‘Compromise Between Higher And Lower Downforce’ is ‘More Difficult’ at Spa – Pilbeam


Renault Sport Formula One Team - F1
Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

Renault Sport Formula One Team chief race engineer Ciaron Pilbeam has said it is “more difficult than normal” to set up a car for the Belgian Grand Prix.

The Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps is the longest track on the Formula 1 calendar and Pilbeam admits it is tough to get the balance right between a high and low downforce setting for the car.

“The compromise between higher and lower downforce here is more difficult than normal,” said Pilbeam.

Drivers are at full throttle for 4.7-kilometres of the 7-kilometres track but Spa features a tough middle sector with some medium speed corners which makes it hard for the likes of Nico Hülkenberg and Carlos Sainz Jr., the drivers at Renault, to set the car up.

“Higher downforce will make the car quicker in the first and last corners, which are slow, and in the middle sector, which has a series of mainly medium and high-speed corners,” said Pilbeam.

“However, more so than at most circuits, the penalty in straight line speed can leave the car vulnerable to being overtaken on the run out of the first corner, through Eau Rouge and up to Turn 5 at the top of the hill.

“The chicane at Turns 18/19 is another overtaking possibility, although this is more difficult as there is no DRS zone leading up to it.”