Motor racing fans all over the world are waiting in anticipation for one of the most prominent dates on the calendar this summer – the 2013 Belgian Grand Prix. Taking place on 25 August, the world’s best professional racers gear up for their chance at victory at the Circuit de Spa of Francorchamps, now the site of the Belgian Grand Prix each year. Since the first half of the 20th century, the course has changed dramatically, but there is something that has remained constant – Spa is a course that continues to provide racers with incredible driving challenges. In turn, this leads to phenomenal entertainment for millions of racing fans around the world. Because of both its history and its famous corners, this course is a favourite of world-class drivers such as Lewis Hamilton, Fernando Alonso, and Jenson Button.
The 7km track dates back to the 1970s when it was altered to adhere to major World Championship rules, and to Formula One in particular. It’s this course that continues to thrill both drivers and spectators, and with long stretches of straight track and intensely sharp turns in quick succession, this is a course that continues to push Formula One drivers to their limits. It’s not only the geography of the course that provides unique challenges to the drivers, but also the unpredictable Belgian climate. At Grand Prix races in the past, it hasn’t been unusual for one part of the track to be perfectly dry while another is saturated with rain. In fact, sometimes the rain can be so heavy that it can severely hinder visibility for the racers, providing yet more obstacles to the elusive finish line. The driving conditions of the 1998 Belgian Grand Prix are particularly famous. The heavy rain and visibility was so bad that it caused Michael Schumacher to drive into David Coulthard. This angered Schumacher so much that he stormed into the Mclaren garage to confront Coulthard, who would later admit responsibility for this to settle the dispute. It’s safe to say that the cost of fixing the bike would cost far more than your standard Express Insurance fee.
Though the notorious rain of the Belgian Grand Prix may seem like a terrible hindrance for drivers, there have been a few motor racing drivers who have spoken out in favour of the poor weather conditions (although not many). Alfonso has gone on record as saying that he would prefer a wet Grand Prix as there is greater opportunity for a larger points haul, and more that the driver can do to suit the conditions.
Last year’s Belgian Grand Prix at Spa Francorchamps proved to be another monumental event in the course of the track’s history, and of Formula One. When Lewis Hamilton lost control of his car, he forced the Lotus ahead of him to crash into a series of cars in front resulting in a dramatic pile up. Alfonso was one of the drivers in the pile up, but thankfully everybody managed to emerge from the crash unscathed.
This year, the field of drivers for the Grand Prix has left the favourite for victory wide open. Sebestian Vettel is currently leading the way in the rankings, and looks to have a fairly secure lead of 38 points. But with Lewis Hamilton having just claimed victory in the Hungarian Grand Prix, he’s beginning to show his strength as a potential contender for a world title and all eyes will be on him throughout the this year’s race. With all of the drivers hungry for a win, and the course sure to throw up its usual thrills and spills, the Belgian Grand Prix is set to be a heart stopper.