- Circuit type Road
- Circuit Length 7.004kms
- Circuit Turns 19
- Circuit Direction Clockwise
- Capacity 90,000
- Established 1920
- Designer Jules de Their
|First race||Belgian Grand Prix||June 18, 1950||Juan Manuel Fangio (ARG)||full results|
|Last race||Belgian Grand Prix||August 23, 2015||Lewis Hamilton (GBR)||full results|
Belgium's Spa Francorchamps circuit is one of the oldest on the current F1 calendar, hosting its first race in 1922 and its first grand prix in 1925.
The original circuit made up of narrow roads was 9.3miles long (14.9km) and was notoriously dangerous. It was a fast course and until 2000 it was possible to travel over the track as it was a public road.
Its speed meant Spa had a poor safety record. At the 1960 grand prix Chris Bristow and Alan Stacey were killed within minutes of each other, and in 1966 Jackie Stewart crashed and found himself upside down in the cellar of a farmhouse with petrol pouring over him. The old track hosted its final race in 1970, when it was deemed too dangerous for F1; a year earlier drivers had boycotted the race
Spa was missing from the F1 calendar until 1983 when it returned with a drastically reduced circuit of almost 4.5miles. Despite the cuts in length the circuit still managed to retain its magic. The mix of long straights and fast corners, combined with a picturesque setting and notoriously changeable weather keeps it at the top of both drivers and spectators favourite circuits.
Part of the magic of Spa is that it is known and respected as one of the most challenging in the world, and to prove that fact only six drivers have managed to win the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa more than twice: Juan Manual Fangio and Damon Hill both have three wins to their name, Jim Clark and Kimi Raikkonen managed one better with four wins and Ayrton Senna won the race five times. The undisputed Spa master though, is Michael Schumacher who has won a record six times.
Cooper driver Chris Bristow was killed in 1960 after his car hit the bank on the Burnenville corner. It was a gruesome accident and Bristow was decapitated after being flung from the car into a barbed wired fence.
In the same race, just a few hundred yards away, Alan Stacey died after he was hit in the face by a bird and crashed his Lotus at 120mph.