Kovalainen: Spa is great, but not the chicane

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Looking ahead to the next round of the world championship at Spa-Francorchamps, Heikki Kovalainen enthused about the track but reserved some criticism for the slow chicane added to the circuit in 2007:

I think Spa is one of the circuits where it’s still possible to have a big accident. It’s little more risky than some of the modern, newer circuits. They’ve tried to work on the worst places here to make sure that if we have a brake failure or a puncture or something in the high-speed we’ve got a bit more room, or we will have a bit less speed.

I think this is their aim and also trying to improve overtaking opportunities on the circuit. You can out-brake someone by getting the drag all the way up from the bottom of the hill towards the last corner and then overtake them under braking. I think this is also one of the reasons why they’ve made a very slow chicane.

Personally, I think it’s the wrong direction – we should have more quicker corners and keep the pace up. But I’m not designing the circuits, I’m not so much involved with the numbers and the safety of the circuit so it’s better to leave that to the professionals.
Heikki Kovalainen

Kovalainen was given a penalty for hitting Mark Webber at the chicane during the 2008 race.

Although improvements in the cars mean the once-mighty Eau Rouge is now taken flat-out, Kovalainen says the track still commands respect:

Spa is a big circuit, a challenging circuit and I think that’s one of the reasons why all of the drivers really like it. There’s some big corners that are not easy to nail.

There are a few famous corners like Eau Rouge. That’s relatively easy now, we’re just going flat out almost in any kind of conditions. It’s not the biggest challenge but there’s some high speed corners, some change of direction in the high speed and you really have to have good balance and high confidence.

The walls are very close, if you fall off there you’re always going to have a big accident. It’s not so easy to nail it, you’ve got to be a little bit brave and wind it up towards qualifying to get everything out.
Heikki Kovalainen

Watch the video above to hear more of Kovalainen’s thoughts on the track.

2010 Belgian Grand Prix

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