Belgian Grand Prix Preview

Formula One is back in action, preview the 2016 Belgian Grand Prix.

Summer may be over but Spa is the next destination for the F1 circus as the summer shut down concludes and the season continues. Before the break, Hamilton snatched the championship lead from run-away leader Rosberg. But with engine penalties in the network, the season remains tightly balanced throughout the field.

Poor starts and power unit failures from the start of the season left Hamilton looking at a challenging season for his title defence. But contact with Rosberg in Spain triggered a change in fortune for the Briton as he went on to take all bar one victory – with Rosberg picking up the full 25-points when Formula One debuted in Baku.

Last time out in Spa, it was Hamilton taking the win also after edging team-mate Rosberg by two seconds at the flag. Joining them on the podium that day was Romain Grosjean after a remarkable run in the Lotus saw the Frenchman snatch third after a tyre blow-out ended Vettel’s race at Raidillon.

Pirelli came under much criticism for the incident as Vettel crashed out at one of the most dangerous points of the circuit. Especially from the Ferrari driver, who exploded with rage after the race, slamming Pirelli: “Things like that are not allowed to happen,
“If it happened 200 metres earlier, I’m not standing here now, I’d be stuck in Eau Rouge. If this happened earlier then I’m f—–.”

Sebastian Vettel at the 2015 Belgian GP. Photo credit: Mr Rowlie

Sebastian Vettel at the 2015 Belgian GP. Photo credit: Mr Rowlie

To counteract the high levels of tyre stress and lateral G-Force, along with medium track abrasion, Pirelli will be providing the medium, soft and supersoft tyres for the 2016 meeting. With drivers varying their strategies with differing levels of soft and mediums selected. As for Mercedes, the championship leader’s selection features fewer supersofts than their rivals.

Belgian Grand Prix tyre selections

The circuit has many famous features none less significant than turn three, Eau Rouge. The corner that translates to red river, named after the water flow that crosses the circuit, is one of the most challenging corners on the F1 calendar as drivers change elevation and direction in a short flick of the steering wheel.

The opening and final sectors long straights allow for high speed overtakes as the downforce stricken cars launch themselves by. While the cars carrying more downforce will benefit in the twisty sector two.

Spa-Franchorchamps circuit - copyright:

Wednesday, August 24
20:30 – F1 Report: Belgian GP preview

Thursday, August 25
14:00 – Drivers’ Press Conference – Live
20:00 – 7 Days That Changed F1 (BBC Radio 5 Live)
20:45 – Paddock Uncut
21:30 – Belgian GP Preview (BBC Radio 5 Live)

Friday, August 26
08:45 – Belgian GP Practice One – Live
08:55 – Belgian GP Practice One (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
08:55 – Belgian GP Practice One (Channel 4)
11:00 – GP2 Practice
12:45 – Belgian GP Practice Two – Live
12:55 – Belgian GP Practice Two (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
12:55 – Belgian GP Practice Two (Channel 4)
14:50 – GP2 Qualifying
15:30 – Team Principals’ Press Conference
16:00 – The F1 Show – Live

Saturday, August 27
08:45 – GP3 Qualifying
09:45 – Belgian GP Practice Three – Live
09:55 – Belgian GP Practice Three (Channel 4)
11:55 – Belgian GP Qualifying – Build-up (Channel 4)
12:00 – Belgian GP Qualifying – Build-up
13:00 – Belgian GP Qualifying – Live
14:35 – GP2 Feature Race
16:10 – GP3 Race 1
19:55 – Ted’s Qualifying Notebook

Sunday, August 28
08:10 – GP3 Race 2
09:20 – GP2 Sprint Race
11:30 – Belgian GP – Track Parade – Live
12:00 – Belgian GP – Pit Lane – Live
12:00 – Belgian GP (Channel 4)
13:00 – Belgian GP – Live
13:00 – Belgian GP (BBC Radio 5 Live)
15:30 – Belgian GP – Paddock Live
18:30 – Belgian GP – Highlights
19:30 – Ted’s Race Notebook
00:40 – Belgian GP – Highlights (Channel 4)

Times above are for Sky Sports F1 unless stated.