Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps


Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps


  • 44 Laps
  • 1950 First Grand Prix
  • Belgium Grand Prix Grand Prix
  • 7.004km Circuit Length
  • 308.052 km Race Distance
  • 1:46.286 Valtteri Bottas (2018) Lap Record

Commonly known as Spa, the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps is a renowned 7.004 km (4.352 mi) motor-racing circuit situated in Francorchamps, Belgium.

The circuit is famous for hosting the Formula 1 Belgian Grand Prix; it first held a non-championship race event in 1925. Since 1985, it has been a regular fixture on the Grand Prix calendar, except for 2003 and 2006.

Besides Formula One, Spa is a venue for other prestigious international racing events, including the enduring 24 Hours of Spa. Over the years, the circuit has experienced numerous redesigns, the most significant in 1979. This major overhaul was primarily for safety reasons, transforming the circuit from a 14.100 km (8.761 mi) track that incorporated public roads into a shorter, 6.947 km (4.317 mi) permanent racing circuit.

Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps

First Grand Prix1950 Belgium Grand Prix
Number of Laps44
Circuit Length7.004km
Race Distance308.052 km
Lap Record1:46.286 Valtteri Bottas (2018)


When was the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps built?

The original Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, constructed in 1921, was an extraordinary creation by designers Jules de Thier and Henri Langlois van Ophem. Their design utilised public roads connecting Francorchamps, Malmedy, and Stavelot, forming a triangular, 14.9 km long circuit. This track was remarkable for its setting in the scenic Ardennes region, characterised by lush forests and rolling hills, adding to the circuit’s allure and challenge.

Over the years, the circuit became renowned for its breathtaking landscape and the unique racing experience it offered. However, by 1979, concerns over safety and the evolving standards of modern motorsports necessitated a significant redesign. The redeveloped circuit, though only half as long as the original, retained much of its character and challenge. At 7.004 km, the new Spa circuit is still the longest on the current Formula One calendar.

The redesign managed to preserve the essence of the original track, maintaining its status as a favourite among drivers and fans alike. Its mix of high-speed sections, challenging turns, and the famous Eau Rouge/Raidillon complex ensures that Spa remains one of the most exciting and revered circuits in the world of racing.

This balance of historical reverence and modern safety standards has allowed the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps to continue hosting top-level motorsport events, including the Formula One Belgian Grand Prix, while keeping the spirit of its original, majestic layout alive. The track stands as a testament to the rich history of motorsports and the evolution of racing circuits over time.

When was the first Belgium Grand Prix?

Belgium’s iconic Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, steeped in motorsport history, first hosted a non-championship Grand Prix back in 1924. This early event set the stage for the circuit’s significant role in Formula 1, becoming one of only seven circuits included in the inaugural Formula 1 World Championship in 1950, underscoring its importance and prestige in the racing community.

The 1950 Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps was a notable race, primarily for its winner, Juan Manuel Fangio, a driver who would go on to become a legend in the sport. Fangio, driving for Alfa Romeo, delivered a commanding performance, leading the race to finish first, ahead of his teammate Nino Farina, resulting in an impressive one-two finish for Alfa Romeo. This victory marked one of his many successes in his illustrious career.

Including the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps in the first Formula 1 championship highlighted the circuit’s challenging nature and suitability for high-level racing. Known for its fast corners, long straights, and unpredictable weather, the circuit has always been a test of skill and courage for drivers. There was a period in its history when the Belgian Grand Prix experienced rain for twenty consecutive years, adding an extra layer of challenge to the races. Drivers often face a circuit where different sections exhibit contrasting weather conditions — one part may be sunny and clear, while another might be rainy and slick, demanding adaptability and skill.

The Belgian Grand Prix was also honoured as the European Grand Prix on six occasions between 1925 and 1973. During this period, the title of European Grand Prix was an honorary distinction bestowed annually upon one Grand Prix race in Europe.

Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps lap record

The official lap record for the current F1 Grand Prix layout is 1:46.286, set by Valtteri Bottas during the 2018 Belgium Grand Prix driving for Mercedes.