- Melbourne, Australia
- Sepang, Malaysia
- Shanghai, China
- Sakhir, Bahrain
- Montmelo, Spain
- Monte Carlo, Monaco
- Montreal, Canada
- Silverstone, Great Britain
- Nürburg, Germany
- Budapest, Hungary
- Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium
- Monza, Italy
- Yeongam, South Korea
- Suzuka, Japan
- New Delhi, India
- Abu Dhabi, U.A.E.
- Austin, U.S.A.
- Sao Paolo, Brazil
Select flag for Mark's preview
25 Aug 2013 Spa-Francorchamps, Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps
Eau Rouge is still a good place to watch because the cars are going very quickly through there, even if it’s easy-flat in the dry. I did a good move on Fernando [Alonso] in 2011 and Kimi [Raikkonen] had a go in last year’s race.
The Bus Stop is also a good place because there’s usually a bit of overtaking into there.
Eau Rouge: not the challenge it used to be, but still a classic corner. Lots of g-forces and very high speed.
Les Combes: if you’ve managed to stay close to the car in front through Eau Rouge, this is a good overtaking spot.
Pouhon: the most demanding of Spa’s fast corners. The hard work is done between turn-in and the first apex because the corner eases towards the exit.
Bus Stop: another possible overtaking place, but not as good a corner as the old Bus Stop.
||25 Aug 2013
||Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps
|No. of laps
||1:47.263 – S Vettel (2009)
Spa-Francorchamps is a great track to come back to after the summer break. None of us has been near an F1 car for four weeks (and we’ve only had one race in the last seven weeks!) and then – bam – we’re racing on one of the greatest tracks on earth. It’s a fantastic place to get racing again.
The drivers all love Spa. It’s one of the few places in the world where you feel the track is laughing at the cars; it’s fast, it’s pretty narrow in places and the elevation changes are huge.
Eau Rouge is one of the most famous corners in the world, but it’s no longer the challenge it was when we had V10 engines. It was very tasty back then. It’s become a lot more comfortable in recent years, and who knows what it will be like next year with the V6 Turbos.
This is the longest track on the calendar and it feels incredible when you’re up at Les Combes (Turn 7). You’re a long way from the pits and it’s taken you next to no time to get there. Then there’s the double-left at Pouhon, which is sensational to drive through.
The weather always seems to play a role in the race and, if you’re attending the race as a spectator, don’t forget to take your wellies.
It can get very, very wet very, very quickly.
I stay in a small hotel in the town of Francorchamps over the race weekend. A lovely couple runs the place; they cry every time we check-in and they cry again when we check-out. Spa wouldn’t be Spa without it.
AS A MATTER OF FACT…
- Mark isn’t a great fan of pomme frites or mayonnaise, but the Belgian Grand Prix is still one of his favourite races on the F1 calendar!
- Mark had one of the biggest accidents of his career at Spa-Francorchamps. In 2001 he crashed at the top of Eau Rouge in the Formula 3000 race and, luckily, he went into the barriers backwards.
- Eau Rouge is now ‘easy flat’ in an F1 car, but that shouldn’t take anything away from Mark’s incredible passing manoeuvre on Fernando Alonso at the corner in 2011. They were travelling at 290kph and there wasn’t room for two cars side-by-side!
- Spa was on the first world championship calendar in 1950. It was then removed in 1970 due to safety concerns and it didn’t return until 1983 in the revised format that, bar a few minor renovations, remains to this day. Spa was dropped from the 2003 and 2006 F1 calendars for reasons unrelated to safety.
- At 7.004kms, Spa is the longest circuit on the F1 calendar. It’s 1.197kms longer than Suzuka, the second longest.