Belgian Grand Prix

Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps

First grand prix 1925

Number of laps 44

Race distance 308.052KM

Circuit length 7.004KM

About the Belgian Grand Prix

The Belgian Grand Prix which is currently hosted at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps has been a historical race on the Formula 1 calendar.

The first race ever held was in 1925, won by Antonio Ascari for Alfa Romeo. The Grand Prix was held every now and then over the years until 1950 where it became a fixed race in Formula 1.

Two other locations have held the Belgian Grand Prix throughout its history at the Nivelles and Zolder circuits. In 2018, Sebastian Vettel won the Belgian Grand Prix in what proved to be his last win of the season, overtaking Lewis Hamilton on the first lap and never looking back.

 

Spa-Francorchamps Track guide

The current Spa-Francorchamps is very different to the original track layout but is still one of the most thrilling. The original spanned 8.7 miles whereas the track used nowadays is only 4.3 miles.

It features perhaps one of the most iconic sections of a Formula 1 track in the Eau Rouge/Raidillon corners, an extremely fast uphill left/right/left.

The start/finish begins near the beginning of the pit-straight, the first DRS section, and drivers head up to the right-hand hairpin of turn 1 before heading flat-out through turn 2.

Whilst still accelerating through turn two down to Eau Rouge the gradient of the track changes from going downhill to an extreme uphill whilst going at 180mph. Eau Rouge/Raidillon, because of the uphill change, becomes a blind corner at the top of the hill before continuing flat-out onto the Kemmel Straight of turn 6, the second DRS section.

After the Kemmel Straight Is Les Combes which makes up turns 7,8 and 9 before leading down to the long right-hand hairpin of turn 10 and then to the left of turn 11.

Turn 12, also known as Pouhon, can be a long flat-out left turn in which cars use as much downforce as possible to keep grip on the track. 13 and 14 are a right/left before timing the braking right for turn 15.

In dry conditions it is then flat-out through turn 16 and the long stretch of Blanchimont before dropping speed for the Bus-Stop Chicane before the pit straight.

Race history

The Belgian Grand Prix has had a lot of variation over its history, with amendments being made to the track or the race being held elsewhere. But it still features as one of the highlights of the Grand Prix Calendar because of its setting and location amongst trees and woodland.

Back when the Formula 1 World Championship was properly introduced in 1950 Juan Manuel Fangio won the first of his three wins in Belgium, others in 1954 and 1955, on the old Spa-Francorchamps.

Other historical winners throughout those years include Alberto Ascari, son of Antonio Ascari, Jack Brabham, Jim Clark who won four in a row for Lotus-Climax and Bruce McLaren.

In 1971 the Belgian Grand Prix was cancelled due to the track not meeting the FIA-mandated safety specs, leading to a relocation for the next thirteen years. During this time the race was held at Nivelles and Zolder with winners including Emerson Fittipaldi, Jackie Stewart and Niki Lauda.

When the Belgian Grand Prix returned to Spa on the shorter track in 1983 Alain Prost was the first winner before Ayrton Senna won five out of seven between 1985/91. Michael Schumacher’s record of seven wins started in 1992.

Due to the tragedies that happened at Imola in 1994 a chicane was introduced at the bottom of Eau Rouge that year but was removed a year later.

1998 is a very notable race as it was in torrential conditions and only eight drivers finished the race after thirteen cars were involved in accident at the first corner.

More recently we saw Mark Webber pull off a phenomenal overtake on Fernando Alonso in 2011 going into Eau Rouge and Kevin Magnussen lost his car and crashed at the top of Raidillon into the barriers, causing his headrest to come off.

When is the 2019 Belgian Grand Prix?

The race weekend at Spa kicks off Friday August 30th, with Free Practice 1 starting at 11am local time (10am BST, 5am EST). FP2 starts that afternoon at 3pm (2pm BST, 9am EST). On Saturday, FP3 starts at 12pm local time (11am BST, 6am EST), and qualifying for the Belgian Grand Prix takes place at 3pm on Saturday (2pm BST, 8am EST).

The Belgian Grand Prix will start at 3.10pm local time on Sunday September 1st (2.10pm BST, 9.10am EST). 

Session Date Time
Practice 1 30 August 2019 05:00 - 06:30
Practice 2 30 August 2019 09:00 - 10:30
Practice 3 31 August 2019 06:00 - 07:00
Qualifying 31 August 2019 09:00 - 10:00
Race 1 September 2019 09:10 - 11:10
Times are in America/New_York Timezone
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