Belgian GP Stewart Preview

Belgian Grand Prix: Preview Rubens Barrichello and Johnny Herbert finished second and third fastest respectively at the Silverstone test last week. The team ran some revised suspension components and carried out set-up work in preparation for...

Belgian Grand Prix: Preview

Rubens Barrichello and Johnny Herbert finished second and third fastest respectively at the Silverstone test last week. The team ran some revised suspension components and carried out set-up work in preparation for Spa Francorchamps.

RUBENS BARRICHELLO Car No.16 (SF3-04) What is so special about the Eau Rouge corner at the Spa circuit? 'I first encountered Eau Rouge in my Lotus Euroseries days in 1990 and for me it's one of the most exhilarating corners I have ever driven. Because Eau Rouge is no more than a kink, albeit a lightning fast one taken at about 165mph, you carry a lot of your speed at the entrance which is downhill and hold that through the exit which is uphill. The g-force, the compression on your body, is incredible.' What memories do you have of last year's race? 'I was caught up in the mayhem at the first corner. I seemed to be hit from all directions and the car was completely wrecked. When I got out I could see someone's nose cone embedded in the side of the chassis. The impact injured my left arm. I ran back to the garage but my arm was quite painful. The team decided that it was best that I didn't take the re-run in the T-car. I hope to make amends this year.'

JOHNNY HERBERT Car No.17 (SF3-05) How difficult is it for a driver in wet conditions at Spa? 'Spa, as we all know, is notorious for rain. Because of the hilly nature of the circuit in parts, the rain tends to 'hang' in the trees which can reduce lateral visibility. There is no real secret to driving in the wet at Spa you just have to use the white lines as your guide particularly when you are catching the spray from a car in front.' Why is Spa such a favourite with drivers? 'It is one of the most demanding circuits on the calendar because it presents such a challenge. You can nail the fast sections of the track and then throw it all away by missing your braking point at the Bus Stop. The layout has long sweeping corners, quick straights, tight turns and tricky kerbs. Every aspect of a driver's expertise is tested at Spa.'

PAUL STEWART, SGP Chief Operating Officer 'We found further improvement in the car's handling characteristics at the Silverstone test last week. To finish the test second and third fastest over the three days was encouraging. There was improvement in stability in the faster corners which bodes well for Spa. Reliability will be the crucial factor as we aim to add to our World Championship points tally.'

MARTIN WHITAKER, Director, Ford Racing, Europe 'The Stewart-Ford team completed three days of testing at Silverstone last week working on car set-up and engine development. We ran both Series 3 and Series 4 engines during the test. Spa has a number of quick corners and a very long drag up the hill to the Les Combes and a lengthy run towards the Bus Stop chicane. This layout puts a premium on engine performance and during the test both drivers made progress with driveability. Both cars will be running Series 4 engines for Friday's Free Practice.'

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Johnny Herbert , Rubens Barrichello