The legendary Spa-Francorchamps circuit will witness the return of Formula 1 to on-track activity in what will be the 14th round of the 2022 season. The Ardennes track is one of the most anticipated by drivers and fans, and is that its more than 7 kilometers in length are one of the most challenging, in addition to its obvious beauty and high speed, with curves like the Eau Rouge and the Raidillon climb.
The first sector is characterized by a slow curve, the Source , and then the single-seaters face the mythical uphill section until they reach the Kemmel straight, all flat out. After that, the drivers go through a twisty section where a higher load is needed, while the final part of the circuit features another long straight before the Bus Stop chicane.
It is not a place where aerodynamics are decisive, but the teams will have to find a perfect balance for top speed, just like in Monza, as well as taking into account the stress of the Pirelli tyres.
MegaRide simulations for Spa-Francorchamps
As can be seen in the graph made by the MegaRide engineers, all four tires are under great stress. Given the high speed in the many fast corners, the compounds will suffer a lot from lateral stress, something that is increased by the abrasive asphalt of the Belgian track.
The most emblematic section, the one formed by Eau Rouge and the Raidillon climb, precisely the area with the greatest modifications to improve safety after the Dromo Circuit Design works, has maintained its essence and challenging character.
With these changes, it is still not certain that the single-seaters can go flat out, but they will have more loopholes in case something goes wrong. What is certain is that compression and lateral loads will be a point of interest for Pirelli, and from MegaRide they believe that the temperature will increase by almost 50% of the tires in these high-speed corners.
This increase in compounds is mitigated by the long Kemmel straight that leads to Les Combes, the scene of overtaking maneuvers after the use of DRS, although there were also mythical moments without the mobile wing, such as in 2000 with Mika Hakkinen passing Michael Schumacher and Ricardo Zonta in the middle.
It is interesting to see the trend in the first graph, where the energy generated is higher in the first sector, although the weather on the Belgian track is highly variable, as it has been in the past.
For this reason, the weather component may be more important than tire management on a difficult track, but the show will be guaranteed.
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