The sun sets on the summer break as we return to the race track following Formula One's now traditional two-week shutdown for the Belgian Grand Prix. A favourite amongst fans, Spa-Francorchamps is the longest track on the calendar at 7.004km and hosts some of the most famous sequence of corners in the world. With a mix of long straights and challenging high-speed turns, the circuit is a favourite amongst drivers and the exciting, ever-changing nature of the weather in the Ardennes Forest often leads to highly unpredictable races.
Both Robert and George are familiar with Spa-Francorchamps and it is a circuit they enjoy driving. The team's Reserve Driver, Nicholas Latifi will drive the FW42 once again during FP1.
Dave Robson, Senior Race Engineer: The second half of the 2019 campaign starts at one of the most iconic of Formula One venues, Spa-Francorchamps. The circuit is a long and demanding mix of high-speed corners and long straights, and this is likely to encourage teams to a lower downforce and drag set-up than that deployed in Hungary.
The weather can often be quite mixed in Spa, although the current forecast looks unusually stable, and this will only increase the incentive to lower the downforce level.
Nicholas joins us on Friday for his third FP1 session of the season and it will be interesting to get his impression of how the car has changed since his last outing in France. Having seen some improvements in our performance in Budapest. The Friday programme will involve understanding how best to adapt the car to suit Spa and understanding how to get the most from the Pirelli tyres in qualifying.
Robert Kubica: Spa is a great place and a favourite for a lot of drivers. The track characteristics are completely different to any other; it has a lot of high-speed corners and long turns. It is a unique place with very changeable weather that can play an important role. It is an amazing track and I am looking forward to it.
George Russell: The holidays have been great, but I have missed racing. To have the Belgian Grand Prix as our first race after the summer break is exciting, as it's a circuit I love driving. After a positive weekend in Hungary, we hope to maintain that improvement. We know that the circuit characteristics do not necessarily suit our car, but we'll have to wait and see.
Nicholas Latifi: I'm really looking forward to getting back in the car for FP1 at Spa. After the summer break I always have an extra urge to drive as it feels like a long time being out of the seat. To have the opportunity to experience current Formula One cars at a track like Spa will be something special. I haven't driven the FW42 since FP1 at the French Grand Prix and there has been a lot of development since then. It will be a good test for myself and for the team to get another opinion on the direction that the car is going in. As always, my goal remains the same, to maximise the mileage and to give the best possible feedback to help the team going into FP2.