This weekend sees the GP2 teams, after a four week break, head to Belgium for one of the most popular venues for drivers and spectators alike, the magnificent Spa-Francorchamps circuit, venue for the 8th weekend of the 2014 GP2 Series.
The track contains some of the most famous corners in racing over its 7.004 km length with such historic names as Eau Rouge, Radillon, Les Combes, Stavelot, Blanchimont and La Source. With its mixture of very fast and very slow corners, changes in elevation and high-speed straights it is a circuit that requires total commitment from a driver and, this in turn, requires a very good set up to his chassis.
The recent GP2 Series race weekends have seen the Racing Engineering drivers, Raffaele Marciello and Stefano Coletti, racing very competitively with both men sharing a race win, pole position, fastest lap and podium positions. However, d! espite this, various incidents often outside their control has meant they have not scored the number of points they have deserved and they will be looking to put this right on Saturday and Sunday.
The Spa circuit is very hard on tyres with its long lap length, fast straights, high-speed turns and it is not unusual for rain and changeable conditions to affect the circuit so for this weekend Pirelli will be supplying the P Zero Orange hard and P Zero White medium compound tyres.
1. Mad weather conditions. Wet, dry, fog, or even snow, you can expect anything to happen in Spa.
2. Spa remains the longest circuit on the calendar. Its mix of long straights and challenging fast corners, coupled with its picturesque setting, means that most drivers still rank it among their favorite tracks.
3. Spa is the longest circuit on the calendar by some margin – a lap is 7.004km; the next longest is Silverstone at 5.891km.
4. Over 72% of the track is taken at full throttle, which equals 5.018 km – more than the entire Circuit de Catalunya.
5. The sweeping curves, high speed and roller-coaster profile make this circuit a firm favourite amongst drivers, but a headache for engineers who have to find a workable compromise between very different requirements.
6. There are two principle ‘straights’ – the first from the start to turn 1, the second starting at La Source hairpin, through Eau Rouge and up to Les Combes on the Kemmel Straight.
7. The length of the circuit and its geographical location in the forest-clad hills means there are often microclimates over the course of a lap; it could be raining at one location, but dry at another.
8. The track goes downhill from La Source before climbing 80 m through Eau Rouge to Les Combes.
9. The hairpin is a bottleneck – especially after the start. Tight on entry, it increasingly widens and allows many different lines.
10. Following a car too closely in the famous Eau Rouge means loss of downforce and can spell trouble.
GP2 vs FORMULA 1
1. The average speed of an F1 car in Spa is 230 km/h against the 215 km/h average of a GP2 car.
2. F1 throttle usage is very similar 70% vs 72% of the lap that the engine spends at full throttle in GP2.
3. F1 top speed (including DRS) is 315 km/h – GP2 (without DRS) is 300 km/h.
4. F1 drivers will change gear 48 times per lap against 34 times that a GP2 driver will have to do.
5. Race distance is very similar: F1 go around the circuit for 44 laps and GP2 do a total of 43 laps in two days- 25 laps in Feature Race and 18 in the Sprint Race.
6. Pole position in F1 was set in 2013 at 02:01.012 (wet) – Pole position in GP2 was set in 2013 at 1:56.957.