Red Bull is the first to operate an F1 car in a renovated Spa
After an €80m revamp of the venue, aimed at improving car safety and the return of motorbike racing, the F1 track is set to offer a different feel to drivers and teams.
Although some of the changes, such as the re-profiling of the crash barriers at Raidillon, will have little impact on track performance, it will require readjustment for areas that have been redone and revisions to the gravel traps.
As Mario Isola, Head of F1 and Motor Racing at Pirelli said: “This year Spa has undergone some of the biggest changes we’ve seen since we started going there in the modern era of racing. Formula 1.
“In addition to the new asphalt on five corners, there are new gravel traps on four corners, which are much closer to the side of the track.
“Drivers will have to pay more attention to the limits of the track, and there is also an increased risk of sharp gravel being dragged across the surface. The epic nature of Spa, however, remains unchanged, with all the traditional challenges that make the circuit so exciting still in place.”
While most teams won’t find out the impact of the resurfacing and runoff changes until this weekend, it has appeared that Red Bull have already gotten their first taste of the adjustments for a promotion.
In a preview video posted on its social media titled ‘From Sim to Reality’, Red Bull showcased a pre-Belgian Grand Prix build for Max Verstappen.
It started with a few alternate games in the simulator before the team finally did some laps in an RB7 show car around the new Spa.
Filming will have taken place earlier this year, as construction work still seems to be going on in the background, even though major elements of the track have been completed.
It’s fairly rare for teams to use even historic F1 cars at current venues, but it’s allowed by the rules.
F1 sporting regulations state that for historic cars, such as the 2011 RB7, teams are free to test them whenever they wish, although they must run on exhibition tires prepared by Pirelli and the FIA must be informed of its intention.
Although running such an old car on promotional tires won’t offer much benefit to Red Bull in terms of hopes for this weekend’s Belgian GP, getting an early glimpse of the impact resurfacing and track work will not have hurt him. .