Belgian F1 GP 2022 preview part 1 – Spa: When the cards lie
Sector one and three of irrelevant straights in lap time
What happens in the central zone is what marks the return
We begin a cycle of three articles that will take us to the Belgian F1 GP 2022, and in which we will see different aspects before taking them into account for the development of the weekend.
This is the “track map”.
And here is the representation of the data:
The Belgian circuit of Spa-Francorchamps is one of the “cathedrals of speed in the world”, well known for its length, seven kilometres, its long stretches of speed and full throttle and for the demands placed on mechanics, as they must carry out intense and continuous work. Thus, it is clearly framed within group D, the same group as that of the mythical Monza.
Sector one is a sector of pure power and speed, highly motorized. It has two key points, the first corner, La Source, very slow and decisive in the three phases, braking, overtaking and above all the start, which continues with the mythical Col de l’Eau Rouge ending on the Kemmel straight. It only has one brake, which means that the rest of the sector is at full throttle, and from the second area of the grid, located on the one-two straight, everything is at full throttle. speed above 300 km/h. . .
Sector two radically changes register. Slow and aero sections reappear, and mechanical and aero grip are again key. The Combes triple curve and the Pouhon sector are the critical and most stressed sections; It will also be important to have a progressive progression in the supply of petrol so as not to have understeer problems at the start of the first part of the stage and not take the flaw in the Pouhon zone. And sector three changes register again, picking up what was seen in sector one. It is a pure speed section after the release of Stavelot and only the section of the Chicane of the parada del bus breaks the trend, an area in which the records are preserved and in which only the zone of the chicane offers the opportunity to generate time.
Spa is a circuit that has a wide range of areas and stages, from slow parts to much faster ones. In the slow ones we find the T1 and T18, which go below 100 km/h, in the medium ones we have the T5-T9 section, with the passage through Les Combes and the descent towards Brussels, and the T12-T14 complex, And as high -speed areas, we have the long acceleration section that goes from T1 to T5, via red water and stiffen, arrival at T12 by Pouhon and the arrival at the bus stop, long zones of flat gasoline in which accelerates a lot and for a long time. All this in its 7,004 meters of route, which make it a very complete and demanding circuit.
In terms of loads, we see that there are many areas that stand out in the lateral load, both left and right, which already shows the great relevance and demand that the tires are going to have in this circuit. Highlights T10-T11 in the double of Pouhon, the rapid passage through the Raidillon, and Blanchimont, en route to the finish straight. However, longitudinally, the demand is a little less and only six important braking points are distinguished in the Tour, with four important traction zones, such as T1, T9, T14 and T18, on the finish line. Less important, and more secondary than the lateral component.
Here are the sensitivities that this tracing presents:
At the sensitivity level, we see that the weight is very important in this circuit, especially in the central part of the Tour, which leads to 57% of the total round, with 0.2 seconds/10 kilos on 0.35 second/10 kilos from total turn. S1 and S3 are less relevant, although they are also important. In terms of power, the first section is the most relevant, and also the third, being more balanced and without as many differences, since each sector has an area in which 300 kilometers/hour are reached, with the difference in time that remains at this speed. And in terms of adhesion, the central area of the Tour also stands out significantly, since the first and third sectors are essentially straight lines and have only one braking and traction point.
All of this can be contrasted with the evolution of towers:
With the reference data for 2020, taking into account the very specific conditions of last season, we see that the times started at 1’45 ”, which is already a very fast time for such a long circuit. From there, 0.5 seconds was improved in free practice 2, with 0.3 seconds in S2 and 0.15 seconds in S1; and another 0.4 seconds in free practice 3, also with the central part as the most relevant. This was due to the fact that the power and electrical management cards were the same and that the speed at each detection point was the same. The classification has already taken an important step, with more power and more speed in the straight line, which has improved times of 1.6 seconds, 0.5 seconds in S1, 0.28 seconds in S3 and especially 0.8 seconds in S2. For the race, the more conservative cards have returned and a lot of time was lost, going up to 1’50”4 de rhythm and losing a second in S1 and S3 and no less than 5.4 seconds in S2.
In general, we can have a very relevant thing. All that matters, and almost the only thing that matters in Spa, is the central part. The involvement that the first and third zones of the Tour have is zero, as well as what you can gain in speed on the straight line, but what is happening in the central part of the Tour is what determines. For this reason, the tour is reduced to what is happening between the T5 and the T15, barely 2,700 meters which explain everything, and which make the important pass in the curve and not in the straight line. Indeed, many times, everything that has been won in 2200 meters, like the S1, is lost in 250 meters, like the passage through the Combes.
As for Cross-Overs, here is the situation:
The cross will be about 1’56” for the race and 1’53” in the classification for the intermediate tire, and 2’10” for the rain tire. Above 2’25” there will be a significant risk of a red flag due to the accumulation of water on the track.
These are the big keys to the Spa-Francorchamps circuit, a circuit that is not what it seems and that takes everything in the central area, Campus Combes, 2,700 meters full of curves that make or breaks . A very demanding circuit, in which you can see big differences and in which everything is in a few meters.
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