Belgian GP Prost preview

It all began in 1920 in the green Ardennes mountains. Two well-known people from the car racing world, the Manager of the newspaper "La Meuse" and the Chairman of the Sports Commission at the Royal Automobile Club Belgium, thought about taking ...

It all began in 1920 in the green Ardennes mountains. Two well-known people from the car racing world, the Manager of the newspaper "La Meuse" and the Chairman of the Sports Commission at the Royal Automobile Club Belgium, thought about taking advantage of the triangle drawn by the roads connecting three little cities (Malmedy, Stavelot and Francorchamps) to build a racing track. 1924 saw the first edition of the famous 24 Hours of Francorchamps, and in 1939, the "Raidillon" (steep rise), the famous artificial curve, was introduced in order to make the track even faster and spectacular. The fourteen kilometer track was to welcome numerous major motorsports events until the end of the 60's. In 1970, following drivers' concerns and protests regarding safety, Spa-Francorchamps stopped hosting the F1 Belgian Grand Prix. It was then reduced to a seven kilometer long track inaugurated in 1979, but kept most of the features which had made it popular for spectators and exciting for drivers. More technical, winding, and improved in terms of safety, the track resumed hosting the F1 Belgian Grand Prix in 1983. Since then, it has remained one of the most attractive Formula One venues on the calendar and most of the drivers quote it as their favourite circuit.

The Prost Acer drivers Heinz-Harald Frentzen and Luciano Burti both look forward to the 14th round of the F1 season which will take place at the Spa Francorchamps track on Sunday September 2nd. The recently appointed German driver finished five out of his seven races in Belgium, achieving impressive two third places, two fourth and a sixth last year. His Brazilian teammate for once already knows the track from his years in lower categories : he raced there in Formula Opel and Formula 3, scoring a win and two second place finishes from his four starts. The Belgian Grand Prix has regularly offered action-packed races, due to its very specific track, which for once presents some real opportunities to overtake. It is the longest and second fastest track of the season after Monza. The Prost Acer team has worked hard in the St Quentin en Yvelines headquarters since Hungary to prepare for this challenging event as Henri Durand explains :

Henri Durand - Directeur Technique :
"Spa poses a real challenge as regards to cars' set-up. A medium downforce level is usually required to offer the best stability both in the numerous high-speed corner - such as the breathtaking Eau Rouge - as well as in the slow sections, like the Bus Stop chicane and the famous La Source hairpin. Strategy will also be a key-factor in both qualifying and the race, as weather conditions traditionally remain unpredictable throughout the weekend. We will use new aerodynamic components this weekend that we have already tested briefly in Hungary, but which the track did not favour. Both our drivers know the circuit well and, as a result, we will be able to share the work in an efficient way in order to optimise these new elements and to identify the best possible car balance. After gaining some experience around his first race within the team two weeks ago, Heinz-Harald pointed out some directions of work regarding set-up and suspensions, and we will explore them in Belgium."

Virginie Papin Press Officer www.prostgp.com Prost Grand Prix 7 avenue Eugène Freyssinet 78286 Guyancourt cedex France tel +33 (0)1 39 30 11 00 fax +33 (0)1 39 30 11 43

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Luciano Burti , Heinz-Harald Frentzen