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Belgian GP: Preview - Aston Martin

NEWS STORY
27/07/2023

Lance: "Spa-Francorchamps is a very different circuit to the Hungaroring, with lots of long straights and high-speed corners. We're learning that those characteristics aren't particularly suited to the AMR23, which favours the lower and medium-speed corners, so I think we'll be managing our expectations going into this weekend. That being said, the goal still remains the same: to deliver the best possible result for the team."

Fernando: "We didn't have the easiest weekend in Budapest and ninth was the maximum from Sunday with three points in total collected for the team.

"Belgium is up next and we've had a few days to analyse everything from Hungary. It's a very different challenge here with the high-speed nature of this circuit and I've always enjoyed racing at Spa. It's a challenge we are looking forward to tackling though, and hopefully we can bounce back this weekend with a strong result. It's another Sprint weekend here, so we only have one practice session before Qualifying to get everything optimised, which is a test for all teams, especially with a mixed looking forecast. I'm looking forward to getting back in the cockpit of the AMR23 so soon after Budapest!"

Unlocking the Lap

It's a short run to La Source, the low-speed right-hand hairpin, to open the lap, and then flat-out up the hill through the famous Eau Rouge-Raidillon corners. What follows is the lengthy Kemmel Straight and then the medium-speed right-left-right complex that is Les Combes and Malmédy, where the low kerbs are asking to be attacked.

Rivage is next, a downhill right-hand hairpin where understeer threatens to pull you away from the inside of the turn. It's crucial to use all of the track in the following corners: the rapid Turn 11 and flat-out Pouhon. Fagnes is another right-left chicane where the run-off area can creep up on you, and the right-hander Stavelot comes quickly afterwards.

From there it's almost flat-out from Turn 16 through Blanchimont (Turn 17) and then braking hard into the Bus Stop chicane. It's tempting to get greedy with the throttle but important not to lose time to wheelspin as the start-finish straight follows.

Insight and Speed with Cognizant

• Safety Cars are to be expected at Spa. All but two races have seen a Safety Car deployment since 2014 but there have only been two Virtual Safety Car deployments since 2015, when the system was introduced.

• Overtaking difficulty is average at Spa. The long DRS run to Turn Five is the favoured passing opportunity but the Bus Stop chicane provides another strong opportunity. Last year's Belgian Grand Prix saw 60 passes, excluding starts and restarts.

• Like last year, the C2, C3 and C4 compounds have been supplied by Pirelli. However, Sprint rules come into play: SQ1 and SQ2 must be run on the Medium (C3) tyres. Last year's Belgian Grand Prix saw high tyre degradation and a two-stop race.

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