Belgian Grand Prix Preview
With racing now fully underway the team prepares to head into its third triple-header starting in Belgium, before moving to two races in Italy at Monza and Mugello. The hill circuit is set in the Ardennes forest and is one the drivers’ most loved tracks due a lot of changes in elevation, rewarding power and downforce that allows them to push their cars to the edge of their capabilities. It is the longest circuit on the Formula One calendar and with all this in mind is generally considered one of the most challenging. The weather in the Ardennes is notoriously tricky that can often lead to highly unpredictable races as it can sometimes be raining on one part of the track and dry on another.
Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance: The third triple-header of the 2020 season will probably go down as one of the most breath-taking sequences of races in recent Formula One history. We begin at the famous Spa circuit in Belgium before moving to the historic high-speed circuit in Monza and then, finally, to the epic Autodromo Internazionale del Mugello for the Tuscan Grand Prix. These venues each have their own varied characteristics and collectively will push the cars, drivers and engineers to the limit.
We begin in the Ardennes at the long, exciting Spa-Francorchamps circuit. Trading downforce and drag to balance performance across the three sectors is key to success here, with S1 and S2 rewarding low drag but S2 containing a series of demanding corners that need high downforce. Teams will try different compromises and will watch what their competitors are doing before settling on a solution. Whilst finding the best aerodynamic package, we also need to concentrate on the tyres. This year, Pirelli bring a range of compounds that are a step softer than last year and this will influence both qualifying and race strategies. We will concentrate on getting the best out of the qualifying tyre for a single lap whilst also looking at the wear and degradation of all three potential race compounds.
The weather normally plays a part in the Spa weekend, and this year is unlikely to be any different. Currently the outlook appears mixed, but nonetheless, we will be prepared for anything.
George Russell: I am looking forward going back racing for the next triple header. On paper, Spa may be a slightly harder circuit for us, due to the high efficiency of the track with the long straights and fast corners. However, we should have a few different components to try and see if that helps us. Nevertheless, it’s going to be great going back to Spa. It looks like it is going to be varied weather conditions which should mix things up and we will be pushing as hard as always to make the most of what the weekend gives us.
Nicholas Latifi: It was good to have this last week and a half off to analyse everything from the last triple header and to recharge the batteries, but now I am super excited to get back behind the wheel. Spa was one of the races that I was most looking forward to driving in Formula One this year, as it is so iconic, and with corners like Eau Rouge and Pouhon, it is the perfect track to drive an F1 car around. Hopefully we can be a bit more competitive than we were in the last race, the team has been doing a lot of work in the background, so I can’t wait to hit the track and get into the next round of triple headers.