As Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez gear up for this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix, it offers a stark reality about current-day Formula 1 circuits.
I can’t take credit for it, it was Paul Charsley’s brother, Steve, who once told me that what makes Spa perfect is its imperfections. That’s the difference between today’s Tilke designed circuits and legends of F1 such as Spa and Monza. He was right…very right but then he, like Paul, is a really sharp guy and gets the plot.
Nico and Sergio get the plot too. So does every driver on the grid.
Nico on Spa
Nico: “Spa is a favourite for all the drivers. When I think of driving there it just makes me smile because it’s got so many special high-speed corners – the corners you want to experience in a Formula One car. You’ve also got the history of the place and the unpredictable weather which often helps spice up the racing.
“We go there hoping to bounce back from a tough race in Hungary. The improvements we’ve made to the car will really help us in Spa, especially through the high-speed corners. The engine also plays a big part around the lap. We are competitive and I am confident we can start the second part of the season strongly.”
Sergio on Spa
Sergio: “Spa is an amazing track and I enjoy racing there. The first sector and the run through Eau Rouge feel very special in a Formula One car and it’s definitely a highlight of the year. The track can also produce really good racing because there are a few corners where you have a good chance to overtake.
“I think the characteristics of the track and its emphasis on power and top speed should suit our car. You also have to expect wet weather at some point during the weekend so it could be quite unpredictable. We have shown some good pace in the last few races and we should be in a position to get a good result.”
Its the natural hill angles of Eau Rogue and Pouhon, the high-speed corners and La Source. It’s the nearly five miles of exquisite driving. There isn’t a section at Spa that is boring or marginalized.
The length of the track makes strategy a real challenge and the the unique character and imperfect nature of its elevation changes and radius turns is simply amazing. It’s one of precious few real circuits left in F1.
It was originally designed in 1920 and for a terrific look at what it was back then, check out this vintage vault production from Shell.
It still is one of the “fastest and finest” motor racing circuits in Europe!