Romain Grosjean’s last podium in Formula 1 came at Spa-Francorchamps back in 2015 whilst driving for the Lotus F1 Team, and the Frenchman returns to the venue this weekend with an eye on a points finish for his current Haas F1 Team employers.
The Frenchman feels there are two different approaches to Spa when it comes to set-up, which both working well, with drivers needing to determine whether to focus on the high speed elements of the first and third sectors, or on the second sector that has more of the corners.
“It’s just a great track,” said Grosjean. “There are very high-speed corners and there are a lot of turns, different types, some high speed, some low – just a good variety overall. It gives you a good feeling to drive.
“You always see different approaches at Spa. Either you’re fast in sector one and sector three, which are the high-speed sectors, or you’re fast in sector two, which has more of the corners. Both work pretty well, so it’s a matter of how you want to approach the race.”
Grosjean says that the first lap of the weekend at Spa is always the worst, and can give him a sense of feeling sick, but once that lap is in the books, it becomes much better.
“The first lap you go through flat out, you feel sick, like you’re on a rollercoaster because it goes up and down,” said Grosjean. “You’re thinking, will I make that for the race? But, once you’ve done it once, it’s all ok and you just enjoy the g-forces.”
Team-mate Kevin Magnussen will want to put the memories of his 2016 visit to Spa behind him as the then-Renault Sport Formula 1 Team driver spun and hit the tyre barrier at high speed, which brought out red flags. He says to have a good weekend, he will need to push himself to the limit everywhere around the track.
“I’ve won in every category I’ve raced there with the exception of Formula 1,” said Magnussen. “I have many good memories from competing at Spa.
“It’s an extremely fast, technical and challenging circuit. Spa is just flat out. You’re pushing everywhere.”