McLaren Honda F1 Belgium Grand Prix preview

McLaren Honda F1 Belgium Grand Prix preview

22.08.2016: 2016 Belgian Grand Prix Round 13/21 26-28 August 2016 Circuit stats

2016 Belgian Grand Prix
 Round 13/21 26-28 August 2016





Circuit stats

2015 winner Lewis Hamilton, 43 laps, 1:23:40.387s
2015 pole position Lewis Hamilton, 1m47.197s
2015 fastest lap Nico Rosberg 1m52.416s (lap 34)
Name Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps


First race 1950


Circuit length 7.004km/4.352 miles (longest of the season)


Distance to Turn One 265m 0.165 miles (longest of season: Barcelona 730m/0.454 miles)


Longest straight 2.015km/1.252 miles, from Turn One, La Source, to Turn Five, Les Combes


Top speed 345km/h/214mph, on the approach to Turn Five (fastest of season: Monza, 360km/h/224mph)


Pitlane length 390m/0.242 miles, estimated time loss 22s (longest of season: Silverstone, 489m/0.304 miles)


Full throttle 60 per cent (highest of season: Monza, 75 per cent)


DRS zones Two, on the approaches to Turns One and Five


Key corner Turn 10, a double apex left-hander called Pouhon. The approach is downhill and fast – 300km/h (186mph) – and the entry is blind; the drivers need to demonstrate total commitment to be quick


Fastest corner 301km/h (187mph), Turn 18


Slowest corner 64km/h (40mph), Turn Two


Major changes for 2016 None, except for a few changes to the kerbs at Eau Rouge


Fuel consumption 2.3kg per lap, which is high


ERS demands High. There are several long straights, along which energy deployment is vital, and only a couple of slow corners at which to harvest energy. An efficient ERS is imperative


Brake wear Low. There are only nine braking events around the lap and plenty of long straights along which to cool the brakes


Gear changes 48 per lap /2,112 per race




Circuit facts


History lesson



Spa-Francorchamps is one of only four tracks on this year’s calendar to have featured on the inaugural world championship calendar in 1950. The original circuit was fast and long (14kms/8.7 miles); the modern iteration of the track (7kms/4.3 miles) was opened in 1983 and features many of the original corners such as La Source, Eau Rouge, Stavelot and Blanchimont.



What makes it unique


The long straights and fast corners. There are plenty of both, which combine to produce one of the fastest average speeds of the year – 235km/h (146mph).




Grip levels


Medium. The asphalt isn’t abrasive and, despite the number of high-speed corners, Pirelli is able to take some of its softer tyre compounds to the race.



Run-off


When the track re-opened in 1983, it was deemed to have acres of run-off. Other tracks have since caught up in terms of safety and Spa is now considered to have an average amount of run-off.




Watch out for…


Turns Three & Four, Eau Rouge. This high-speed flick up the side of a hill has featured on every iteration of Spa-Francorchamps’ challenging layout and it’s always been fast. The cars approach the corner at 300km/h (186mph) and they endure a 1.7g compression at the bottom before heading up the hill.



Event stats


Start time 14:00hrs local/13:00hrs BST

Race distance 44 laps (full world championship points will be awarded after 75 per cent distance/33 laps)


Safety Car likelihood High. Accidents at Spa-Francorchamps are usually high-speed and, as a result, there’s an 80 per cent chance of the Safety Car


When to press record Qualifying laps at Spa-Francorchamps are spectacular because it’s a high-speed track and drivers need to be brave to extract the maximum from their cars. The 150mph (241.402km/h) average lap barrier could be broken in Q3 this year; the record currently stands at 149.924mph (241.279km/h), set by Jarno Trulli in 2009


Don’t put the kettle on…Whenever two cars exit La Source nose-to-tail because there’s likely to be an overtaking manoeuvre on the approach to Les Combes 20 seconds later. As for pitstop strategy in the race, the top seven drivers pitted twice last year. The first pitstops came between laps nine and 13, and the second stops came between laps 21 and 30


Weather conditions NOW 22 degrees RACE FORECAST 20 degrees with some sunshine. However, the Ardennes region of Belgium has notoriously changeable weather and the teams need to be prepared for all weather conditions


Tyre choices Supersoft/Soft/Medium, the eighth time this season that this combination has been used at the race




Event facts


First Belgian Grand Prix 1950.



Official slogan


There is no official slogan for the Belgian Grand Prix, but it’s one of the most historic races in F1. It featured on the inaugural world championship calendar in 1950.



Belgium's F1 heritage


This is the 61st world championship Belgian Grand Prix and the 49th to be staged at Spa-Francorchamps. The track was first opened in 1921 and in ’25 it staged the European GP, which was won by Antonio Ascari, father of future world champion Alberto.


The most successful Belgian driver in history is Jacky Ickx, who won eight grands prix and twice finished runner-up in the world championship standings.



Smallest winning margin


0.7s, in 1961. Ferrari dominated the weekend: Phil Hill took pole position, from team-mate Wolfgang von Trips, and the American then headed home a Ferrari 1-2-3-4 in the race, coming home just ahead of his German team-mate.



Sporting legacy


Given the history surrounding the Belgian Grand Prix, the country has produced relatively few F1 stars. Only 24 drivers have contested grands prix, with just two victors – Jacky Ickx and Thierry Boutsen.




Did you know?


It was at Spa, in 1997, that F1’s first Safety Car start took place. It's also the home race of McLaren-Honda’s reserve driver, Stoffel Vandoorne.



Don’t forget


In 1968 McLaren won its first grand prix at Spa-Francorchamps. Team founder Bruce McLaren came home 12s ahead of Pedro Rodriguez.



Fan zone


Jacques, aged 18, from Liege, asks:
“After the three-week summer break, how challenging is it to return to business at one of the most challenging circuits in the world?”


McLaren’s answer: “Undoubtedly, Spa-Francorchamps is one of the great circuits in F1. But our preparation is the same for every race, irrespective of the challenge; the only difference for Spa is that much of the preparation work was done three weeks ago, before the factory shut-down.”

 

Silvia Hoffer Frangipane- photo McLaren

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22.08.2016 / MaP

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