Close this search box.
Close this search box.

Belgium’s Spa Set to Fire

Views : 730 views

Posted on July 27, 2023 Tags:

Aussies Looking Good

Jack Doohan on His Own Planet

SPA-FRANCOCHAMPS, venue for this week’s Belgium Formula One Grand Prix, is one of the season’s most prestigious races and a circuit that is seriously challenging for drivers, cars, and tyres.

And as Oscar Piastri clearly showed around the Hungaroring he’s all class, despite being bumped from a possible podium by his team, Daniel Ricciardo displayed plenty of promise for a plausible 13th after his AlphaTauri was rear-ended at the start.

Spa though is very different

It truly is a classic F1 track.

When it was inaugurated – way back in 1921 – it was 14.9 kilometres in length and, even today, it’s the longest track on the F1 calendar, at 7.004 kilometres. And 44 laps on Sunday for the Belgium Grand Prix.

Oscar will be hellbent on his first podium, after being soundly dudded last up. Daniel has his sights on a minimum Top 10.


 Spa-Francorchamps, Walloon Region, Belgium

F1 drivers and teams have had to deal with plenty of testing times in the wet this season. And this week promises no exception, with Spa set to deliver the goods.

The forecast is always variable at this time of the year highlighted by the length of the track and the variation in elevation – which is also the biggest of the whole season.

Mario Isola, Pirelli’s F1 Motorsport Director, will have a little more to say on that.

And that elevation means it’s easy to find wet conditions on one part of the track, while it’s completely dry elsewhere.

New for this year is Spa becoming the third Sprint venue of the season (after Baku and Spielberg), with a Sprint Shootout Saturday followed by a 100-kilometre race later.

With just an hour of free practice before qualifying Friday, which seems to be the day most at risk of rain, there is even less time than usual to set up the cars.

Traditionally, the weather at Spa is a key factor throughout the weekend; the fact that the Belgium Grand Prix is a month earlier suggests true Summer is late arriving.  

Tyres on Track

As was the case for the 2022 Belgian Grand Prix, the teams will have the C2 as P Zero White hard, C3 Yellow medium and C4 Red soft.  

Last year, nearly all the teams opted for a two-stop strategy using all three compounds.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen lined up 14th on the grid after a penalty but won the race with a great fightback, starting on the softs and then completing two stints on the medium.\

Spa-Francorchamps is also a special place for Charles Leclerc, who won his first Formula 1 race here with Ferrari in 2019.

The Italian team has taken the most victories at Spa (14) since 1950, while Michael Schumacher has the highest number of individual victories (six) in Belgium.

Raidillon: where the downforce squashes the car into the ground

“At Spa, we tend to see some of the biggest differences in terms of aerodynamic setup between the teams: some prefer more downforce to push harder during the second sector while others prefer a looser car for that extra speed to attack and defend more down the straights.              

“Along with Silverstone and Suzuka, Spa-Francorchamps is a circuit where the tyres are subjected to considerable forces.

“The most challenging part for tyres in Belgium is the compression at Eau Rouge followed by the climb up to Raidillon: consisting of a high-speed left-hand turn, where the downforce squashes the car into the ground, followed by another high-speed right-left kink where the car goes light at the top of the hill onto the Kemmel straight.”


•             The Belgium circuit has the biggest difference in elevation of any track all year. The highest point is at Malmedy (around 468 metres above sea level) while the lowest is Paul Frere (around 366 metres above sea level).

And, according to Mario’s calculations, that’s a difference of 102.2 metres: more than the height of the Big Ben clock tower in London!

After Belgium, the world’s premier motorsport event takes time out for their long-awaited summer break.

And I’m taking a break as well, pretending I’m off galivanting around the world like F1 teams, rather than being at home in chilly Ocean Reef. I’ll be back in time for the Netherlands Grand Prix August 25-27.

Feisty Simona Set for Bathurst

Swiss gun Simona De Silvestro set for 2023 Bathurst 1000. Image courtesy

I’m delighted to hear Simona De Silvestro is back for the 2023 Bathurst 1000 as a wildcard entry with the Shell V-Power Racing Team, alongside teenager Kai Alle.

The 34-yearold gun Swiss driver makes her first Great Race start since 2019, when she raced full-time with Kelly Racing and Nissan.

After leaving Supercars she joined Porsche’s factory programme and is a test and reserve day driver for the marque’s Formula E team.

Simona is a class person as well as a super racer, who has made IndyCar cameos and raced in ADAC GT Masters. It’ll be great to see her back in action at Australia’s magnificent Mount Panorama circuit.

Jack Finally Nails It!

IT’S TAKEN SOME TIME this season, but young gun Jack Doohan has shown his class with a stunning FIA F2 race win at the Hungarian Grand Prix last weekend, to have him sitting on 100 championship points.

In his overdue victory in the F2 feature race at the Hungaroring his performance was simply flawless, with pole in qualy then leading from start to finish, and fastest lap – his first win of the year and a timely fillip for his title chances.

The 20-year-old led all 37 laps to get the victory ahead of series leader Frederik Vesti (153 points) and Victor Martins. It’s the fourth race win of Jack’s F2 career, after three victories in 2022 in his first stellar year in the category.

Jack on “another planet”

Jack and dad Mick Doohan, five-time MotoGP champion. Image courtesy Fox Sports.

The Aussie youngster has had a tough run of luck this year, including his car catching fire in a spooky crash at Monaco.

  “Doohan is on another planet compared to everyone today,” according to commentator Alex Jacques. “A frustrated figure for so much of this season, is on his way to celebrating a superb drive. What a dominant drive by the young Australian. His long wait is over with a drive of real style.”

“That was just a perfect race. The car was unbelievable,” said Jack, over team radio.

“I’m stoked. It was an awesome qualy and then to have a race like that, it was awesome. The car was on rails.”

Jack is Alpine’s 2023 F1 reserve driver and needs luck on his side for the remainder of this season to ensure his future with the team and become the next Aussie in F1.


Tin-top Takeover for Wanneroo

TOP-CLASS MOTORSPORT is back at Raceway, Wanneroo, this weekend with the LGC Equipment Hire Cup featuring the Saloon Cars and Production Cars Enduro!

 The event is round 5 on WA Sporting Car Club’s season calendar and is a near-complete tintop takeover with Holden HQ, Improved Production Cars, Street Cars, WA Muscle Cars, Sports Cars, Sport Sedans, Saloon Cars, Production Cars and the only open wheel category Formula Vee.

It’s a great day out for families a full day’s motorsport action for just $10 per car, with the next scheduled meet at the Raceway scheduled for September.

Head on over to the WASCC YouTube page to watch every race with Vaughan Brewer and Chris Mitchell on the recap plus interviews with various drivers across the paddock.

Mark these dates in your calendar!

Don’t forget Saturday September 30 when Raceway hosts the International Festival of Speed, featuring a lineup of some of Perth’s most extraordinary cars.

Taste some of WA’s best wines and food and enjoy a host of exciting activities. Stay tuned for more information, and don’t miss out on an unforgettable family event.

The WASCC’s next sundowner is Sunday November 19, with the 2023 annual general meeting on Friday December 15 from 6:00 PM at the McCrackan Clubhouse.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *