August 27, 2012

F1 on SPEED!: Belgium, man, BELGIUM!!! 2012

*tap tap tap*
*ahem*
...is this thing on?  No?
My fellow Americans, I'm pleased to tell you that I've signed legislation that will outlaw Hermann Tilke forever.  We begin bombi... what?
We're live?


Welcome, my friends, to the return of F1!  The long, long summer break is over, the teams have been let back into the factories, the drivers their cockpits, the media their free meals.  And where better to restart the season than on the greatest circuit on the F1 calendar, Spa-Francorchamps?  Let's take a look at the track map:

Over the years, I've written a metric farkton about this piece of racing heaven in the Ardennes forest, and I'm sure I'll write more in the future, but for now let's concentrate on the usual bits of information.  The first thing you notice about Spa-Francopants when you're not looking at an overhead map is the elevation change.

That's looking down from Radillon to Eau Rouge, and you begin to understand just what sort of hill-climbing this place entails.  But, as they say in Brussels, "what goes up must come down," and Spa-Francoamerican does that with a vengeance.  For example:

This is looking from Turn 09 down towards Pouhon, and it keeps plunging down until you reach Fagnes, more or less.  Then you even go slightly uphill returning to the start/finish line.  If you're susceptible to road sickness, this is NOT the track for you.

Fortunately for all of us, the Legendary Announce Team does not have that malady, and SPEED will be bringing us their usual sterling coverage of the entire race weekend!  Let's take a look at the schedule, shall we?
Friday:
P1: 3a - 430a, streaming
P2: 7a - 840a, live
Saturday:
P3: 4a - 5a, streaming
Quals: 7a - 830a, live-ish
Sunday:
Grand Prix of Belgium: 630a - 9a, live!

On the other hand, the F1 Update! crew has been working 60 hour weeks and this one is no different, with the first football game of the season at Duck U on Saturday.  Who knows what the coverage will be like for P2 and Quals?  The race, though?  Oh, we'll be here for it for sure!  See you then... I'll bring the waffles, you bring the sprouts.

UPDATE: We here at F1U! would be remiss if we didn't wish Bernie Ecclestone a happy wedding!  The F1 Supremo/Troll, 81, married Fabiana Flosi, his 35-year-old girlfriend/marketing director last weekend.  Through our contacts in Switzerland, we've had the pleasure of seeing the actual service; here's a short clip!  Good luck, you two wacky kids!

Posted by: Wonderduck at 07:51 PM | Comments (4) | Add Comment
Post contains 432 words, total size 3 kb.

1 So this is your #1 favorite track. I'm guessing that Monza is #2 and Suzuka is #3. How close did I come?

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at August 27, 2012 08:19 PM (+rSRq)

2 It's the greatest track on the calendar, but it's not my favorite. 

#1 on my list is Silverstone, then Spa-Francoshorts, then it's a toss-up between Japan or Canada.

Monza isn't on my short list because, while it is legendary, it's just not that interesting to me.  Monaco is interesting, but it went a long time before it started to give us good races (which it's done recently, to be sure). 

We'll see soon enough where Austin and Weehawken show up on the list.

Posted by: Wonderduck at August 27, 2012 08:33 PM (JwLyo)

3 I think the New Jersey track looks like it'll be good, maybe even *very* good.  Plenty of elevation change, and being a street circuit, Tilke can't make it entirely boring.  The track in Texas, though... I don't know... it might be okay, but I can't see it having any particular character.
Suzuka and Spa are my favorites on the current calendar.

Posted by: flatdarkmars at August 27, 2012 11:27 PM (I55Es)

4 Here is a simulated/cgi lap of the Circuit of the Americas.  The announcers keep comparing turns to Turkey, which I'm not sure is a good thing.  But it looks like it should be interesting.

Posted by: David at August 28, 2012 11:45 AM (+yn5x)

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