Although the weekend will be somewhat marred with a solemn undertone, all teams are treating the 2020 Belgian Grand Prix exactly as any other race weekend, aiming to capitalise on all the opportunities they can at the ‘hallowed’ Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps.
The circuit unfortunately staged one of the biggest motorsport tragedies of this generation last year, as talented youth and rising young star Anthoine Hubert sadly passed away after a high-speed crash in the 2019 FIA Formula 2 Championship Feature Race. One year on the pain still lingers, but the drivers and teams will take to the famed track once more- harnessing Anthoine’s beautiful passion for racing in his memory.
One of the teams aiming to decrease their gap to the midfield is Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN, and after a poor start to the season, they see no better place to do it than in Spa.
Vasseur aiming to start ‘chipping away’ at midfield gap
Team Principal Frédéric Vasseur is confident that Alfa can begin to ‘chip away’ at the gap, whilst remaining ‘realistic’ with their expectations. He believes that the week-long break has helped them improve before the upcoming triple-header and is keen to showcase some new upgrades in Belgium.
“The week off gave us some time to regroup and get ready for the next triple header. It doesn’t need saying that everyone in the team is working extremely hard to bring improvements to our car and to extract its full potential: nothing happens from a day to the other in this sport, however, so we have to be realistic about our expectations.“
“We have to take this one step at the time, chipping away at the gap and continuing to push between now and the final race.”
Räikkönen: “We need to make the most of what we have”
At at a track he has excelled at in the past, Kimi Räikkönen remains characteristically muted about the team’s progress and expectations for Spa- although he knows the team needs to ‘focus on doing [their] job to the best of [their] capabilities’.
“Spa is one of my favourite tracks and one where I have done well in the past, but previous form matters for very little in Formula One. Every year is a story on its own and we just have to focus on doing our job to the best of our capabilities. We need to keep working hard to close the gap with those in front of us. Everyone has to do their part, in the car and at the factory, to make the most of what we have.” The Finn stated.
“You cannot avoid thinking about all that history” – Giovinazzi
Even though last year’s race ended prematurely for him, Antonio Giovinazzi is excited to be able to take to the iconic Spa track once again. The Italian driver recognises the immense history that surrounds the track and aims to emulate some of the stellar performances from his past heroes.
“There are venues that are a part of Formula One history and Spa is definitely one of them. When I was growing up, my idol was Michael Schumacher and he had a special relationship with this place, so when you first go out on track on Friday you cannot avoid thinking about all that history. Spa is a great track to drive, full of challenging corners: it’s a long layout and you want to keep a good flow throughout the lap.”
All drivers competing at Spa this weekend will no doubt be honouring all those who raced before; both those who came back to race again and those who sadly did not. Whilst the track is steeped in tragedy, it is a perfect example of why we love racing and admire those who tackle it with such relentless bravery, and henceforth the consecrated ground will forever be enshrined in Formula 1 history as a legendary, yet sorrowful place.