Otmar, Sebastian and Lance praise fans
When the track action was lacking at the Belgian Grand Prix, the fans shone brightly, and it did not go unnoticed. We truly appreciate your love for Formula One. Hear from Otmar, Sebastian and Lance as they take you inside the challenging conditions of last Sunday.
It's a frustrating day for all of us and an anti-climax, especially for the fans, who were outside in the wet and the cold all day.
"I think it is a frustrating day for all of us and an anti-climax, especially for the fans, who were outside in the wet and the cold all day waiting to see a race. I feel sorry we could not give them the entertainment they deserved to see. The rain just never stopped and, when we did go out, the spray was very bad with low visibility. The FIA had to make some tough decisions today. It is not easy for them, but safety has to be the priority, and even though their decisions may not have been popular they were probably the right ones."
I would have loved to try and fight my way back up the grid today; I felt confident we could make good progress.
"It is a real shame for the fans today. I am sorry they waited all afternoon for a race that ended in the sad way it did. We cannot control the weather and safety must come first. It is a tough decision for the FIA and Formula One to make, but it was the right one. Visibility out on track was really bad. It is not a nice feeling to be on sections like the Kemmel Straight, where it is so fast, and you cannot see in front of you because of the spray. I would have loved to try and fight my way back up the grid today; I felt confident we could make good progress, but it is over now and we will focus on next weekend’s race at Zandvoort."
I want to say how sorry I am for the fans, who braved the weather in the hope of watching an exciting race.
"First of all, on behalf of everyone at Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One™ Team, I want to say how sorry I am for the fans, who braved the weather in the hope of watching an exciting 44-lap race on the magnificent Spa-Francorchamps circuit but ended up enduring a damp squib – literally. However, the safety of the drivers, marshals, photographers and camera operators is of course paramount, and the FIA had no choice other than to make the difficult decision they did. We scored five world championship points as a result of Sebastian’s fifth place, which would usually have netted us 10 world championship points had the race not been shortened and the half-points rule therefore applied. Lance had no opportunity to fight his way through the field – which, had the race been run normally, I am sure he would have been able to do with his usual wet-race panache. All in all, the 2021 Belgian Grand Prix will be remembered as a very disappointing event – or non-event – but we are now looking forward to the Dutch Grand Prix next weekend. Bring it on!"
Guide to Spa
The Belgian Grand Prix is a unique challenge for driver and pitwall. From completely different weather conditions across multiple sectors to the set-up testing corners of Eau Rouge and Pouhon, putting together the ideal Spa weekend is far from easy. Going over past races, analysing the data and the team's performance, our strategy engineers evaluate the key factors that could decide the Belgian Grand Prix, presented in partnership with Title Partner Cognizant.
Cognizant's Keys to the Race
The start of the Belgian Grand Prix comes to life at the third-shortest run to Turn One on the calendar, followed by heavy braking into the hairpin. Drivers can make up ground, but it's not the only opportunity to do so. Drivers surge downhill to Eau Rouge, and there’s slipstreaming and jostling all the way to the end of the Kemmel Straight.
Strategy is varied at Spa Francorchamps because track position is less important than the last race in Hungary. A fast car at the Belgian circuit can make up positions on track, opening up varied multi-stop strategies to optimise on-track passing. The tyres are again the mid-range C2, C3 and C4 so stints can be extended, although degradation means longer stints are slower towards the end, so cars on fresher tyres gain an advantage.
Overtaking is ever-present. There were 31 overtakes in the 2020 race after the first lap, and 87% of those were made using DRS. In the last three years, over 80% of those moves have been made on the Kemmel Straight.
From Eau Rouge and Raidillon to the long blast along the Kemmel Straight, the double-left of Pouhon to the late-braking test of the Bus Stop chicane. A lap of Spa-Francorchamps has it all, and it's the perfect test of a Formula One driver and car's pace. With the help of Cybersecurity Partner SentinelOne, we're unlocking the crucial data behind a rapid lap of Spa.
Unlocking the Lap
A good exit out of the Bus Stop chicane is essential to begin a lap at Spa, helping drivers reach speeds of 280km/h (173mph) as they pull to the left-hand side to maximise the approach and exit of a very tight right-hand hairpin.
Car set-up usually favours low downforce due to the high-speed nature of Spa, meaning it is very easy to lose the car here and ruin a lap before it has even begun.
Exit is key as it's a long downhill run to Eau Rouge and a key overtaking spot because it's a slipstreaming battle down to the bottom of the hill.
Modern Formula One cars can take Eau Rouge completely flat and speeds will reach 310km/h (192mph) at the bottom of the corner as drivers surge uphill, cresting at 300km/h (186mph) after the left-right-left flick.
The high speeds continue as drivers line up for the Kemmel Straight, a gradual incline and the lengthiest straight on the track at 770 metres long.
Unlocking the Lap
It is another key overtaking spot ahead of a late brake, roughly at the 70m line, for the Les Combes chicane, which is taken in fourth gear at around 160km/h (99mph).
The left-right flick is another challenge in low downforce spec and has often been the scene of collisions in the Grand Prix.
Drivers climb onto the kerb on the exit and power downhill to Bruxelles, trying to avoid locking up on deceleration.
A tight line is key for the double left-hander of Pouhon, a near flat-out corner taken at 270km/h (167mph), maximising every inch of track surface through the turn.
A high-speed slaloming run through Campus and Stavelot is next, taken in fifth gear and a middle-of-the-road line initially to maximise the latter corner and the following Turn 16.
Turn 16 is also a corner that's become flat-out in a modern Formula One car and precedes the long, high-speed curve through Blanchimont, reaching 315km/h (195mph) before the Bus Stop chicane.
It's a bumpy entry and off-camber so it's easy to lock up and/or lose the rear here. Good traction is key to ending the lap strongly.
From World Championship success to what was once an incredibly daunting 15km lap, Spa-Francorchamps holds a special place in Formula One lore. Global Partner NetApp tells the story through the best facts and figures from Belgium.
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