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Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps

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The Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps is one of the classic Grand Prix circuits of the world, in an elite class of circuits that include Silverstone, Monaco, Monza, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Le Mans with corners that are household names like Eau Rouge and Blanchimont.

The circuit was first opened in 1921 and has been through 6 major changes, starting as a 14.9 km circuit and is currently 7.004 km.

The Belgian Grand Prix has been held at Spa-Francochamps 46 times. Zolder and Nivelles have also hosted the race.

Circuit HistoryEdit

Spa Eau Rouge

The view down to Eau Rouge at the start of the 1955 race.

The original Spa-Francorchamps circuits was mapped out by Jules de Thier in 1924, measuring 9.31 miles and was a triangular shaped road circuit which took cars between the towns on Spa, Malmendy and Stavelot through the Belgian forests. It was first used for GP in 1925 and hosted races in this guise until 1939.

The circuit was extremely fast, with the roads making their way through trees, past houses and barns, and featuring corners like Eau Rouge, Radillon, Blanchimont, Les Combes and the Masta Kink.

The track has gone through six different incarnations, the most notably were when the track became the modern circuit used today in 1981 and then 2000 when the track became a permanent circuit and no-longer made up in part of public roads.

The track was made yet faster in 1947 and was loved by spectators but was a very dangerous circuit, according to British racer Jackie Oliver and winner of the Le Mans 24 Hour, "If you went off you didn't know what you were going to hit". One such example was in the 1966 race, Jackie Stewart crashed his BRM at the Masta Kink and ended upside down in a barn, trapped in his car with fuel gushing all over him. Graham Hill stopped his car and removed the steering wheel so that Jackie could escape. He then undressed Jackie as the fuel was burning his skin and they were found in the barn by a couple of nuns!

Jackie was luckier than others, Spa-Francorchamps had claimed the life of 10 Formula 1 drivers over the 1960's. In 1969 the race was buoycotted by the drivers due to the dangers and they lobied, lead by Stewart, that ARMCO should be added to the circuit. The race was held again in 1970 but as the circuit had not been brought up to the safety standards expected by 1971 the Belgian grand Prix was moved to Nivelles and Zolder until the 1980's.

The track was still used for major competition however and during the annual Spa 24 Hours, in 1972 a particularly gruesome event happened. During a routine driver change at night, Hans-Joachim Stuck told his teammate Jochen Mass to be careful at the Masta Kink and look out for the body parts. Mass arrived at the kink expecting to find bits of car everywhere but was horrified to find the body of a Marshall on track.

Spa senna comas

Senna stops to help Comas

Jim Clark was very successful at the Belgium circuit but hated the place. Another former World Champion, Denny Hulme, said of the circuit "I went back there recently and it was unreal, unbelievable that we ever raced there. I couldn't believe that bit of banking at Stavelot. Sure it was nice to drive, really high speed; but dangerous, so dangerous. I had a big one at Spa one year in the wet. It was raining and I was puttering back to the pits. I knew the leaders were coming so I just parked the car, got out and waved them by .... I wasn't going to be going slowly on the track with all those lunatics going by in the spray".

When the track was redesigned and shortened in 1979 to a more modern 4.33 mile circuit, the Masta Kink was dropped and a new feature was the Bus Stop Chicane. Formula 1 returned in 1983, missed 1984 and has been the permanent home of the Belgian Grand Prix since 1985 but the track was still fast, dangerous and full of character. Upon its opening Keke Rosberg said, "It is the perfect track!".

Grosjean spa

Grosjean gets it a bit wrong!

The incredibly fast Eau Rouge and Radillon sections remained a feature of the circuit and would claim the life of the then reigning World Sports Car champion Stefan Bellof when his Porsche 962C left the circuit here. Other notable incidents at the new track incude Ayrton Senna parking his car on the Kemmel straight to help the crashed Erik Comas out of his car in 1992, The huge first lap pile-up in 1998, followed by a huge crash between the slowing David Coulthard and the charging Michael Schumacher which resulted in a pitlane confrontation in the McLaren garage after the restart of the same race, the amazing overtaking move by Mika Hakkinen on Michael Schumacher as both pass either side of the lapped Ricardo Zonta in 2000, the incredible battle into Eau Rouge between Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber in 2011 and the track is famous for first corner crashes, Romain Grosjean with his particularily optomistic attempt on Lewis Hamilton and the resulting mayhem that would give the Frenchman a race ban in 2012.

Circuit LayoutsEdit

Previous LayoutsEdit

CurrentEdit

Circuit GuideEdit

Current layoutEdit

Start/finish straightEdit

La SourceEdit

Originally the last corner of the circuit.

Eau RougeEdit

Originally the first corner, this difficult corner sees the cars travel uphill flat out while negotiating a few kinks.

RaidillonEdit

Kemmel StraightEdit

Les CombesEdit

MalmédyEdit

BruxellesEdit

Also known as Rivage

LiègeEdit

Also known as the "corner with no name".

PouhonEdit

FagnesEdit

StavelotEdit

Courbe Paul FrèreEdit

BlanchimontEdit

ChicaneEdit

Previously the "Bus Stop Chicane" in a prior configuration, but now just called the "Chicane".

Previous sectionsEdit

L'Ancienne DouanneEdit

Situated after the Eau Rouge/Raidillon section.

Haut de la ColeEdit

The old circuit went left at Les Combes (unlike the current circuit, which goes right).

BurnenvilleEdit

Old MalmédyEdit

Masta KinkEdit

Legendary high-speed chicane.

HolowellEdit

Old StavelotEdit

La CarrièrreEdit

Event historyEdit

The following is a list of Formula One World Championship events held at the Spa circuit:

Year Event Winning Driver Winning Constructor
Long circuit
1925 Belgian Grand Prix Italy Antonio Ascari Italy Alfa Romeo
1930 Belgian Grand Prix Monaco Louis Chiron France Bugatti
1931 Belgian Grand Prix United Kingdom William Grover-Williams
Italy Caberto Conelli
France Bugatti
1933 Belgian Grand Prix Italy Tazio Nuvolari Italy Maserati
1934 Belgian Grand Prix France René Dreyfus France Bugatti
1935 Belgian Grand Prix Germany Rudolf Caracciola Germany Mercedes
1937 Belgian Grand Prix Germany Rudolf Hasse Germany Auto Union
1939 Belgian Grand Prix Germany Hermann Lang Germany Mercedes
1946 Belgian Grand Prix France Eugène Chaboud France Delage
1947 Belgian Grand Prix France Jean-Pierre Wimille Italy Alfa Romeo
1949 Belgian Grand Prix France Louis Rosier France Talbot-Lago-Talbot
1950 Belgian Grand Prix Argentina Juan Manuel Fangio Italy Alfa Romeo
1951 Belgian Grand Prix Italy Giuseppe Farina Italy Alfa Romeo
1952 Belgian Grand Prix Italy Alberto Ascari Italy Ferrari
1953 Belgian Grand Prix Italy Alberto Ascari Italy Ferrari
1954 Belgian Grand Prix Argentina Juan Manuel Fangio Italy Maserati
1955 Belgian Grand Prix Argentina Juan Manuel Fangio Germany Mercedes
1956 Belgian Grand Prix United Kingdom Peter Collins Italy Ferrari
1958 Belgian Grand Prix United Kingdom Tony Brooks United Kingdom Vanwall
1960 Belgian Grand Prix Australia Jack Brabham United Kingdom Cooper-Climax
1961 Belgian Grand Prix United States Phil Hill Italy Ferrari
1962 Belgian Grand Prix United Kingdom Jim Clark United Kingdom Lotus-Climax
1963 Belgian Grand Prix United Kingdom Jim Clark United Kingdom Lotus-Climax
1964 Belgian Grand Prix United Kingdom Jim Clark United Kingdom Lotus-Climax
1965 Belgian Grand Prix United Kingdom Jim Clark United Kingdom Lotus-Climax
1966 Belgian Grand Prix United Kingdom John Surtees Italy Ferrari
1967 Belgian Grand Prix United States Dan Gurney United States Eagle-Weslake
1968 Belgian Grand Prix United Kingdom Bruce McLaren United Kingdom McLaren-Ford
1970 Belgian Grand Prix Mexico Pedro Rodríguez United Kingdom BRM
Short circuit
1983 Belgian Grand Prix France Alain Prost France Renault
1985 Belgian Grand Prix Brazil Ayrton Senna United Kingdom Lotus-Renault
1986 Belgian Grand Prix United Kingdom Nigel Mansell United Kingdom Williams-Honda
1987 Belgian Grand Prix France Alain Prost United Kingdom McLaren-TAG
1988 Belgian Grand Prix Brazil Ayrton Senna United Kingdom McLaren-Honda
1989 Belgian Grand Prix Brazil Ayrton Senna United Kingdom McLaren-Honda
1990 Belgian Grand Prix Brazil Ayrton Senna United Kingdom McLaren-Honda
1991 Belgian Grand Prix Brazil Ayrton Senna United Kingdom McLaren-Honda
1992 Belgian Grand Prix Germany Michael Schumacher United Kingdom Benetton-Ford
1993 Belgian Grand Prix United Kingdom Damon Hill United Kingdom Williams-Renault
1994 Belgian Grand Prix United Kingdom Damon Hill United Kingdom Williams-Renault
1995 Belgian Grand Prix Germany Michael Schumacher United Kingdom Benetton-Renault
1996 Belgian Grand Prix Germany Michael Schumacher Italy Ferrari
1997 Belgian Grand Prix Germany Michael Schumacher Italy Ferrari
1998 Belgian Grand Prix United Kingdom Damon Hill Ireland Jordan-Mugen-Honda
1999 Belgian Grand Prix United Kingdom David Coulthard United Kingdom McLaren-Mercedes
2000 Belgian Grand Prix Finland Mika Häkkinen United Kingdom McLaren-Mercedes
2001 Belgian Grand Prix Germany Michael Schumacher Italy Ferrari
2002 Belgian Grand Prix Germany Michael Schumacher Italy Ferrari
2004 Belgian Grand Prix Finland Kimi Räikkönen United Kingdom McLaren-Mercedes
2005 Belgian Grand Prix Finland Kimi Räikkönen United Kingdom McLaren-Mercedes
2007 Belgian Grand Prix Finland Kimi Räikkönen Italy Ferrari
2008 Belgian Grand Prix Brazil Felipe Massa Italy Ferrari
2009 Belgian Grand Prix Finland Kimi Räikkönen Italy Ferrari
2010 Belgian Grand Prix United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton United Kingdom McLaren-Mercedes
2011 Belgian Grand Prix Germany Sebastian Vettel Austria Red Bull-Renault
2012 Belgian Grand Prix United Kingdom Jenson Button United Kingdom McLaren-Mercedes
2013 Belgian Grand Prix Germany Sebastian Vettel Austria Red Bull-Renault
2014 Belgian Grand Prix Australia Daniel Ricciardo Austria Red Bull-Renault
2015 Belgian Grand Prix United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton Germany Mercedes

NotesEdit


V T E Circuits
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Bold indicates a circuit on the 2015 calendar; italics indicates a circuit scheduled on the 2016 calendar.
The Red Bull Ring was previously known as the "A1-Ring" and before that the "Österreichring".
Belgium Belgian Grand Prix
Circuits Spa-Francorchamps (1950 - 1970, 1983, 1985 - Present), Nivelles (1972, 1974), Zolder (1973, 1975 - 1982, 1984)
Track map of Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium
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