Mick Schumacher says the Spa-Francorchamps is one of the most challenging tracks in Formula 1, but the German insists it is his favourite track on the schedule.
The Uralkali Haas F1 Team driver will race at the Belgian track for the first time as a Formula 1 driver this weekend, but he has experienced the venue in other categories, including his championship winning campaigns in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship and FIA Formula 2.
Schumacher feels Spa is one of the more special weekends on the calendar and he is excited to take to the track for the first time on Friday.
“In general, Spa is my favourite track, in any circumstance,” said Schumacher. “For me, coming back to Spa is just great. I was there last year and previous years and obviously we’ve had a lot of ups and downs there.
“It’s definitely one of the most challenging tracks – it’s super long, there’s a lot of undulation in it, it’s very historical and definitely one of the most special weekends that we have on the calendar, so I’m really looking forward to going back.
“Also, having in mind some difficult times but we always keep everyone, especially Anthoine (Hubert), in our hearts when we go there.”
Spa-Francorchamps is renowned for having mixed conditions, but Schumacher admits it does not have much bearing on the set-up of the car. The German would like some rain so to mix up the grid once more and give Haas a chance of points, but he also wouldn’t mind it if it was dry.
“It doesn’t impact the car set-up that much because we can still change it during the practice sessions – so we have time to set it up our way, but usually the conditions are changeable over the course of the Grand Prix,” said the German.
“I’m looking forward to getting on to some rain again which would be nice. Obviously, if it’s dry, I’m happy to go on dry too, so we’ll just let it come our way and then we’ll see!”
“Spa is one of my favourite circuits in Formula 1 and in general, in racing” – Nikita Mazepin
Team-mate Nikita Mazepin also rates Spa-Francorchamps as one of his favourite circuits, not only in Formula 1 but in motorsport in general.
The Russian racer says he gets the best feeling driving around the longest circuit on the calendar, although like Schumacher, he will be experiencing it for the first time in a Formula 1 car this weekend. He is eager to feel what driving through Eau Rouge flat out is like!
“Spa is one of my favourite circuits in Formula 1 and in general, in racing,” said Mazepin. “The craziest thing about Spa is that the lap feels so long and sometimes you’re in the first sector and it’s dry and in the second it’s wet because it’s situated on such a big amount of land.
“You’re driving through the forests and different sections of the track at different speeds but if the car is good there, it’s the best circuit and the best feeling you can get to drive. I’m looking forward to trying it in Formula 1 – Eau Rouge flat out will be a very interesting feeling.”
Mazepin has tasted success at Spa-Francorchamps in the past, winning in the GP3 Series in 2018 with ART Grand Prix and then finishing second to Yuki Tsunoda last year in Formula 2 despite finishing on the road first. He was handed a time penalty for forcing the Japanese rival off track as they battled for the lead.
“Obviously, I had a difficult win and actually I’ve won twice but I got a penalty the second time,” said the Russian. “It’s a really cool track because I like to race where you can overtake people and Spa is a great overtaking circuit with many opportunities, the speeds are high, the downforce is low, so to win on a circuit like this, it’s super special.”