Willy Rampf (Technical Director): Spa-Francorchamps is one of the great race tracks, a link between the past and present of motor racing. It is not an artificial circuit, but instead uses a lot of public roads. There are a lot of very high speed...
Willy Rampf (Technical Director):
Spa-Francorchamps is one of the great race tracks, a link between the past and present of motor racing. It is not an artificial circuit, but instead uses a lot of public roads. There are a lot of very high speed corners, such as Blanchimont which is taken at 300 kmh, but also the slow La Source hairpin where the speed falls to 60 kmh. So drivers go from first to seventh gear during the course of a flying lap, yet still average nearly 230 kmh in qualifying.
And, of course, there is Eau Rouge. This is probably the most demanding corner in motor racing, not just because of the commitment it demands from the driver, the blind nature of its exit or the need to get that just right because of its influence on speed through the fast section that follows. It also imposes compression loads on the driver that he never experiences elsewhere, to the point where he really has to concentrate to avoid the loading forcing his hands off the wheel. It is a very special corner that really sorts the brave drivers from the not quite so brave!
The weather is always unpredictable at Spa, too, so you need to prepare both dry and wet set-ups. By its very nature this is a track where not only the drivers are put to an ultimate test, but also the engineers who must set up their cars to cope with a wide range of circumstances over a relatively long lap.
I really like Spa! It`s a really good circuit, so I`m really looking forward to racing there. It`s fast and demanding, a driver`s circuit. A real challenge.
Spa is my favourite track. I always seem to have good races there, but it`s more than that. It`s a driver`s track. I like the place and its weather changes, even when it rains there. Most of the corners are very quick, it`s low downforce, and you need to be brave. Of course you need the car to be good, and part of the art is setting it up and then getting the lap just right. Spa is such a long lap that if you make a mistake early on you have a lot of time to finish the lap, and to contain your frustration, before you can start again. But it`s great when you get it just right.