Belgian GP: Williams preview

The Belgium Grand Prix is the end of the European season for 2005. Twinned with Monza as a back-to-back race, Spa equally boasts a rich motor sport tradition after almost a century of motor racing. Nestled deep within the Ardennes forest, the ...

The Belgium Grand Prix is the end of the European season for 2005. Twinned with Monza as a back-to-back race, Spa equally boasts a rich motor sport tradition after almost a century of motor racing.

Nestled deep within the Ardennes forest, the track provides an exhilarating combination of long, fast straights, undulations and inspiring corners, while fickle weather adds another indeterminable element. One of the most popular races on the calendar, the Belgian Grand Prix undoubtedly provides all the ingredients for a potentially thrilling European curtain closer.

Having missed the Italian Grand Prix, it remains to be seen whether Nick Heidfeld will have recovered in time to resume his place in the cockpit of the FW27.

Nick Heidfeld:

"Although Spa is not particularly far from my home town of Mönchengladbach, I haven't raced there much, which is a shame because Spa is one of the most beautiful circuits on the calendar. It has numerous fast corners and is wonderfully embedded into the landscape. Not only does this create a special atmosphere for the spectators, but also for the drivers."

"Personally, I find Eau Rouge one of the most unusual corners and I always tell everyone to view the race from it. The compression does not cause any physical problems, but the g- forces are unique. Drivers are used to sideways g-forces, or those experienced under braking. I've tried bob sleighing before and going through Eau Rouge feels just like you're sitting in a bob."

"Spa is notorious for its unpredictable weather. I'm hoping for rain because we don't get many wet races, although Spa might not be the best venue for it. Similar to the former long forest straight at Hockenheim, the high speeds cause the water, blown up by the cars, to become trapped between the trees instead of being blown away by the wind."

Mark Webber:

"Clearly Spa is one of the most spectacular circuits we go to all year and I've always enjoyed driving an F1 car there. It has everything. It's very quick, hugely challenging, the location is great and the undulations are absolutely fantastic. At this time of year, the weather can play a big part of the weekend so you never really know what's going to happen. I've driven in races there when it's been raining on one part of the circuit and dry in another."

"That only creates a problem though when visibility is bad, which it can be coming back from the Bus Stop from Blanchimont, and into Eau Rouge as well. Then Spa is dangerous. I'm not worried about rain though, last year was wet and it was fine. I also always enjoy driving long, fast laps in a race, which Spa demands, so I'm really looking forward to it."

Sam Michael (Technical Director, WilliamsF1):

"With so much natural terrain creating challenging corners and sequences for the drivers and engineers, Spa is a truly great circuit. Of course Eau Rouge and Blanchimont are great corners, but there is so much more to the track. The Bus Stop chicane, for example, has created some fantastic overtaking situations in the past."

"Set-up is geared towards high and medium speed stability to ensure that when the cars make their way back from the far stretches of the circuit they are quick through the flowing parts of the track. At the same time, the car must be strong over the curbs through the chicane."

"The weather will also play a significant role over the weekend, with rain sometime falling on different parts of the circuit while not on others. We have further aerodynamic developments to the rear of the FW27 for this race and Michelin will be bringing two new tyre compounds for us to select from."

Mario Theissen (BMW Motorsport Director):

"These days, the term 'natural circuit' applies to only one Formula One track, and that's Spa-Francorchamps. Firstly, the track follows the landscape rather than the other way round. Secondly, the austerity of the Ardennes can throw up sudden weather changes that are very hard to forecast. Last year, wets were needed for qualifying."

"Spa demands a great deal from the BMW engines. The engines running in our cars in Spa will be the two that have already completed the Monza race. At 1,821 metres, Eau Rouge is the longest full-throttle section of the season, if taken flat out. In addition, Spa has a number of gradients making it a great challenge for both drivers and technology."

-williams-

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Mark Webber , Nick Heidfeld , Mario Theissen
Teams Williams