Belgian Grand Prix: Mercedes previews Spa 21 August, 2013 The Belgian Grand Prix, the first race after Formula 1’s summer break, takes place at the historic Spa-Francorchamps circuit in the Ardennes region this weekend. Spa features the longest full-throttle period of the season at 22.7s and 1.84 km from Turns 1 to 5. Engines are at full throttle for 72 % of the lap with 11 of the 14 corners taken in fourth gear or higher. At 7.004 km, the lap at Spa is 2.1 times longer than at the season’s shortest venue, Monaco (3.340 km). This circuit has a 75% risk of a Safety Car deployment, placing it in the ‘very high’ risk category. Nico Rosberg: Spa is most definitely one of the best tracks of the year and all drivers love racing there. It’s a great feeling to drive through the fast corners, and particularly taking Eau Rouge at full throttle. The Belgian Grand Prix is always a special one as it’s very close to Germany and so a lot of our home fans will be there for the weekend, along with some of my friends. The layout and nature of the track should suit our car, although it does require very low downforce so we will have a different aerodynamic specification to the last race. I can’t wait to be back in my Silver Arrow and I hope it will be a successful weekend for us. Lewis Hamilton: It feels like I have been out of the car for a very long time since the win in Hungary and I can’t wait to get going again. I was at the factory yesterday to meet up with my engineers and get in some practice on the simulator so it was nice to see everyone and to feel the enthusiasm around the factory after the summer break. Spa is a fantastic circuit and it’s so much fun to drive. We’re all looking forward to the second half of the season and the opportunity to bring home some more good results. Ross Brawn: After a well-deserved summer break, the factory has been a hive of activity this week as we prepare for the Belgian Grand Prix and the start of the second half of the F1 season. There has been a lot of work to [do] in a very short time to make sure we are ready for the weekend and everyone has been working hard. Both Nico and Lewis have been in the factory with us this week to start our preparations on the simulator and both are raring to get back into the car again. Spa is one of F1’s most historic circuits with its characteristics loved by drivers, fans and the teams alike, and we often see some exciting and dramatic racing there. As usual, we will have a unique aerodynamic package adapted to the Spa layout. We finished the first half of the season on a high and will be aiming for an equally strong second half. Toto Wolff: Our first half of the season exceeded expectations but we will continue to work hard and to improve performance further in the second half. On paper, Spa is a circuit that should suit our car, and Nico and Lewis will be at their best on a real driver’s circuit. We have a strong all-round package at the moment and good momentum after our win in Hungary. However, everybody will bring a special low-drag package for this circuit, so we won’t know who has found the best compromise before we start running on Friday. We cannot take anything for granted in terms of performance and Spa is always a demanding circuit for reliability. The key will be to do our homework well in practice in order to achieve a strong race result for the team. (Mercedes) Subbed by AJN.