Team McLaren Fan Blog: Formula 1 Belgian Grand Prix 2014
Having been to Spa before, I pretty much knew what to expect. What's unbelievable every time though are the extremely high elevation changes around the track. TV cameras are hardly able to convey how step the run up Eau Rouge really is.
We arrived at Spa on Thursday, just in time for the pitlane walk and watched the McLaren team do a pitstop practice while the others did some work on their cars. While walking down the pitlane we also used the chance to take a closer look at some of the team’s pitwalls. Furthermore we used the opportunity to get a few autographs and walk across the start/finish straight to get a feeling for what the drivers see at the start of the race.
Then on Friday morning the engines finally started roaring again, putting an end to the summer break. It was the first time for me to hear the new engines in person and I’ve got to say they do sound better than I expected. It is a shame though, that both GP2 and GP3 cars are quite a bit louder than an F1 car. That is something the teams and engine manufacturers should definitely work on for the future. To describe the sound change in another way: In previous years I mostly used ear plugs when sitting alongside a straight, this year there was absolutely no need for them.
Apart from the engine sound, both Free Practice sessions were great to watch. As nearly everyone had something new on the car, they all did a lot of laps, which resulted in much track action. We had tickets for the Eau Rouge grandstand, which gave us a stunning view over Eau Rouge, part of the paddock, the straight leading to Eau Rouge and also the end of La Source. Spa has many great places to see the action but I think sitting on top of Eau Rouge gives you the best view.
While Friday was mostly sunny and relatively warm, Saturday was colder and much more wet. The day started with a damp track so during the FP3 everyone stayed in the pits waiting for a dry track. That meant that the first half of the session was rather boring. Between FP3 and Qualifying we enjoyed about an hour of beautiful sunshine in the fan village meeting many of the loads of Danish and British fans who came to support Kevin and the McLaren team. From one minute to the other the weather changed completely though and very dark clouds came in. They resulted in torrential rain and even hail. Thankfully we found shelter under a pavilion and stayed mostly dry. Just in time for Qualifying, the sun came back out. The conditions were extremely tricky for the drivers which made it very interesting to watch as Eau Rouge was much more of a challenge being wet. The Qualifying was not ideal for McLaren but OK considering the low down force set-up on both cars.
On Sunday we headed to the track very early. The weather was phenomenal and very sunny which made watching the GP3 race a joy. Before the F1 race there were a few spots of rain, which thankfully didn’t last long. Kevin was unfortunate to get the penalty at the end having driven a brilliant race fending off Alonso for a long time.
All in all the 2014 Belgian Grand Prix was a fantastic experience and I can only advise all of you to go to Spa next year – it is one of the best tracks in the world and really fan friendly.