The Belgian Grand Prix is a Formula One race that takes place in Belgium. The race has been held every year since 1925, making it one of the longest-running races in Formula One. The track is known for its tricky corners and high speeds, and drivers often refer to it as one of the most difficult tracks on the Formula One calendar.
But there are some things about this race that you might not know. Many people can find this article interesting and engaging. Particularly, it can be helpful for students who need help writing a paper or doing home assignments. Here are ten facts about the Belgian Grand Prix that might surprise you!
1. Classic venue
This year is the 60th time that the Belgian Grand Prix has appeared on the F1 calendar, and the 48th time Spa-Francorchamps has hosted the event – it has been absent from the calendar six times since the sport was formed in 1950.
The race was held at Zolder 10 times and at Nivelles twice in the 1970s and early 1980s.
2. A much tougher challenge
While the current 7.004 km layout at Spa is the longest on the 2015 calendar and is still regarded as a formidable challenge, it is a shadow of its former self. Pre-war, an insanely quick 14.9 km track was used, but this was shortened to 14.1km in 1946 and was used by F1 until 1978.
However, it was deemed too dangerous and was cut considerably to 7km in 1979. F1 debuted at the heavily revised track in 1983, avoiding iconic turns like Malmedy and Masta. Changes have been made over the years, such as at the final chicane, but the track has largely remained the same.
3. Eau Rouge
Undoubtedly the circuit’s most iconic corner, Eau Rouge is often mistaken for the complete left-right-left section that leads onto the Kemmel Straight. However, it is in fact just the left-hander at the bottom of the hill. It is swiftly followed by Raidillon, and the two make up a complex that continues to push the cars to the limit.
4. Spa master
Michael Schumacher is the most successful driver in the history of the Belgian Grand Prix, winning the event six times. Ayrton Senna is second on the list with five victories, ahead of Jim Clark and Kimi Raikkonen with four triumphs.
5. Prancing Horse leads the way
Ferrari has the most wins for a constructor, with 16 – the team’s first was in 1952, and its last was in 2009. McLaren is next up on 14 victories, with Lotus six further behind in third.
6. Pack the umbrellas
Due to its location in the Ardennes Forest, rain often makes an appearance. In fact, there hasn’t been a completely dry Belgian Grand Prix weekend since 2007. So, if you are heading to Spa, be sure to pack coats and umbrellas!
7. An unusual absence
Six drivers have previously won at Spa – Raikkonen, Felipe Massa, Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel, Jenson Button, and Daniel Ricciardo. Unusually, it is one of the few tracks that Fernando Alonso has never triumphed at, while Nico Rosberg is also still chasing his maiden Belgian Grand Prix victory.
8. Home hero
Jacky Ickx is Belgium’s most successful Formula 1 driver. He made his debut in the sport at the 1966 German Grand Prix for Tyrrell and went on to drive for Ferrari, Lotus, Wolff, and Ligier. He competed in F1 for the final time at the 1979 United States Grand Prix, after 122 races, eight wins, and 13 pole positions.
9. But no home wins
Despite the success of Ickx and later Thierry Boutsen, who raced for Williams in the 1980s, a Belgian driver has yet to win their home race. Ickx came closest in 1968 when he finished third for Ferrari, 40 seconds off first place.
Olivier Gendebien just made it onto the podium in 1960, albeit one lap down. Boutsen also just made it into the top three in 1988 but he was later disqualified for using irregular fuel.
10. A late start
One of the country’s 20 F1 drivers was Arthur Legat, the third oldest to ever compete in the sport. He was 54 years and 232 days old when he debuted at the 1953 Belgian Grand Prix in a privateer entry. Legat qualified 19th but retired on the opening lap with a transmission problem.