Modification to 24 hour pits grandstands, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, December 2021

New Spa photos show gravel replacing asphalt run-offs

2022 F1 season

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The Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps has shared new images of extensive work being done to run-off areas and spectator grandstands.

The Belgian Grand Prix host venue is in the middle of heavy modifications to make the circuit safer and satisfy requirements to enable motorcycle racing at the track.

Most notably, circuit run-off at La Source and Blanchimont are being extended, while many of the track’s tarmac run-offs are being reverted back to make use of gravel instead. The circuit’s infrastructure is also being updated for the benefit of spectators.

In a post on the circuit’s website, Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps shared photos of the modifications in progress.

Turn 1 – La Source hairpin

Modification to La Source, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, December 2021

The first corner on the grand prix circuit is having its run-off extended with a gravel trap installed to help slow cars down in the event of an accident or car failure.

24 Hour pit grandstands

Modification to 24 hour pits grandstands, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, December 2021

The grandstands that overlook the secondary pitlane used for the annual Spa 24 Hours race and for support series during the Belgian Grand Prix is being heavily modified to help provide what the circuit says will be a “more modern” grandstand.

Turn 8 – Bruxelles

Modification to Bruxelles, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, December 2021

The sweeping, downhill right hander of Bruxelles will have part of the asphalt run-off that runs along the outer confines of the corner reduced and the existing gravel trap extended closer to the track itself.

Turn 16 – Blanchimont

Modification work to Blanchimont, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, December 2021

The fastest corner on the circuit has been the scene of many frightening accidents in a variety of categories over the years. Work at the edge of the 300km/h corner will allow for the existing run-off to be extended with gravel installed. The guardrail will also be moved further back with a new service road created.

This year’s Belgian Grand Prix weekend was marred by a series of accidents across Formula 1, Formula 2 and W-Series that saw multiple heavy accidents with two W-Series drivers injured. The grand prix itself was abandoned due to persistent heavy rain that rendered the track impossible to race on due to low visibility caused by spray.

Max Verstappen was declared the winner after multiple attempts to start the race under the safety car proved fruitless, with race classification taken after a single racing lap. The race promoter, Spa Grand Prix, recently announced that fans who attended F1’s shortest ever race would be given the opportunity to enter a prize draw to win one of 170 weekend tickets for the 2022 race.

Images from Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps reproduced with permission

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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26 comments on “New Spa photos show gravel replacing asphalt run-offs”

  1. But what about Eau Rouge?

    1. Uhm that’s Raidillon actually…

    2. petebaldwin (@)
      23rd December 2021, 20:11

      I’m not sure about the runoff but they’re tightening it as shown here

      1. @petebaldwin Are they? I thought @keithcollantine‘s tweet was referring to the picture that you shared:
        From what I remember reading at that time it was reshaped like that for a club race only.

        1. petebaldwin (@)
          24th December 2021, 10:01

          @hunocsi – Ah ok I don’t know 100% either way. Personally, I hope the changes are made for F1 because being able to take the whole section flat out takes the challenge out of it.

    3. The corner that most needs gravel, that said they really need more space there.

    4. It’s not so much Eau Rouge, but rather Raidillon which you are referring to, I presume?

  2. Did they just say new gravel in Spa?

    Only really the main attraction should stay asphalt, because there is not enough runoff.

    1. With limited runoff is gravel safer than asphalt for bikes?

  3. I would like for Spa to go back to a classic red-and-white colour scheme, rather than the once sponsor-driven red-and-yellow.

    1. More ignorance.

      What colour is the Belgian flag?
      Or do you think Spa is in Austria … or Switzerland perhaps?

      1. Dale, why is it ignorant for him to point out that the traditional kerb colour scheme for Spa was red and white? On the contrary, they are factually correct that the traditional colour scheme is white and red, with a far longer tradition of that scheme being used than the modern yellow and red layout.

        That particular colour scheme was in use around Spa from 1985 through to 2009, meaning that there have been 23 races where the kerbs were red and white, rather than the current yellow and red scheme. Even then, the modern yellow and red kerb colours were not universally implemented across the whole circuit until a much later date.

        There were still chunks of the circuit, such as the inside kerbs at La Source and Raidillion, where the kerbs were the traditional white and red colour scheme, just with a Shell logo painted on top of the white sections (which is why it might have looked yellow and red on screen), until as late as 2016 – you can verify that with both external camera shots and the onboard footage.

        It is only since 2017 that Spa fully switched to yellow and red for all of the kerbs – so, out of all races held at Spa since 1985, when the modern circuit first came into use, 23 used white and red kerbs, whilst a further 7 races used a combination of red and yellow kerbs in some areas and red and white in others.

        Only a total of 5 races have been held with the modern colour scheme of yellow and red for all kerbs, and the comment about the colour changes being sponsor driven are also correct – the changes were made to tie in with Shell’s corporate colours of red and yellow, given that Shell started sponsoring the circuit at the time the changes were made, and not because of any attempt to tie in with the colours of the Belgian flag.

        1. A devastating rejoinder- I love it!

    2. It’s more in line of the Belgium color but let we hope the gravel traps are done correctly.

  4. When people wanting refunds or some sort of compensation see this… It’s gonna get real ugly…

  5. The more gravel the less ‘lawyer’ discussions after a race and less drivers trying desperate overtakes without consequences. That’s for the better, happy about this. Less sanitized circuits, less off-camber corners, less long straights followed by dull hairpin circuits , more flowing circuits. it looks that finally the trend of ‘Tilkezation’ of circuits over last 2 decades is changing. Great news.

  6. Davethechicken
    24th December 2021, 7:16

    They can afford circuit upgrades then? But no chance of a refund for last year’s “race” ?
    At least the fans will have nice new seating to get a good view of the cars parade behind the SC.
    The gravel should help safety when the chosen special lapped drivers are allowed to overtake behind the SC too.

  7. Still too much asphalt run-off at Bruxelles. But the direction is good. Other tracks should follow.

  8. Good. Now if only they manage to come up with some weather control arrangements as well :-)

  9. GOOD NEWS !
    ( as long as they try to re-do Raidillon as ORIGINAL as possible )

  10. Love gravel. Especially at Shanghai

  11. how about returning the original bus stop? probably never going to happen again smh

  12. #Thereismygravel

  13. “The grandstands that overlook the secondary pitlane used for the annual Spa 24 Hours race and for support series during the Belgian Grand Prix is being heavily modified…”

    I think they mean “are being replaced”. Guess that’s the case, looking at the first photo.

    Had to happen sometime, but sad to see the removal of the three grandstands (old Gold 1, Silver 1 and 2 from memory) where I spent many hours watching F1

    1. …including, I think, that iconic covered grandstand that has been there forever.
      I remember seeking shelter from the rain in front of it in 1985!

  14. Looks like the gravel or grass won’t be going to the edge of the track which although a disappointment, it’s what I expected. This changes nothing in terms of racing and the chariot characteristic of modern run-off Spa, but hopefully the changes at Raidillon will be a good bit safer.

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