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Spa popular because you must be brave, says Kovalainen

Heikki Kovalainen: Drivers' like Spa-Francorchamps because you have to be a little bit brave and just go for it...
Lotus man Heikki Kovalainen is looking forward to the Belgian Grand Prix next weekend and has said one of the reasons it is so popular is because it is such a 'big' and 'challenging' circuit.

Kovalainen finished 14th last time out in Hungary, the top new team finisher, and he will want to maintain that momentum at Spa-Francorchamps, venue for the thirteenth round on the F1 2010 schedule.

"Spa is a really big and challenging circuit and I think that is one of the reasons all the drivers really like it. There are some big corners that are not easy to nail and there are a few famous corners too," he told the official Lotus website in his Belgian GP pre-event video.

"Eau Rouge is relatively easy now to go flat out in almost any kind of conditions so it's not the biggest challenge. But there are some high speed corners where you change direction and you really have to have a good balance and good confidence.

"The walls are very close, so if you fall off there you are always going to have a big accident. It is not easy to go quick. You have to be a little bit brave and wind it up towards qualifying to get everything out. This is why Spa is one of the favourites for all the drivers.

"Plus it is long. It is almost 7 kilometres. To make a perfect lap is always difficult. You always feel that you have missed something out and that is what you are chasing throughout the weekend."

Like most circuits, Spa has been modified in recent years, and while that has improved safety, it has also neutered it somewhat too.

"Spa is one of the circuits where it is still possible to have a big accident and it is still a little bit more risky than perhaps some of the more modern and new circuits," he continued. "They have tried to work on the worst places to make sure that if we have a brake failure or if we have a puncture or something at high speed then there will be a bit more room.

"They have also tried to improve the overtaking opportunities on the circuit so you can drag someone all the way to the bottom of the hill towards the last corner and then overtake them under braking. It's one of the reasons they made a very slow chicane.

"Personally I think it is the wrong direction though and we should have some quicker corners and keep the pace up. But I am not designing the circuit so I'm not really so much involved with the numbers and the safety of the circuit so it's better to leave that to the professionals. I'm just here to drive," concluded the former McLaren and Renault racer.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Heikki Kovalainen (FIN), Lotus Racing, T127
Friday, Heikki Kovalainen (FIN), Lotus Racing, T127
Friday Practice 1, Heikki Kovalainen (FIN), Lotus Racing, T127
Friday Practice 2, Heikki Kovalainen (FIN), Lotus Racing, T127
Heikki Kovalainen (FIN), Lotus Racing, T127

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racy - Unregistered

August 20, 2010 9:38 PM

Again my favorite track (Spa)and now someone is trying to trash talk it. Spa is what F1 should be instead of these flat wide circuts. Shure they have safeteyed it up a bit, but still the most dangerous track left in F1. Just put these high payed pros at Sonoma and hear all the worrys about danger. J Stewart was offered a drive at Somoma and said he forgot his 'special helmut' in LongBeach for the upcomming race. THAT track scared him way more than WatkinsGlen ever did, narrow, undulations, blind corners with little runoff. Perfect for strong F1 drivers. :) Back to work-adios

James Montgomery

August 20, 2010 11:30 PM

Don't have to be as brave as say 10 years ago..... don't get me wrong..... Spa is still a fantastic circuit.... but ever since Tilke got his hands on it.... it has tamed it down a bit! :( Remember 1999? The B.A.R's horrendus crash at Eau Rouge because they attempted Eau Rouge Flat out (back then some teams dropped down a gear even!) The risks of Spa have gone.

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