• Belgian Grand Prix

Kovalainen mindful of Spa dangers

ESPNF1 Staff
August 17, 2010 « Mercedes releases Heidfeld to Pirelli | »
Heikki Kovalainen enjoys the risk element of driving at Spa © Getty Images

According to Lotus driver Heikki Kovalainen, the element of danger that still exists on the challenging Spa Francorchamps circuit is the reason why drivers love it so much.

"Spa is a big and challenging circuit and one of the reasons all the drivers really like it," Kovalainen told the official Lotus website. "Eau Rouge is relatively easy now to go flat out in almost any conditions so it's not the biggest challenge. But there are some high speed corners where you change direction and really have to have a good balance and good confidence. The walls are really close, so if you fall off there you are always going to have a big accident. You have to be a little bit brave and wind it up towards qualifying to get everything out. This is why Spa is one of the favourites for all the drivers."

With many of the more modern circuits now featuring long run-off areas, twisty sections and tight braking zones, Spa is one of the few remaining traditional circuits where the chance of having a big accident still exists. And although measures have been taken to make the circuit safer than it was, Kovalainen would prefer the speeds to remain as fast as possible.

"Spa is one of the circuits where it is still possible to have a big accident and it is a little bit more risky than perhaps some of the more modern circuits. They have tried to work on the worst places to make sure that if we have a brake failure or puncture at high speed then there will be a bit more room.

"They have also tried to improve the overtaking opportunities on the circuit so you can drag someone all the way to the bottom of the hill towards the last corner and then overtake them under braking. It's one of the reasons they made a very slow chicane. Personally I think it's the wrong direction and we should have some quicker corners and keep the pace up. But I'm not designing the circuit so I'm not really so much involved with the numbers and the safety of the circuit so it's better to leave that to the professionals."