Formula 1 in Spa: Summer break is over!

Formula One’s annual trip to Spa-Francorchamps officially signals the end of the summer break! We have picked up where we left off and returned to work this week, after the mandatory two-week shutdown period.

Our first stop after the summer break is Spa – an historic circuit that has been the venue of some of the most spectacular races in F1 history. Corners like Eau Rouge are known to race fans around the world and the race always attracts a huge and very enthusiastic crowd.

From a team’s perspective, the circuit is quite tricky, as it is not easy to find the right set-up for a track that has long straights, considerable changes in elevation and high-speed corners.

You want to have enough downforce to be quick through the corners, but at the same time not carry too much drag for the long straights.

After five races in six weeks before the summer break, the shutdown came at just the right time. It gave us the opportunity to recharge a little and return energised for what will certainly be a hard-fought second half.

Both the Drivers’ and the Constructors’ Championship are extremely tight, and I expect it to be a close battle all the way through to Abu Dhabi.

Spa: the circuit is quite tricky

The first race after the break always has a nostalgic back-to-school feel, with everyone eager to hear the tales and stories of people’s shutdown adventures, finding out where they went and what they were up to.

But, most importantly, being back at Spa also means it’s time to go racing again! Our weekends haven’t been the same without some fast-paced F1 action and we’re buzzing to see the cars back out on track. Friday’s practice sessions can’t come soon enough!

What will the weather do?

Because of Spa’s location in the middle of the Ardennes Forest, the weather can change in an instant. It can go from bright sunshine to pouring rain in minutes.

Teams know what the weather can be like at the Belgian GP and are prepared for this. But, it certainly helps to spice up the action and you never know what’s going to happen!

Another factor is the length of the circuit at Spa. It’s the longest lap of the year, at 7.004km, which means weather conditions can be completely different at separate parts of the circuit.

So, for example, it could be raining at La Source, but be bone dry at Les Combes or Pouhon.

At the moment, some rain and cooler temperatures are expected for Friday, Saturday and Sunday. But as we all know, you should never fully trust weather predictions for the Belgian GP.

Let battle continue

The first half of the 2018 F1 season is done and dusted. It’s been a close, intense and ferocious fight out on track, with unpredictable results, fine margins and the pecking order changing from track to track. You never knew who was going to have the advantage heading into a weekend and that doesn’t look set to change during the remainder of the year.

here’s still a long way left to go in 2018 and we’re excited to see how it plays out. Spa kicks off the second half of the season and it’s only going to get tougher from here, with a relentless run of races. But, we’re recharged, re-energised and ready to roll. Let’s get back to work…

Toto Wolff is Team Principal & CEO of Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport since 2013.