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.

History

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.

Belgian Grand PrixBelgian 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 Circuit

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.

Race Winners

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:

Repeat Winners of Belgian Grand Prix
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
Belgian Grand Prix Winners
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 Information

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.

Access

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.

Contact Details

Spa Grand Prix S.A.
Route du Circuit, 38
B-4970 Francorchamps
Belgium

Tel: +32 (0)87224466
Fax: +32 (0)87224455
Web: www.Spa-Francorchamps.be