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Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps

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Circuit de Spa-Francochamps
Track map of Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium
Location Ardennes, Belgium
Track Length 7.004km
Number of Turns 20
Lap Record 1:47.263
First Race 1950 Belgian Grand Prix
Last Race 2013 Belgian Grand Prix

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 4.359 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

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 there way through tree's, passed houses and barns and featured 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, 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 burining 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 annualy Spa 24 Hours, in the 1972 and particularily grusome event happened, during a routine driver change at night, German, Hans-Joachim Stuck told his teammate Jochen Mass to becareful 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 he 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 incrediblly 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

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

NotesEdit

V T E Circuits
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Bold indicates a circuit on the 2014 calendar; italics indicates a circuit scheduled on the 2015 or 2016 calendar.
The Red Bull Ring was previously known as the "A1-Ring" and before that the "Österreichring".
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