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Pirelli warn F1 drivers about various modifications to Spa circuit

Formula 1 returns with the Belgian Grand Prix this weekend, but at a tweaked Spa-Francorchamps, with Pirelli warning drivers to be on alert for the changes.

Pirelli have warned Formula 1 drivers about the modifications to the Spa-Francorchamps circuit ahead of the Belgian Grand Prix. Spa has undergone major redevelopment work in the 12 months since the 2021 'race', with the Eau Rouge/Raidillon complex being given the biggest revamp with additional run-off at the top of the hill to improve safety. Elsewhere around the 4.4-mile track in the Ardennes Forest, multiple gravel traps have been added – in places where drivers have typically pushed track limits in the past. And tyre supplier Pirelli believe the changes add a different challenge for the drivers.

Watch out for the gravel, say Pirelli

As well as the run-off and gravel traps, Spa has also undergone some track re-surfacing following damage from heavy floods over the winter. Turns 2-4 (Eau Rouge/Raidillon) and Turns 8 and 9 (the exit of the Les Combes double chicane) have all been given new asphalt – which increases grip and removes bumps. Gravel is now present on the exit of the La Source hairpin at Turn 1, meaning anyone who runs wide faces a trip through the kitty litter. "This year, Spa has undergone some of the biggest changes we have seen since we started going there in the modern era of Formula 1, [but] we know something of what to expect thanks to the 24-hour race last month," explained Pirelli Motorsport Director Mario Isola. "In addition to some new asphalt on five corners, there are new gravel traps on four corners, which are much closer to the track. "Drivers will need to pay more attention to track limits, and there's also an increased chance of sharp gravel being dragged onto the [racing] surface. "The epic nature of Spa remains unchanged though, with all the traditional challenges that make the circuit so exciting still in place."

Pirelli go conservative with tyre choices

Thanks to the high-speed, sweeping corners at Spa, high lateral loads are often placed on the rubber. As a result, Pirelli have opted to bring their middle range of tyres for the F1 race, with the C2-C3-C4 combination in use. The C2 will act as the white-walled Hard tyre, the C3 the yellow Medium, with the red-marked C4 the Soft. As ever, the green Intermediate and blue Wet tyres will also be available, should they be needed.

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