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Drivers happy to be back in action - at Spa

But even though there have been no races over the past month, the teams as a whole have still had plenty to be getting on with.

"August has given us more time to realize all the standard work that is normally planned between events," explained Thomas Couyotopoulo, Sporting Director of Racing Engineering. "This includes full service of the cars: repaint the many bodywork elements, revision of some critical elements and anticipation of the future events that will take place in 'back-to-back' from a mechanical, logistical and engineering point of view."

Couyotopoulo shared the enthusiasm of most on pit lane for the annual return to Belgium's premier race track. Spa remains one of the best tracks in the world, if not the best," he said. "It offers a full range of corner characteristics, with high, medium and low speeds, but all this while passing through a fantastic landscape, which also makes the racing more challenging.

"Some corners have to be considered in three dimensions as the compression through Eau Rouge for example is allowing speed to be carried that would not be possible in a similar corner if it's flat," he added. "Some other corners are hard due to off-camber and a downhill inclination but it makes it very interesting."

At a length of just over 7km or 4.35-miles, Spa is the longest track on the GP2 calendar by some margin, and the Saturday feature race will consist of 25 laps while Sunday morning's sprint race will see the cars run 18 laps. As ever, the unique microclimate covering the surrounding Ardennes forest means that weather will almost inevitably be a factor.

The current forecasts for Spa list a chance of rain on Friday, and then cloudy but dry conditions for the rest of the weekend. However, Spa notoriously defeats both weathermen and rain radar technology to come up with a reality all its own when it comes down to it, so literally anything can happen with the conditions over the race weekend and it will be a surprise indeed if the rain tyres don't get an outing at some point during the three days.

While there's no official word on driver changes, it appears that Austrian driver René Binder will be driving the #19 Venezuela GP Lazarus car in place of Giancarlo Serenelli alongside Sergio Canamasas, which would mean that the team will have completely replaced their starting line-up in the cockpit since their début at Malaysia in March.

Practice for the GP2 field is at 10.55am BST after the end of F1 Free Practice 1, with qualifying following FP2 at 2.55pm. The feature race is on Saturday afternoon from 2.40pm and the sprint race begins on Sunday at 9.35am. All GP2 sessions are carried live on Sky Sports F1.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Stefano Coletti (ITA, Scuderia Coloni) resting during day 1 of GP2 Series Pre-Season Testing at Jerez, Spain - Tuesday, February 28, 2012 [World Copyright: Alastair Staley/ GP2 Series Media Service.]
Nigel Melker (NED, Ocean Racing Technology) during day 1 of GP2 Series Pre-Season Testing at Jerez, Spain - Tuesday, February 28, 2012 [World Copyright: Alastair Staley/ GP2 Series Media Service.]
Victor Guerin (BRA, Ocean Racing Technology) in the Ocean Racing Technology garage at Silverstone. (Photo Credit: Alastair Staley/GP2 Media Service)
Fabio Leimer (SUI, Racing Engineering) out on track in wet conditions at Silverstone. July 2012. (Photo Credit: Daniel Kalisz/GP2 Media Service.)
Max Chilton (GBR, Carlin) celebrates his victory in the Hungary feature race. (World Copyright: Daniel Kalisz/GP2 Media Service)
Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium. [Photo credit: Alastair Staley/GP2 Media Service.]
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