Williams’ Pat Symonds: “Spa is a circuit which should favour us”


Pat Symonds - Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

Pat Symonds expects the Spa-Francorchamps circuit to benefit those with low drag and powerful power units as Formula 1 makes its return from its summer break this weekend.

The Chief Technical Officer of Williams Martini Racing also revealed that a good set-up is required on cars due to the needs of being able to change direction quickly around the 7.004 kilometre circuit.

“The first thing to say is that we expect dry and warm weather all weekend which is not typical of the conditions that we tend to see in Spa,” said Symonds. “The circuit itself is quite interesting with high power and drag sensitivity favouring low drag and powerful power units.

“Top speed is particularly important, so most cars are set-up with low drag, compromising speed in sector two to give them better opportunities to overtake into turns five and 18.

“Teams also tend to run cars quite stiff as you need good change of direction and whilst Eau Rouge is no longer a difficult corner, you still need to be cautious with ride heights to ensure the car doesn’t bottom-out there.”

Symonds also expects the tyres to evolve across the weekend, with early running expecting to cause the fronts to grain, while feeling there should be more wear issues on race day.

“Spa places high demands on tyres,” said Symonds. “In typical cool temperatures we would expect to see front graining at the start of the weekend with more even front and rear wear by race day.

“We are back to medium, soft and supersoft compounds which we have plenty of experience with this year, which combined with the 7km lap, means we expect to see most cars on two-stop strategies.”

Symonds believes Spa should suit the Williams team, and after a number of struggles for decent points in recent races, they are hoping for a good haul this weekend with Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa.

“Spa is a circuit which should favour us and our target will be to challenge from the start to get some good points,” finished Symonds.