Pirelli informed F1 drivers of the changes made to the Spa-Francorchamps track ahead of the Belgian Grand Prix.
Pirelli F1 head Mario Isola warns that drivers will need to pay considerably closer attention to track limits due to the implementation of more gravel traps all around the track at Spa.
Spa had significant renovations in the year following the 2021 event after announcing an €80 million reconstruction scheme, with the Eau Rouge/Raidillon complex receiving the most attention and receiving additional run-off at the summit of the hill to increase safety.
The first phase of this project, which involved many changes to the run-off sections of the track, was finished this spring with the installation of a new grandstand atop the steeply ascending Eau Rouge-Raidillon complex.
Numerous gravel traps have been erected at other locations on the 4.4-mile circuit in the Ardennes Forest, particularly in spots where drivers have frequently pushed the track’s limits. This is the case for the La Source exits, Turns 6 and 7 at Les Combes, and the reprofiled downhill Turn 9 left-hand turn.
Spa has received some track resurfacing in addition to the run-off and gravel traps as a result of damage from significant flooding over the winter. New asphalt has been added to Turns 2-4 (Eau Rouge/Raidillon), Turns 8 and 9 (the exit of the Les Combes double chicane), which improves traction and eliminates bumps.
Anyone who runs wide at Turn 1 will now encounter gravel on the exit of the La Source hairpin, forcing them to wade through cat litter.
“This year, Spa has undergone some of the biggest changes we have seen since we started going there in the modern era of Formula 1… we know something of what to expect thanks to the 24-hour race last month,” explained Pirelli Motorsport Director Mario Isola.
“In addition to some new asphalt on five corners, there are some new gravel traps on four corners, which are much closer to the side of the track.”
“Drivers will need to pay more attention to track limits, and there’s also an increased chance of sharp gravel being dragged onto the surface.”
“The epic nature of Spa remains unchanged though, with all the traditional challenges that make the circuit so exciting still in place.”
Spa is one of the toughest circuits on tyres due to its strong lateral loads, and Pirelli has chosen three mid-range compounds: C2, C3, and C4.
Sadly, the race was notoriously canceled last year, and the unpredictable weather in the Belgian Ardennes this year may once again cause havoc with the event and compel Pirelli to use its blue complete wet or green intermediate tyres.