Spa-Franchorchamps – What Makes It So Special For F1?


When it comes to the world of motor racing, it doesn’t get any bigger or better than Formula One, a world-famous motor racing discipline which has spawned stars such as Michael Schumacher, Jenson Button and Jacques Villeneuve, to name but a few. While it’s best to leave the racing to the professionals, unless you’re a world-class driver who has looked and found cheap motor insurance from Express Insurance, fans can fulfill their need to speed by descending on Belgium, a country famous for chocolate, Tintin, and its fan-favourite grand prix circuit.

So, where is this grand prix circuit that’s such a hit with fans? The Belgian Grand Prix takes place at the historic Spa Francorchamps circuit, which was originally nine miles long, but had to be altered after the winner of the inaugural 1925 event, Antonio Ascari, died at the French Grand Prix in 1929, with the sport seeing a crackdown on safety. The outbreak of World War Two in 1939 saw the event put on hold until 1946, with the length of the track being shortened to a little under nine miles.

This year’s event takes place towards the end of summer, on August 25th 2013, although the season is no guarantee of there being good weather, with the Belgian Grand Prix being infamous for attracting rain. At one point in the race’s history, there was rain for twenty years in a row. The world’s best Formula One racers will take to the tracks, with the outcome of the race being decided over forty four laps, and each racer trying to best Red Bull Racing’s German wunderkind Sebastian Vettel’s 2009 lap record of a little over one minute and forty seven seconds.

The Spa-Francorchamps course is a notoriously difficult one to master, with only a select few of Formula One’s best racers having won the course more than twice. Michael Schumacher holds top honours with six wins, Ayrton Senna coming out on top five times, and Jim Clark and Kimi Raikkonen each ending up triumphant a total of four times in the history of the Belgian Grand Prix. The course is an extremely tricky one to master for several reasons: not only is it the longest course that Formula One racers have to complete, but the previously aforementioned weather can mean that it’s raining on one side of the course and dry on another. Then there’s the Eau Rouge section of the track, which has a sudden change of elevation at a high speed. Spa-Francorchamps isn’t a course for amateurs.

2012 saw McLaren-Mercedes’ British boy Jenson Button standing on the podium shaking that bottle of champagne, but with the courses unpredictable weather and tumultuous turns, there’s no guarantee that he’ll come out with a first placed finish again this year. Belgium might not be bursting with many household names when it comes to tourist draws, but when it comes to the world of Formula One, it’s hard to top this legendary grand prix and the legacy that it’s left over the years.

  • Pete

    Sebastian Vettel isn’t Austrian.

  • pitwall

    Jacques Villeneuve is a star? That is news!!!