Belgian Grand Prix
The Belgian Grand Prix is based at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, commonly referred to as Spa. The first Belgian Grand Prix was held at Spa in 1925; it has previously been held at the Zolder and Nivelles circuits.
The Spa circuit was constructed in 1921, but only motorcycle races were held there until 1924. Following the success of the 24-hour race at Le Mans in France, Belgium held a similar endurance racing event in 1924 called the Spa 24-hours.
The area is famed for its unpredictable weather, at one point it rained on every Belgian Grand Prix for 20 consecutive years. For this reason the Belgian Grand Prix is often referred to as the most challenging race in the Formula One calendar.
The first Belgian Grand Prix was in 1925 and was won by Antonio Ascari whose son went on to win the race twice in the 1950s. Tragically, after his win at the Belgian Grand Prix, Ascari went on to be killed in an accident at the French Grand Prix.
The Belgian Grand Prix has also claimed lives. In 1939 Richard ‘Dick’ Seaman was leading the race before crashing his car into a tree during lap 22; he was aged just 26. Just over twenty years later, both Chris Bristow and Alan Stacey lost their lives in completely unrelated incidents.
1972 saw Spa being declared too dangerous for Formula One machinery so the decision was made to have the Belgian Grand Prix alternate between Zolder and Nivelles-Baulers. Both the 1972 and 1974 Nivelles races were won by Brazilian Emerson Fittipaldi, but the circuit was considered boring in comparison with Spa, so the Grand Prix thereafter took place only at Zolder.
The Belgian Grand Prix was held at Zolder for nine consecutive years before returning to Spa in 1983. Despite being home to some fantastic victories, Zolder is still most famous for the darker side of Formula One. In 1981 there was a bad starting-line accident and a mechanic was later killed in the pitline. In 1982 Gilles Villeneuve, father of 1997 World Champion Jacques Villeneuve, died in a high-speed accident.
The Belgian Grand Prix returned to Zolder for the 1984 race, which was won by Michele Alboreto, but went back to Spa in 1985 where it has stayed ever since. Michael Schumacher made his debut at Spa in 1991 for Benetton and raced to his first Formula One victory in 1992.
A few years later, Schumacher was involved in some controversy at the 1994 race, which led to him being disqualified and his victory being awarded to second place Damon Hill. The 1998 Belgian Grand Prix was held in horrific weather conditions and was originally stopped following a massive collision involving 13 of the 22 drivers.
Only eight participants were classed as finishers, two of whom were five laps behind. The race was won by Damon Hill, followed by his team-mate Ralf Schumacher; the victory was team Jordan’s first-ever in Formula One.
Michael Schumacher won his 52nd Grand Prix at Spa in 2001, passing Alain Prost’s previous record of 51 wins. The Belgian Grand Prix was cancelled in 2003 due to a change in the tobacco licensing laws, but the race returned the following year. Major repair works were in progress at Spa in 2006 so it was left out of the Formula One calendar again. The 2007 race was won by Kimi Raikkonen, his third consecutive win at Spa.
The Spa-Francorchamps circuit length is 7.004 kilometres, or 4.352 miles, and the race consists of 44 laps. The total race length is 308.176 kilometres, or 191.492 miles. The circuit is hilly and cuts through the Ardennes, but it is also very fast and speeds of over 330 km/hr can be reached. It is considered one of the most challenging tracks in the world along with the Suzuka circuit in Japan. The fastest lap time of 1 minute 45.108 seconds was recorded in 2004 by Kimi Raikkonen.
A full list Belgian Grand Prix Winners since the inaugural 1925 race is given below. Several drivers have enjoyed multiple wins, their achievements are summarised in the following table:
|Number of Wins||Driver and Nationality||Years|
|6||Michael Schumacher (German)||1992, 1995, 1996, 1997, 2001, 2002|
|5||Ayrton Senna (Brazilian)||1985, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991|
|4||Jim Clark (English)||1962, 1963, 1964, 1965|
|3||Juan Manuel Fangio (Argentine)||1950, 1954, 1955|
|3||Damon Hill (English)||1993, 1994, 1998|
|3||Kimi Raikkonen (Finnish)||2004, 2005, 2007|
|2||Alberto Ascari (Italian)||1952, 1953|
|2||Emerson Fittipaldi (Brazilian)||1972, 1974|
|2||Niki Lauda (Austrian)||1975, 1976|
|2||Alain Prost (French)||1983, 1987|
|Year||Driver and Nationality||Constructor||Location|
|2007||Kimi Raikkonen (Finnish)||Ferrari||Spa-Francorchamps|
|2005||Kimi Raikkonen (Finnish)||McLaren-Mercedes||Spa-Francorchamps|
|2004||Kimi Raikkonen (Finnish)||McLaren-Mercedes||Spa-Francorchamps|
|2002||Michael Schumacher (German)||Ferrari||Spa-Francorchamps|
|2001||Michael Schumacher (German)||Ferrari||Spa-Francorchamps|
|2000||Mika Hakkinen (Finnish)||McLaren-Mercedes||Spa-Francorchamps|
|1999||David Coulthard (English)||McLaren-Mercedes||Spa-Francorchamps|
|1998||Damon Hill (English)||Jordan-Mugen-Honda||Spa-Francorchamps|
|1997||Michael Schumacher (German)||Ferrari||Spa-Francorchamps|
|1996||Michael Schumacher (German)||Ferrari||Spa-Francorchamps|
|1995||Michael Schumacher (German)||Benetton-Renault||Spa-Francorchamps|
|1994||Damon Hill (English)||Williams-Renault||Spa-Francorchamps|
|1993||Damon Hill (English)||Williams-Renault||Spa-Francorchamps|
|1992||Michael Schumacher (German)||Benetton-Ford||Spa-Francorchamps|
|1991||Ayrton Senna (Brazilian)||McLaren-Honda||Spa-Francorchamps|
|1990||Ayrton Senna (Brazilian)||McLaren-Honda||Spa-Francorchamps|
|1989||Ayrton Senna (Brazilian)||McLaren-Honda||Spa-Francorchamps|
|1988||Ayrton Senna (Brazilian)||McLaren-Honda||Spa-Francorchamps|
|1987||Alain Prost (French)||McLaren-TAG||Spa-Francorchamps|
|1986||Nigel Mansell (English)||Williams-Honda||Spa-Francorchamps|
|1985||Ayrton Senna (Brazilian)||Lotus-Renault||Spa-Francorchamps|
|1984||Michele Albereto (Italian)||Ferrari||Zolder|
|1983||Alain Prost (French)||Renault||Spa-Francorchamps|
|1982||John Watson (English)||McLaren-Ford||Zolder|
|1981||Carlos Reutemann (Argentine)||Williams-Ford||Zolder|
|1980||Didier Pironi (French)||Ligier-Ford||Zolder|
|1979||Jody Scheckter (South African)||Ferrari||Zolder|
|1978||Mario Andretti (American)||Lotus-Ford||Zolder|
|1977||Gunnar Nilsson (Swedish)||Lotus-Ford||Zolder|
|1976||Niki Lauda (Austrian)||Ferrari||Zolder|
|1975||Niki Lauda (Austrian)||Ferrari||Zolder|
|1974||Emerson Fittipaldi (Brazilian)||McLaren-Ford||Nivelles|
|1973||Jackie Stewart (English)||Tyrrell-Ford||Zolder|
|1972||Emerson Fittipaldi (Brazilian)||Lotus-Ford||Nivelles|
|1970||Pedro Rodriguez (Mexican)||BRM||Spa-Francorchamps|
|1968||Bruce McLaren (New Zealander)||McLaren-Ford||Spa-Francorchamps|
|1967||Dan Gurney (Australian)||Eagle-Weslake||Spa-Francorchamps|
|1966||John Surtees (English)||Ferrari||Spa-Francorchamps|
|1965||Jim Clark (English)||Lotus-Climax||Spa-Francorchamps|
|1964||Jim Clark (English)||Lotus-Climax||Spa-Francorchamps|
|1963||Jim Clark (English)||Lotus-Climax||Spa-Francorchamps|
|1962||Jim Clark (English)||Lotus-Climax||Spa-Francorchamps|
|1961||Phil Hill (American)||Ferrari||Spa-Francorchamps|
|1960||Jack Brabham (Australian)||Cooper-Climax||Spa-Francorchamps|
|1958||Tony Brooks (English)||Vanwall||Spa-Francorchamps|
|1956||Peter Collins (English)||Lancia-Ferrari||Spa-Francorchamps|
|1955||Juan Manuel Fangio (Argentine)||Mercedes-Benz||Spa-Francorchamps|
|1954||Juan Manuel Fangio (Argentine)||Maserati||Spa-Francorchamps|
|1953||Alberto Ascari (Italian)||Ferrari||Spa-Francorchamps|
|1952||Alberto Ascari (Italian)||Ferrari||Spa-Francorchamps|
|1951||Giuseppe Farina (Italian)||Alfa-Romeo||Spa-Francorchamps|
|1950||Juan Manuel Fangio (Argentine)||Alfa-Romeo||Spa-Francorchamps|
|1949||Louis Rosier (French)||Talbot||Spa-Francorchamps|
|1947||Jean-Pierre Wimille (French)||Alfa-Romeo||Spa-Francorchamps|
|1946||Eugene Chaboud (French)||Delage||Spa-Francorchamps|
|1939||Hermann Lang (German)||Mercedes-Benz||Spa-Francorchamps|
|1937||Rudolf Hasse (German)||Auto Union||Spa-Francorchamps|
|1935||Rudolf Caracciola (German)||Mercedes-Benz||Spa-Francorchamps|
|1934||Rene Dreyfuss (French)||Bugatti||Spa-Francorchamps|
|1933||Tazio Nuvolari (Italian)||Maserati||Spa-Francorchamps|
|1931||William Grover-Williams (English)/Caberto Conelli (Italian)||Bugatti||Spa-Francorchamps|
|1930||Louis Chiron (Monegasque)||Bugatti||Spa-Francorchamps|
|1925||Antonio Ascari (Italian)||Alfa-Romeo||Spa-Francorchamps|
Ticket prices are divided into three different categories of Gold, Silver and Bronze depending on whether you want covered or uncovered seating. These are then subdivided depending on where you want to sit around the track.
- Bronze prices start from £135 for the Sunday, £150 for the weekend and £75 for children under 15.
- Silver prices start from £270 for Sunday, £300 for the weekend and £150 for children.
- Gold prices start from £360 for Sunday, £400 for the weekend and £200 for children.
For specific prices visit the Belgian Formula One ticket site, which will give information on any discounts as well.
Spa-Francorchamps is about two hours from Brussels, which is easily accessible by air (view Brussels Airport details here) and Eurostar. Car rental in Belgium is quite cheap and provides an easy way to get around. Francorchamps is a small village without a train station so it is easiest to access the track by car or other public transport, although this can be expensive and will be very crowded over the race weekend.
Spa Grand Prix S.A.
Route du Circuit, 38
Tel: +32 (0)87224466
Fax: +32 (0)87224455