The circuit will host the Belgian Grand Prix this weekend and is a favourite among drivers and fans alike thanks to its fast-flowing corners and drastic changes in elevation, with Eau Rouge being one of the most popular corners on the calendar. However, this does pose a challenge to the tyre supplier as well.
“Spa is not only an epic circuit, but also one of the biggest challenges for our tyres all year,” Hembery explained. “Mostly this is because of the very high-energy loads that go all the way through the tyres, both vertically – due to the big compressions such as Eau Rouge – and also laterally at fast corners like Blanchimont.
“Often, the tyres are subjected to forces acting in different directions at the same time, which increases the work still further. So looking after the tyres is very important, particularly as it’s such a long lap. This means that there are a very wide variety of possible strategies available at Spa as well, with plenty of time to be won and lost if the right tactics are chosen.”
Tyre strategy is crucial at Spa, with Jenson Button and Sebastian Vettel both one-stopping last season to undercut their two-stopping rivals and finish first and second respectively.
For the cynics, it is unlikely that we will see a repeat of the fiasco that ensued at Silverstone as the same tyre constructions that were used at last year’s race are present for the weekend.
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic.