Belgian Grand Prix Preview – With McLaren
As the summer break comes to an end – we’re back to business as we get ready for the second half of the season, making our way to Spa for the Belgian Grand Prix.
Circuit Information – Belgian Grand Prix Preview
Circuit Name: Spa-Francorchamps
First Race: 1950
2016 – Nico Rosberg
2015 – Lewis Hamilton
2014 – Daniel Ricciardo
History – Belgian Grand Prix Preview
Spa-Francorchamps is one of the most well-known and loved racetracks in the world.
It’s fast with sweeping corners making it a challenge for the drivers and car – with an average speed of 233km/h/145mph making it one of the fastest laps of the season.
The circuit itself has a history with McLaren because it was here back in 1968 that the team scored it’s first World Championship Grand Prix Victory in the hands of Bruce McLaren.
Did you know?
The original Spa-Francorchamps circuit was 14.863kms/9.236 miles – Pedro Rodriguez won the last Grand Prix to be staged at the track in 1970 with an average speed (at the time) of 149.936mph/241.300km/h remaining as the 6th fastest race of all time.
Eau Rouge – Belgian Grand Prix Preview
Eau Rouge has been straightened out over the years but it’s still one of the most thrilling corners in Formula 1 and is something which is loved by fans and drivers alike.
A flick to the left at the bottom of the hill before the track climbs to 190-feet (58 metres) through a long right-hand bend which is taken at just under 310km/h/190mph.
The drivers experience a 2g compression at the bottom and a 4.6g lateral load through the right-hander which is why training for the neck muscles is an essential part of every Formula 1 drivers workout routine.
Driver Interviews – Belgian Grand Prix Preview
Fernando Alonso – “I love the first race after the summer break!”
“It’s a great feeling to come back feeling rested, relaxed and recharged, and ready to go again for the second half of the season. I’ve enjoyed time away with family and friends, worked hard on my training and now I’m really looking forward to getting back in the car.”
“Spa is incredible – for many of us it’s one of our favourite tracks. It’s got a legendary reputation and it’s totally deserved.”
“The feeling when you drive Eau Rouge is completely different to any other corner on the calendar. You’re so low in the car and the gradient is so steep that as you go up it you can only see the sky – it’s completely surreal.”
“As the season goes on we’re getting stronger and stronger, and I hope the second half of the year will bring us some more points-earning finishes.”
“This race is a difficult challenge for the whole team – the engineers and the mechanics – as you’re on the throttle for almost three-quarters of the lap, which makes it’s a tough circuit for both the car and the driver.”
“We know we’ll have to work hard to get any kind of result there, but it’s a long lap and there are plenty of overtaking opportunities, so we’ll keep pushing to get everything we can from the weekend.”
Stoffel Vandoorne – Belgian Grand Prix Preview
Stoffel Vandoorne – “I’ve been looking forward to driving in my first Belgian Grand Prix as a Formula 1 driver for so long.”
“It’s exciting for any driver at their home grand prix because it’s always a special weekend. It’ll be great to have the backing of my home crowd, and there’ll be a lot of fans out there, as well as family and friends coming to support.”
“After a busy first half of the year you always look forward to a holiday, but after a few days I already wanted to be back in the car!”
“But it’s been good to have a bit of a break, reflect on what’s happened in the last few months, analyse the good things and the bad things, train hard and then come back even stronger in Spa for the second half of the season.”
“The start of the season has definitely been challenging – not only from my side but for the team as a whole.”
We’ve suffered a few problems which have hampered our running, and I think maybe from my side it took a bit more time to really understand what I needed from the car because of those problems.”
“However, more recently we’ve been seeing the results of a lot of hard work I’ve been putting in with the engineers and with the team back at the factory. Everything we’ve been working on has been a good step, and from that we’ve seen positive progress.”
“The margin for improvement is still significant and there’s more good things to come, so I’m hopeful the next few races will be promising for us.”
Information & Images – McLaren