken at c150 km/h then leads to another short straight where I reach just under 300 km/h in 5th gear before entering the very challenging fast double left-hand Pouhon corner which I enter at 215 km/h, and accelerate up to 270 km/h by the end of the second part. A 300 km/h straight then leads into the Fagnes chicane, the first part of which is taken in 3rd gear at 135 km/h and the second part in 4th gear at 160 km/h."

"The next corner is a 3rd gear right-hand corner taken at 130 km/h followed almost immediately by a 4th gear right-hand corner taken at 225 km/h where the circuit rejoins the public road. From here I accelerate hard heading back towards the pits and going through the super fast left-hand Blanchimont corner at over 300 km/h. While this corner is flat in Qualifying it can be quite tricky if the circuit is damp or the fuel load is high. Very hard braking is needed into the small chicane known as the Bus Stop, which is taken in 2nd gear at around 90 km/h. I have to use the kerbs here in order to attain a good lap time. A final left-hand corner is taken flat at around 190 km/h as I accelerate out of the Bus stop towards the start/finish line."

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Giancarlo Fisichella , Mark Webber , Alexander Wurz
Teams Benetton