Belgian GP BMW WilliamsF1 preview

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.

Ralf Schumacher

"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."

Jenson Button

"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."

Frank Williams

"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


                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

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Jenson Button , Ralf Schumacher , Heinz-Harald Frentzen , David Coulthard , Mika Hakkinen , Jacques Villeneuve , Gerhard Berger , Frank Williams
Teams Williams , Jordan