F1 fans’ guide to Spa for the 2012 Belgian Grand Prix

2012 Belgian Grand Prix

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Judging by the numbers of F1 Fanatics heading to Spa-Francorchamps for next week’s race, it’s hard to believe the reports of poor ticket sales at the track in recent years.

Dozens of readers will descend on the Ardennes track next weekend for the 12 round of the 2012 championship.

Here’s what those who’ve been to Spa before have to say about the track, and a few words from those heading to this year’s race.

At the track

Some tips from fans who’ve been to the track before:

I had a good wander around the track last year and boy is it a hard track to walk round. The TV does not do justice to the elevation changes, Eau Rouge is a hill not a [gentle] slope!

Food at the track was basic and expensive, so I took food with me, drinks were just ridiculous prices so again took it with me. Had no problems taking food and drink into the track
Craig (@Bostic)

The burgers and sausages are revolting, but the chips are great and the waffle places are like a European convention for wasps.
Tim (@Supertbone)

We had General Admission tickets which gave you a lot of options around the track. There is lots of walking involved through the woods – bit it was worth every second.

It rained all weekend so be prepared. But again it was worth it and we can’t wait to go this year.
Katy Evans (@camelgirl)

Lots of fans have been asking about the pit lane visit on Thursday. Toni has some advice:

Ideally you get down there for Thursday afternoon there is a pit lane walkabout and you get to meet loads of drivers. It’s advertised as starting at 4pm but we queued from 2pm and got in a bit early in 2011.
Toni (@Tonsky)


Spa is a great circuit for camping and several readers will be pitching up outside the track. Craig has done it before and provided some information:

The campsite was basic, there were showers in the football club and a Portacabin, they weren’t the cleanest I’ve been in but they did the job. Toilets were the usual ‘thunderboxes’ but they were emptied every morning until Sunday. By Monday morning they were nasty!

I read reviews of people being charged extra for taking too much space and people coming round with tape measures, but I saw none of this. They did cram us in pretty tight but no worse than any other campsite at a big event.

Noise levels at night were never a problem, I slept every night. It was a short walk through Francorchamps to the track, with the added bonus that you could look out for drivers making their way in.
Craig (@Bostic)

Camping can make this one of the bet-value ways of seeing a race:

I always try and do it on the cheap. Get a General Admission ticket (sit on the hill at Pouhon – bit of a walk but worth it), Eurostar to Brussells (69ish return from London, 1hr 15 from track), crappy hire car, arm with cheap beer and supplies in Verviers, campsite at Francorchamps where there’s bars, parties, fireworks etc till about 4am (about 140 for a group of four). Looking forward to it already.
Tim (@Supertbone)

But camping’s not for everyone and some prefer an alternative approach to getting to the track:

I’m going with my dad, and we seem to be going a different approach to most people – staying in a hotel in Brussels and getting a coach over each day. Early starts, but my dad doesn’t fancy camping!

Long distance

Some of our readers are travelling from other continents to see the race. Here’s two of them:

Hi from Durban, South Africa. I’m taking my son to Spa and then Monza. It’s the first time I’ve been to a F1 race since 1974 (Kyalami – won by Carlos Reutemann).
Andrew Wedderburn-Maxwell (@admax83)

This Is my first Grand Prix, I am flying out from Mexico to support Sergio Perez.

We are only two, my fiancee and myself. We will be renting a car in Brussels so we can go Spa. Our plan is to arrive at Spa early on Friday to redeem our tickets to Grandstand Gold 8.
Esteban Urtaza (@eurtaza)

The Ticket Enterprise

A few readers who had purchased tickets through The Ticket Enterprise had a scare when the company hit financial trouble.

They do seem to have sent out the tickets which had already been paid for. If you’ve ordered tickets and have not received them have a look in the forum for more information.

F1 Fanatics going to the Belgian Grand Prix

Here are some of the F1 Fanatic readers who’ve said they’re going to this year’s race. Have a great time everyone and remember to share your images and videos with us when you get back!

Jenni (@jens7259), @The_narv, @Siberianlady, Craig (@Bostic), Craig Green (@craigybhoy985), Carole (@cazntrev), @Nicola, @AndrewTanner, @JT19, Katy Evans (@camelgirl), Benjamin Ford (@benj87), @Nick-UK, @Kthxrawr, @Clareanddavid, Aman (@Kaptaaan), Kate Whitaker (@Kate941), @Amesywozencroft, @Mattc888, @Steevp, Jenni (@jens7259), Steve (@Speedy123), Andrei (@tzigaie), Matt Gration (@n8mlg), Jorge Garcia (@jogardu), @Girts, @Chrisrhyswilliams, @Thebladerunner, @Ed24f1, @Roelofjan, @Dimitris-1395, @Mikebyrne, Hannah Cox (@cheeryhannah), @Steved1976, Alan (@Dogmop), Michael Tate (@miketate), Esteban Urtaza (@eurtaza) and Andrew Wedderburn-Maxwell (@admax83).

If you’re heading to the race join in the discussion in the forum:

2012 Belgian Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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24 comments on “F1 fans’ guide to Spa for the 2012 Belgian Grand Prix”

  1. Good walking shoes are a must if you want to explore the track. It’s a hefty trip around the track :)
    Food is indeed very expensive so bringing a lunch pack is a good id if you want to safe some money.

    The bad ticket sales baffle me every year. It’s always so packed especially on race day. I can’t believe the numbers I hear after the race.

  2. Headed with my dad to SPA for our 3rd visit in 4 years from the USA! Not another race I’d rather go to (if I could only pick one!) We’ve made loads of good friends who we are looking forward to seeing again.

    For sure, the rain kit is a necessity as are some warm layers for the early morning starts & late nights camping!

    A Kimi victory would really make my weekend.

    1. i hope he does win!

  3. I shall be at the Elephant campsite, Thursday to Sunday night. I’m campig alone but have a mate coming for qually and race. He chose one of those ‘package deal’ tickets and travels to the circuit by coach each day… Broing! This is my first visit and I wanted to do it properly, hoping for a race that isn’t won by Vettel or Alonso!

    1. Also, quick question. I bought my tickets via the official F1 site and have a voucher to redeem at the circuit. Are the places for redemption easy to find? Signed in English? Cheers for any points.

      1. I did the same thing last year – theres only one place to pick up tickets, which is near the entrance near La Source hairpin. If its the same as last year then it should be off to the left near the roundabout. Signage seems to be okay.

        1. Cheers, thanks for the info pal :)

          1. Just to make sure, here it is. The village will be packed with fans so go slow as you drive through :) https://maps.google.ie/maps?q=50.449505,5.958605&hl=en&num=1&t=v&z=18

          2. This is a pretty easy walk from the Elephant campsite to La Source. Nick, make sure to come by & say hello. We’ll have a large contingent of Americans, English & Germans having a grand time. Keep your ears open for the “SENNA BOYSSS” call!!

          3. Yeah, I’ll be walking. I’m getting to the track via Eurostar, train and a bus.

          4. Haha, yeah I’ll keep and eye out for you guys.

    2. Hi Nick. Myself and a friend will also be making our first trip to Spa and are staying at Elephant Thu-Mon. See you there.

      1. Heyas ;) I’m also staying at the Elephant. Come say Hi if you see some Aussies with a Peugeot. So excited!!

      2. hi there, noticed you stayed at the elephant for the f1. we are haeding there this year and the elephant seems to be the chosen campsite from reading reviews however i am finding it difficult to locate its site..do you know how much you paid for the 3 nights? and do you book through a partner site? thanks

        1. There’s lots of information on camping at Spa here:

          Going to the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps

  4. I don’t believe those poor tickets sales stories either. I was there in 2010 and the place was rammed come race day. If they are true it’s because General admission prices are very bad value for money. Views of the track are blocked by trees in many of the most spectacular places or just limited viewing space. They’ve got so much open ground at the track that they’re not making use of.

  5. Dimitris 1395 (@)
    26th August 2012, 19:35

    I will stay at Spa and this year I’m gonna watch the whole weekend which I didn’t manage to accoplish in the previous 5 times I attend the race. I am so excited!!!

  6. Does anyone know if you can get to the shopping at the F1 village if you are GA? Thanks

    1. Hi,

      I took my young son GA last year. My advise would be to get there early at entrance at the end of Kemmel. You can then walk staright down to the Shopping which is at the bottom of eu rouge. My advice then would be to walk back up the hill and get a position in the crowd just past the bridge on Kemmel. You have a great view of the circuit from there plus a jumbo screen. Just remember to bring wasp repelant. Have a great time (we did).

  7. Got to be honest – I never saw the appeal of seeing a race at spa, except as a trip to an historic motor racing venue in a beautiful setting. Why? Basically because you only see the field head past 44 times… It’s the spectacle of seeing the cars in action that would take me to a race, and to be honest I would want to maximise the opportunity to the full. Interlagos however would be a dream come true, and even Hungary would do.

    Those who have seen the races at spa… What do you think along those lines?

    1. I went to Spa in 2010 when Hamilton won in damp conditions and it was superb, we were camped in the trees just after the pit straight hairpin and could watch the cars accelerate up through Eau rouge.. Breathtaking..
      Then I went to interlargos in 2011 and we were in the stand at the start of the pitstraight.. The race was boring with Vettel dominating before letting Webber pass him..

      I guess it depends on the race.. Spa has far more freedom.. Also you can get a kangaroo tv at spa and follow all the action, these aren’t available at interlagos..

      Both places were unreal to be honest.. spa was alot less expensive though ;)

      If you’re going to Spa wait around at the bar at the top of the town on Sunday evening.. A lunatic with a van full of fireworks comes every year to put on a show.. Great fun :)


    2. To be honest, maximizing the amount of times the cars come past you is a pretty poor way to judge a race by. I’ve been to Montreal, Silverstone, Singapore, Monza & Spa (this will be my 3rd time here); Nothing, with all apologies to the tracks listed previously, comes close to the majesty & history & atmosphere I feel at this track. Yes, the cars come by a few less times, but it hardly takes away from the best track still on the calendar!

  8. I´m going to watch my first live race at a circuit, and I tried to make it memorable. Best circuit in the world and I will be at Eau Rouge, so I expect to faint when the first car passes in full throttle!
    Only one question about parking (bought parking ticket), I intend to arrive in the morning to watch free practice, leaving from Liege by car does someone knows how much time is expected to take to arrive to the circuit.

  9. My name is in the list of attendees. I’m not going anymore, how depressing D: I’m really gutted about it but it just seems everything this year transpired against me. I’ll be there with bells on next year though!

    Hope you all have a wonderful time, I know I’m missing out :P

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