Formula 1 2013 circuit guide: Belgian Grand Prix

The longest track of the F1 season has had its fair share of tweaks since first designed in 1924, but it remains the drivers' best-loved circuit

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Belgian Grand Prix, Spa-Francorchamps
25 August, 1pm GMT
Live on BBC and Sky Sports F1

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First Grand Prix: 1950
Track length: 7.004 km
Number of laps: 44
Lap record: 1:47.263 – Sebastian Vettel (2009)

Another historic European circuit, Spa-Francorchaps careers over the slopes of the Ardennes mountains and includes the most fabled corner in the world: Eau Rouge.

The original course was made up of over 14km of public roads, and while the track was finally closed to public vehicles in 2000 the course still clings to that rebellious early history. Drivers throw themselves into the radical left-right-left flick of Eau Rouge as it ascends the hill from the starting grid.

Coupled with the demanding series of corners is the notoriously changeable weather that frequently means drivers are starting their lap in the dry and are slippering over sodden tarmac by the end.

The circuit was retired in 1970 and did not return to the F1 calendar until 1983 once safety regulations had made it fit for modern racing. 2012 however saw one of the most dramatic and dangerous crashes in recent years, with Romain Grosjean setting off a multi car collision that saw his car fly barely a metre over the head of Fernando Alonso. He paid for it with a one-race ban.

Jenson Button eventually won the race after a lengthy period behind the safety car, but it was Kimi Raikkonen who showed his true grit by swooping past Michael Schumacher at Eau Rouge, not normally considered ideal overtaking territory.

This year once again the drivers will pit their skills against the ribbon of track rollercoasting through the trees. For everyone on the grid, it will be a rare privilege.

2012 memory: The pileup on lap one which thankfull only resulted in a race ban for Sebastian Grosjean. It oculd have been much worse.

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Previous winners
2012: Jenson Button
2011: Sebastian Vettel
2010: Lewis Hamilton
2009: Kimi Raikkonen
2008: Felipe Massa