Jérôme d’Ambrosio, Lotus F1 Team
As a Belgian, I’m really proud to have Spa as my home track. It’s a fantastic circuit with many awesome corners; everyone talks about Eau Rouge but there’s something challenging about every other turn we go through and the racing is always fantastic. We are almost always on the throttle, demanding more from the engine all the time — more power, more grip. Even in the slower corners like the Bus Stop and La Source we need good response and stability so good engine mapping and management can make a huge difference over such a long lap.
Rémi Taffin, Renault Sport F1 head of track operations
Monza may have a higher percentage of the lap spent at full throttle but Spa is even more challenging due to the variety of corners and the changes in elevation over the awesome 7km lap. Top end power is crucial for the long wide open throttle times, as there are straights where the RS27 will be at full throttle for well over 20secs. As a result, almost all our partners will use fresh engines for this race to give as much power advantage as possible.
While good top end power is important, we still need to deliver a smooth power curve for the flowing corners like Blanchimont. The driver will enter at very high speed and needs to be able to maintain it without the rear braking away. We can’t neglect rear stability either as there are two very marked braking zones; La Source, where drivers drop to just 70kph and 8,700rpm, and the Bus Stop, taken at around 75kph after braking down from well over 300kph. The bursts of acceleration after the big stops also demand a good 7th gear ratio, essential for a good lap time, so we need to be completely on top of every area of performance.
It’s one of the circuits we use as a control circuit as it really tests an engine’s reliability and performance on all levels. We spend the most time in the dyno for this race; approx 4.5 hours and a further five hours calibration. For this reason, winning at this track is potentially more rewarding than at any other circuit on the calendar for an engine manufacturer.