Even for its time the 14-kilometre long circuit was fearsomely fast and dangerous. Two drivers were killed in a single weekend in 1960, Chris Bristow and Alan Stacey perishing in separate accidents, and two others suffered major crashes.
By 1970 growing concerns over the frequency of serious accidents led to the circuit being removed from the calendar. It was restored in 1983 having been shortened, but while dramatic corners such as the Masta Kink had been lost other famous bends including Eau Rouge and Blanchimont remained.
The new configuration also added new high-speed turns which complemented the circuit perfectly, including the tricky downhill double-left at Pouhon. Following a one-off return to Zolder in 1984, Spa-Francorchamps has been the home of the Belgian Grand Prix ever since.
The impetus for ever higher safety standards has led to further changes since then. A major overhaul in 2007 led to yet another re-profiling of the problematic ‘bus stop’ chicane, and the run-off area at its many fast corners have been extended as far as possible. Yet it remains one of the most dramatic and exciting venues on the calendar.
|Lap length||7.004km (4.352 miles)|
|Race distance||308.052km (191.415 miles)|
|Pole position||Right-hand side of the track|
|Lap record*||1’47.263 (235.071 kph) by Sebastian Vettel, 2009|
|Fastest lap||1’44.503 (241.279 kph) by Jarno Trulli, 2009|
|Maximum speed||324kph (201.324 mph)|
|DRS zone/s (race)||Pit straight and Kemmel straight|
|Distance from grid to turn one||265m|
|Longest flat-out section||2015m|
|Gear changes per lap||45|
|Fuel use per lap||2.2kg|
|Time penalty per lap of fuel||0.088s|
|Quickest complete pit stop in 2013||22.444s by Ferrari (see full list)|
|2014 prime tyre:||Medium (2013: Hard)|
|2014 option tyre:||Soft (2013: Medium)|
*Fastest lap set during a Grand Prix
Data sources: FIA, Williams, Mercedes
Spa-Francorchamps track map
Spa-Francorchamps video lap
Spa-Francorchamps aerial map
Images © Sauber, Pirelli/LAT, Mercedes/Hoch Zwei