2014 Belgian Grand Prix preview

The summer break is over and Formula One is back at Spa for the 2014 Belgian Grand Prix.

Yes, it’s that time again. The summer shut down has finished and the season resumes at the one and only, Spa Francorchamps. The 7.004 km track located in the Ardennes forest still remains the longest track in Formula One and for many, it’s one of the best tracks on the calendar.

Despite being shortened form its original layout, which stretched through the Ardennes forest, the current layout retained Spa’s special touch whilst retaining one of the most famous corners in Formula One. Eau Rouge.

Eau Rouge remains one of the most technical corners in F1. From the run down the hill out of turn one, a quick change of direction sends you back up the hill. The sudden elevation change requires precision driving and a balanced car. Especially if you are to take it, like in previous years, flat out. Hopefully this weekend drivers will be able to, however there are fears this will not be the case with the new era of F1.

Although the nature of the corner would make you assume an overtake would be impossible, we have seen spectacular overtakes in the last few years. In 2011 Mark Webber sent his Red Bull around the outside of Fernando Alonso into Eau Rouge and came out in front. Similarly in 2012 Kimi Raikkonen overtook a struggling Michael Schumacher into Eau Rouge. To pull of a move at full throttle here, you need two things. A lot of guts and a lot of trust in the other driver.

After Eau Rouge your next attack comes in the Kemmel straight. A long, DRS aided straight should see plenty of overtaking action throughout the race. Even without DRS, there have been great overtakes over the years. With the straight ending in a heavy breaking zone, perfect for a move.

Spa Francorchamps circuit diagram - From formula1.com

Spa Francorchamps circuit diagram – From formula1.com

After the fast first sector, a more demanding overall middle sector comes with a heap of corners. But it is not just the corners that could challenge the drivers, the Belgian weather could spring a surprise. It could be raining in one sector and bone dry in another, creating varying levels of grip and the need for a decisive strategy call.

If you manage to keep your car out of the barrier around the Spa Francorchamps circuit, your best places to overtake will come at the La Source hairpin (following the first DRS zone), the Kemmel straight, Les Combes chicane (following the second DRS zone), or the Bus Stop chicane at the end of the lap.

For the dry periods of the weekend, Pirelli will be providing teams with the soft and medium compound tyres. But the wet compound tyres will undoubtedly be needed at some point. Especially with rain expected.

Other than the threat of rain, the threat of friction in the Mercedes garage remains as the two continue their battle for the drivers championship. Before the summer break it was Daniel Ricciardo who won the Hungarian Grand Prix, but for the championship Hamilton clawed back some vital points after beating Rosberg to the podium spot. As it stands Rosberg holds an 11 point lead over Hamilton but with eight races remaining (including this weekend), it is all still to play for and will double points in Abu Dhabi decide the championship?

If you will be watching the Belgian Grand Prix in the UK it will be live on both, SkySportsF1 and BBC. Out of the two, if you prefer to watch Formula One on Sky, here is their schedule for the weekend:

Thursday 21st August
14:00 – Drivers’ Press Conference

Friday 22nd August
08:45 – F1 Belgian GP – Practice One
11:00 – GP2 Practice
12:45 – F1 Belgian GP – Practice Two
14:50 – GP2 Qualifying
16:00 – Team Principals’ Press Conference
17:00 – The F1 Show

Saturday 23rd August
08:45 – GP3 Qualifying
09:45 – F1 Belgian GP – Practice Three
12:00 – F1 Belgian GP – Qualifying build up
13:00 – F1 Belgian GP – Qualifying live
14:35 – GP2 Feature Race
16:15 – GP3 Race One
20:50 – Ted’s Qualifying Notebook

Sunday 24th August
08:20 – GP3 Race Two
09:30 – GP2 Sprint Race
11:30 – F1 Belgian GP – Track parade
12:00 – F1 Belgian GP – Race build up
13:00 – F1 Belgian GP – The Race
15:30 – F1 Belgian GP – Paddock live
19:30 – Ted’s Race Notebook.

As for the BBC, their coverage of the weekend is:

Friday 22nd August
08:55 – F1 Belgian GP – Practice One – BBC2 & BBC Radio 5 live sports extra
12:55 – F1 Belgian GP – Practice Two – BBC2 & BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

Saturday 23rd August
09:55 – F1 Belgian GP – Practice Three – BBC2 & BBC Radio 5 live sports extra
12:10 – F1 Belgian GP – Qualifying build up – BBC1
13:00 – F1 Belgian GP – Qualifying live – BBC1

Sunday 24th August
12:10 – F1 Belgian GP – Race build up – BBC1
12:30 – F1 Belgian GP – Race build up – BBC Radio 5 live sports extra
13:00 – F1 Belgian GP – The Race – BBC1 & BBC Radio 5 live sports extra
15:30 – F1 Belgian GP – Forum – BBC Red Button

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  1. Pingback: First free practice for the Belgian Grand Prix, topped by Nico Rosberg | Kyle Archer

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