It's a cliche but it's true: Spa is every Formula One driver's favourite circuit and it isn't difficult to understand why. In an era when circuits comprise third-gear bends and unchallenging chicanes, Spa still provides the kind of majestic race...
It's a cliche but it's true: Spa is every Formula One driver's favourite circuit and it isn't difficult to understand why. In an era when circuits comprise third-gear bends and unchallenging chicanes, Spa still provides the kind of majestic race normally reserved for heroic tales from the 1960s. Partially comprised of public roads, it is the longest circuit on the Formula One calendar (6,968 km / 4,329 miles) and is famous for two things: rain and Eau Rouge. The former is indiscriminate and can fall on one part of the circuit while the sun shines on another. The latter is a given -- F1's most exhilarating corner.
After a three-day test at Silverstone last week, the BMW WilliamsF1 Team arrive in Spa-Francorchamps with the continued mission of consolidating their third place position in the Constructors' Championship.
"Contrary to our expectations, the FW22 was very competitive at the last race in Budapest and I succeeded in remaining amongst the top six from the beginning. During the Silverstone test last week, the BMW Williams F1 team focused on aerodynamic configuration for Spa, but we still have a fair deal of work ahead of us. Spa is not an easy track, both from the driver's perspective and car set-up. Downforce is medium to low, thereby allowing for high top speed on Spa's lengthy straights, especially after Eau Rouge and Stavelot. Eau Rouge is one of the most amazing corners on the calendar. It's taken in sixth gear and the car must be very well balanced to sustain all the revs for the following long straight. From Les Combes to Stavelot, most of the corners are mid-speed and it's in this section that I expect a good performance from the FW22. Apart from Eau Rouge, you need a good aerodynamic package for Blachiment, which is a very fast left hander. One of the slowest parts of the track is the Bus-stop-chicane where you have to use the kerbs for maximising speed."
"Unlike most of the circuits so far this year, Spa is one of the few that I have raced on. My last outing at Spa was in F3 last year and like all racing drivers, I have very fond memories of Eau Rouge. It's obviously going to be a completely different sensation in an F1 car, but it's an opportunity that I am relishing. The BMW WilliamsF1 Team did a very good job in Budapest on aerodynamic set-up and after our three-day Silverstone test last week, I am hoping that we can carry that momentum onto Spa."
"A superior race-track and one which racing fans, whether they are drivers or spectators, adore. We all hope and pray that it doesn't eventually become emasculated which is the fate that has befallen a number of other great race tracks."
Gerhard Berger (BMW Motorsport Director)
"Spa is one of the best circuits on the Formula One calendar and not just because of the breathtaking Eau Rouge. It's a very long circuit with some fast curves. For the BMW WilliamsF1 Team, Spa is going to be particularly interesting because we have had some trouble recently in showing our full potential on fast circuits. I think the team made good progress last week at Silverstone and we will endeavour to continue with our run of finishing in the points." * The 44-lap Belgian Grand Prix gets underway at 14.00 local time (12.00 GMT) on Sunday 27th August. A total race distance of 190.510 miles (306.592 km) will be covered at the circuit where Jacques Villeneuve holds the lap record of 1m52.692s (achieved in 1997 in a Williams-Renault). * In 1999, David Coulthard nudged his team-mate, Mika Hakkinen, aside while overtaking him at La Source hairpin. Hakkinen never recovered and finished second. Heinz-Harald Frentzen was a solid third for Jordan-Mugen.
<pre> Ralf Schumacher -- car no. 9 Jenson Button -- car no. 10
Nationality German British Born 30 June 1975, Horth (Germany) 19 January 1980, Frome (UK) Marital status single single Lives Monte Carlo Bicester, Oxfordshire (UK) Height 1,78 m 1,82 m Weight 73 kg 74 kg F1 debut 1997, Melbourne, Australia 2000, Melbourne, Australia Best qual. 3rd: 1997 France (Magny-Cours) 6th: 2000 Great Britain Best GP fin. 2nd: 1998 Belgium, 1999 Italy 4th 2000 Germany GP starts 61 12 Points 2000 16 8 Total points 78 8 Fastest laps 1 0
2000 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
Qualifying Race Qualifying Race Australia 11th 3rd 21st DNF Brazil 11th 5th 9th 6th San Marino 5th DNF 18th DNF Great Britain 7th 4th 6th 5th Spain 5th 4th 11th DNF Nurburgring 5th DNF 11th DNF Monaco 9th DNF 14th DNF Canada 12th 14th 18th 11th France 5th 5th 10th 8th Austria 19th DNF 18th 5th Germany 14th 7th 16th 4th Hungary 4th 5th 8th 9th