Belgian Grand Prix
The Belgian Grand Prix is part of the Formula One World Championship. Belgium's Spa-Francorchamps circuit is among the most historic on the Formula One calendar, having hosted a (non-championship) Grand Prix as long ago as 1924, and remains one of the most popular venues with drivers and fans alike.
Run on narrow public roads (similar to Le Mans in France), the original Spa layout was almost 15 kilometres long and notoriously dangerous. The lap distance was reduced slightly over the years, with some corners eased, but when it staged its final Grand Prix in 1970 it still measured just over 14 kilometres and remained amazingly fast.
The Spa returned to the calendar in 1983 in a drastically revised form, with lap distance cut to just under seven kilometres. Around two thirds of the lap used the original layout and the legendary Eau Rouge corner remained intact. The only criticism of the reworked course was the new Bus Stop chicane on the run down to La Source.
The Spa still remains the longest circuit on the calendar. Its mix of long straights and challenging fast corners, coupled with its picturesque setting, means that most drivers still rank it among their favourite tracks. The weather is still notoriously changeable; at one point in the events history it rained for twenty consecutive years. Frequently drivers confront a part of the course that is clear and bright while another stretch is rainy and slippery.
Such is the challenge of Spa that only the truly great drivers can really claim to have mastered it. In fact just six men have won the race more than twice - Juan Manuel Fangio (three times), Damon Hill (three times), Kimi Raikkonen (three times), Jim Clark (four times), Ayrton Senna (five times) and Michael Schumacher (six times).