Along with Monza, Monaco, and Silverstone, the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps in the Ardennes forest is one of the jewels in the F1 calendar. It is situated in perhaps the most beautiful setting of any of the circuits.
The track itself is a favourite among both drivers and fans. Even with it being flat out, the Eau Rouge and Raidillon complex is legendary. Pouhon is a fantastic challenge, and the whole of sector 2 is thoroughly satisfying when you get it right.
On top of all that, you can overtake here too!
The huge flat out section from the exit of La Source until you arrive at Les Combes requires quite a low downforce setup. Without one, you will be a sitting duck.
However, the rest of lap has a large number of fast corners, meaning that a high downforce setup would be rewarded on these parts of the track.
The perfect balance can be found at 2-6, which gives plenty of straight-line speed while having enough about it to help you round the corners.
On-throttle differential, as always, should be set to 50% as this provides the best stability under traction.
For the off-throttle setting, I use 65%. This gives good rotation in slower corners such as La Source and Bruxelles, without compromising the mid-corner stability of the car.
As Spa has a good deal of fast corners, your camber settings are quite important.
I would suggest running -3.00 and -1.50. Any further to the left, and the tyres will suffer. Any further to the right and you’ll be sacrificing your speeds in sector 2.
For toe, I’ve gone a little different to usual. A front toe setting of 0.07 gives just a little extra bite on turn in than a lower setting would. A rear toe of 0.20 still seems best in Spa.
A softer suspension is nice around Spa, primarily because it allows you to ride the kerbs in sector 2 with greater ease.
I’ve gone for 2-4, as I’ve found this to provide the best balance between front and rear.
For the anti-roll bars, 5-10 is my recommendation.
These values are slightly higher than what I would usually recommend, but the corners around Spa tend to be quite long. Stiffer anti-roll bars help prevent the car from washing wide in these kinds of turns.
Running a ride height of 2-4 gives just enough clearance without compromising your aerodynamic efficiency during the long flat out sections.
A brake pressure of 100% is perhaps even more useful here than elsewhere.
This is because you will need some serious stopping power for the heavy braking zones. Chief among these are the entry to Les Combes and the Bus Stop chicane.
To help you deal with the high brake pressure, and to give you any hope of managing Bruxelles without a lockup, 50% brake bias is a must.
Tyre heating and wear isn’t too much of a factor at Spa.
Because of this, it’s safe to run the default front pressure setting of 23.0psi for both front tyres.
For the rears, lowering the pressure a little to 20.7psi gives slightly better traction, and helps a little with tyre temperatures while it’s at it.
Spa is a pleasure to drive, and the stability and consistent pace yielded by this setup will make it even more so. Enjoy!