2013 Qualifying - 7th, 2013 Race - 8th
"I come back to the paddock refreshed and with energy restored for the next phase of the season. Despite the difficulties so far, I feel positive for the rest of the season to come. We have seen that there have been many issues since the start of the year and even before, but as with everything in life you have to look forward and this is exactly what I am doing. Since Monaco we have had a succession of really hard races where for many reasons we have not been in the position to claim any points. For Spa I am hoping that there will be some improvements so we can show the potential which has been seen on a few occasions, like at Barcelona. We have to reverse the problems that have held us back and I believe that if we get that then we can post more points on the board. Spa as we all know is one of the best tracks we go to, if not the best of them all. As a driver it is like a dream circuit with elevation change, quick corners, medium speed technical corners and some good straights for overtaking. It's a circuit with a soul."
2013 Qualifying - 17th, 2013 Race - 17th
"It has been a very hard season and one in which there have been lots of issues. But now that is behind us and we have to believe that we can get some points on the board and complete the season strongly. That way it will give some good momentum to start afresh in 2015 with a whole new exciting package. It would be difficult to give a clear aim other than improvement and fighting for points every race. We have seen flashes of big promise from the E22. If everything is running right and the team continues to push then we can get more points for sure. As a team we will stay together with a clear mission to achieve the maximum. If we can have a clean weekend technically, without any power unit or other issues, then we will be in a good position to challenge for points. Spa always throws up some variables with the weather being the obvious one. It would be nice to be higher up than the last few races. If we can achieve this and we have a good package then I believe we can come away with something very positive from Belgium."
Federico Gastaldi, Lotus deputy team principal
"The atmosphere is unique, but ultimately Spa is all about the challenge that it presents to the drivers. Just watching them attack the classic corners like Eau Rouge and Pouhon is a thrill. These tracks are the lifeblood of F1. We now have just two more races in Europe with the rest all flyaway races, so we need to make sure we gain some good momentum. Hopefully that will be triggered by some points at Spa and Monza. It won't be easy because these two circuits are power tracks but as ever we will be fighting for the optimum result. The aims and objectives are clear for us as a team. We are targeting a strong end to the season that will give us the momentum to carry through to 2015 where we fully intend to climb back to the sharp-end of the grid."
Nick Chester, Lotus technical director
"We have a fair amount of new development parts for Spa such as new bodywork and some smaller modifications centred around the front of the chassis which should give some good downforce benefits for us. Front and rear wing developments are planned for Spa. The rear wing upgrades may be tight for Spa due to the time lost in manufacturing during the summer shutdown but we are pushing for it to be in Belgium. The key thing is that we are continuing to push development of the E22 in the coming races with some fairly substantial upgrades. We know that there are some very sensitive areas of the car where we can make some good gains so we will be focusing on these areas too."
2013 Qualifying - 21st, 2013 Race - 14th
"I am really looking forward to driving at Spa-Francorchamps. The event is purely about racing, and the fans are really into our sport and passionate about it. I remember that the fans arrive very early at the track in order to be as close as possible to the drivers. In comparison to other circuits, the track is quite long with some interesting corners and long straights. It is one of those tracks which is like an adventure, it goes up and downhill. One of my favourite corners is Pouhon which is very nice. As the straights are quite long, engine power is crucial, which could be a challenge for us. The weather also plays a huge role at Spa-Francorchamps, as the mixed conditions can add excitement to the race weekend."
2013 Qualifying - 12th, 2013 Race - 9th
"As Spa-Francorchamps is my favourite track, I am really looking forward to the race weekend. The atmosphere is great as there are always many fans. With the new cars we will have more top speed and less grip, so it will be interesting to see how it will be to drive under these conditions. In Spa I expect a highlight to the season regarding this year's championship. I have always achieved good results on this track and have some nice racing memories. Regarding the set-up, there are two variations: either you are fast in sector two and relatively slow on the straights or vice versa. Both set-ups can result in the same lap time. I would rather tend to go more for top speed. Eau Rouge is one of my favourite corners, and this year it will be difficult to go flat out due to less downforce. Generally, there are several high speed corners I like in Spa. The double-lefthander (Pouhon), for example, is one of them. Every corner is nice to drive as they all have a nice flow to them."
Giedo van der Garde, test and reserve driver
"For me, Spa-Francorchamps is one of the nicest tracks in the world. As it is close to the Netherlands, it is my home circuit. I like the track a lot because it is a quick one with many medium to high speed corners. It is not easy to set-up the car there; you need to have a stable car, especially for the high speed corners. It is a technical circuit because some sectors have several consecutive corners. With this year's new Formula One cars I believe we will have more top speed on the straights, but less downforce in comparison to 2013. I think Eau Rouge and Blanchimont will still be flat out. My favorite corners are turns 5,6 and 7 after the Kemmel straight. The right-left-right combination is quite technical; you can use different lines there. Another important aspect in Spa is the weather. You never know what is going to happen, one part of the track can be wet and the other one can be dry. Last year in Q1 it was raining, and I ended up in P3, which was quite entertaining. This is what makes Spa so special."
Giampaolo Dall'Ara, Sauber head of track engineering
"Back from the break we are heading to a couple of classic events, beginning with the Belgian GP at Spa-Francorchamps. The amount of downforce to give away in exchange for speed is going to challenge the engineers again. On the set-up side of things, they will have to make sure to provide the drivers with a stable and reactive car through several high speed corners on the circuit. The variations in gradient at places are such that specific settings are needed to keep the car clear of the ground. New for this year, such a long lap distance is going to impact the energy management of the hybrid power unit. The weather is frequently rainy, and generally cool. We, therefore, appreciate the decision of Pirelli to not be extra-conservative by choosing the medium and soft compounds. Last, but not least, the circuit is one of those where brave driving can still shave a few tenths off the lap times."
2013 Qualifying - 11th, 2013 Race - 13th
"I'm feeling refreshed and ready to get back in the car because three weeks is a long time away from racing. We made the most of our opportunities in the first part of the season and we need to do the same in the final eight races. I expect a close battle in the championship until the end of the season so we need to be consistently picking up good points. It's an amazing track and one of my favourites - as it probably is for everybody on the grid. There are so many iconic corners, such as Eau Rouge and Pouhon, which feel very special in a Formula One car. For the high and medium speed corners you obviously need downforce, but it's a trade-off with top speed on the long straights so you need good efficiency."
2013 Qualifying - 13th, 2013 Race - 11th
"During the season I don't manage to go home as often as I would like so [the summer break] was a good chance to spend time with my family. I've never scored points at Spa, so that's my first target. We also need to put the disappointment of Hungary behind us. Spa is a power track and I think we can perform well there. It has amazing corners, lots of character and history. The racing is always intense because there are a couple of overtaking opportunities, especially in turn five if you get a good run through Eau Rouge. It will be interesting to see how these cars cope with Eau Rouge this year and whether we can still take it flat. You also have to expect wet weather at some point so it could be quite unpredictable."
Dr Vijay Mallya, Force India team principal
"Until Hungary we had scored points in every race, so I guess we were due to have an unlucky weekend at some stage. I just hope that's our bad luck over and done with. I'm pleased we went into the summer break in fifth place. I think it's where we deserve to be at this stage of the season. Fourth place is not out of reach either with 38 points covering fourth to sixth place. One race can make all the difference, and the last race, with double points, could prove to be decisive. So we'll just keep our heads down and focus on every single race and take it as it comes. Spa is a high-speed track so it's an opportunity for the Mercedes-engined teams, but equally there are other tracks we are looking forward to, such as Singapore."
2013 Qualifying - 10th, 2013 Race - 7th
"I love Spa, it's one of my favourite tracks because of the long straights and high speed corners, and it's a track we all look forward to racing at. The long straights should suit our car and we can kick the second half of the season off with some success. I won here in 2008 and so I know what it takes to win. I have had a really nice summer break but am ready to get back to racing. We have some great tracks to look forward to and I hope we can carry on developing our car like we did the first half of the season, and continue to be near the front."
2013 Qualifying - 20th, 2013 Race - 15th
"Spa is always a great place to go; it's one of the best circuits in the world. The elevation changes and high speed corners make it a real pleasure to drive, especially in an F1 car. Because of the long straights and variable weather conditions races can be very interesting for the driver and for the fans. To be competitive in Spa you need a car with efficient aerodynamics, so we expect to be strong and are aiming for a good result. The break has been long so I am really looking forward to getting back in the car."
Rob Smedley, Williams head of vehicle performance
"We have had a really good start to the 2014 campaign, everyone is living and learning how to race back at the top again. Hopefully everybody has come back refreshed and motivated for the second half of the season. The objectives within the team are clear, we want to finish as high up in the constructors table as possible. Spa is a circuit that should suit us, there is very high drag and engine sensitivity and those features will benefit us. The middle sector is something we will have to work on throughout the weekend, and in qualifying we will need to have the tyres switched on for that sector. There is always a chance for rain in Spa, so we have to be conscious of this throughout the weekend."
Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director
"Spa is one of the most epic circuits of the year, and a track we know well from our experience of GT racing at the Spa 24 Hours too. An adaptable tyre is the key element, able to work equally well within the very wide range of track and weather conditions that we often see in Belgium. Despite the fact that tyre wear and degradation is traditionally high at Spa - the result of the multiple energy loadings put through the tyres - we have been able to nominate the soft tyres here as well as the medium for the first time since 2011, with the softer option liable to be the preferred choice in qualifying due to a significant time gap. This is because of the length of the lap, meaning also that strategy is a very big factor in Spa: there is more time to be won and lost by being on the right tyre at the right time than at many other venues. It's the sort of race where, under the right circumstances, it's absolutely possible to go from last to first - and that always makes for a very exciting grand prix."
2013 Qualifying - 6th, 2013 Race - 6th
"I go into the second half of the season feeling incredibly refreshed and positive. There's no better place to resume the season than at Spa-Francorchamps. It's one of the best circuits in the world, and it's a place where driving a Formula One car always feels incredible. As ever, I'm really looking forward to driving out of the pits for the first time on Friday morning, and just throwing the car into some of the greatest corners in motorsport.
"I had one of my best weekends of the year at Spa last year, qualifying and finishing sixth after running closely with a bunch of cars through the whole race. It wasn't my best finish of the year, but it was positive because I got the maximum out of the package we had, and was able to fight closely with a number of other drivers, which felt satisfying. Hopefully, there will be positives to take out of this weekend as well."
2013 Qualifying - n/a, 2013 Race - n/a
"It has felt like an incredibly long four weeks, and I really can't wait to get back into the cockpit, particularly as we're headed to Spa, one of the best drivers' tracks in the world. I love Spa: I won there in British Formula 3 in 2011, and in Formula Renault 3.5 in both 2012 and '13, and I just love the fast, flowing nature of the circuit. Hooking up a quick lap there during qualifying is just fantastic, because the track just flows from one corner to the next, and the car is so fast and assured that it almost feels effortless. It's fantastic.
"I think the second half of this season will be incredibly important for us. We need to use these next eight races to assert ourselves, pushing our development strategy to the fore in order to first consolidate and then improve our positions in both the drivers' and constructors' championships. As a team, I know we are up for the challenge."
Eric Boullier, McLaren racing director
"We had a disappointing race in Hungary to send us into the summer break, but we've analysed the issues we encountered, and we believe we now understand what went wrong. More important, we all head to Belgium feeling positive and refreshed, and incredibly keen to get back to work.
"The first half of the season has shown signs of both promise and disappointment, but, through it all, Jenson and Kevin have each driven some particularly inspired races, made very few mistakes and always extracted the maximum from the package. Equally, the team has worked hard at both the factory and the racetrack to improve performance - and we're now starting to see those returns.
"Spa and Monza are tracks where every team runs a unique downforce package, so it won't be until Singapore - where we resume with a more conventional set-up - that we'll get a clearer read on our progress, but I think we have reasons to be optimistic. The operational changes we've implemented over the course of the season have taken time to bed-in, but I think we'll certainly see a more pronounced upswing in performance over these final eight races of the year."
2013 Qualifying - 2nd, 2013 Race - 1st
“The race in Spa started our series of nine victories last year, which I always like to remember. The Belgian circuit offers all possible turns and manoeuvres: ultra-fast, medium-speed, heavy braking and fast straights. The height difference is so great that you always have the feeling of riding a roller coaster - especially in Eau Rouge. The weather can also be very unpredictable and a challenge for drivers and teams, it should never be underestimated: within minutes it can change from heavy rain to sunshine. As well as that, the safety car often comes out at Spa. The track is one of my favourites of the year because it feels like it has grown out of the nature that is all around it - it blends with the natural setting perfectly.”
2013 Qualifying - 19th, 2013 Race - 10th
“Above all, Spa is a racing circuit - one that really encourages exciting wheel-to-wheel action. That said, F1 has changed over the years and whereas Eau Rouge and Blanchimont were once the standout sections, now it’s probably the Pouhon downhill left-hander at Turns 10 and 11. That’s seriously, seriously fast - and probably a good place to watch the race from for anyone prepared for a bit of a hike through the Ardennes. Of course, given the Belgium Grand Prix draws in all the petrolheads, everyone’s perfectly happy to slog through the woods to find the best view. You bump into people who’ve been going to the race for five decades. And if you ever go into a pub or restaurant in one of the villages around the circuit, chances are you’ll see pictures on the wall of great drivers from back in the day, standing where you are and doing what you’re doing. It’s great stuff.”
2013 Qualifying - 8th, 2013 Race - DNF
“Spa is probably my favourite circuit because it’s an old-style track which climbs and drops through the forest and I like the fact it’s fast and flowing. Also, it usually provides good racing to watch for the spectators. I think you can make a difference as a driver at every part of the circuit, but as with every track, it’s a combination of factors. At Turn 1, the hairpin, you can actually lose or gain a lot of time and you need good speed out of it because after it comes the very long straight including Eau Rouge. That corner has been easily flat out for quite a long time now, although actually, with this year’s cars, that might not be the case. Last time I drove here in a Ferrari (in 2009) I won, and that was in a year when we had been struggling since the start. But in Spa we managed to get things going a bit more in the right direction and it would be good if the same thing could happen this year. That would hopefully mean the racing would be a bit more fun. It’s always more fun when we get the results!”
2013 Qualifying - 1st, 2013 Race - 3rd
"The summer break was a good chance to relax and to reflect on what's been an incredible start to the year for us as a team. But personally, I can't wait to get back in the car and back into the battle for the championship. I had some difficult weekends in the first part of the season, but then a bit of good fortune at the last race in Budapest kept me from damaging my car on the wall during that first lap, so hopefully that was a sign that my fortunes are changing at just the right time. There were so many positives to take from the opening 11 races, but both myself and the team always want more and know we are capable of more. The aim is to put the more difficult times of some of the previous weekends behind us and to recreate the best moments at every race from now on. I love driving at Spa, so there are few better places to start. I had good results there in 2008 and on my first visit to the circuit with this team last year, plus the win in 2010 of course. I haven't won there as many times as I'd like but that win was a really special one, so I really want to add to that and that's definitely the target this weekend."
2013 Qualifying - 4th, 2013 Race - 4th
"It's good to be back after the break and to see everyone looking really refreshed and up for the fight in the remaining months of the season. The last race didn't turn out how I had hoped after taking pole in tricky conditions the day before, but I still managed to come away with my championship lead intact and that's a good place to be heading into the next part of the year. Although we have had a great start with plenty of good results, that race showed that the other teams are never too far away. In Formula One you just can't afford to give away any advantage and I know that both the team and myself will be working harder than ever to keep improving and maintain our position right to the very end. On top of that, the battle with Lewis has been so close all season - and it could well stay that way right up to the final race - so every last point will be crucial in that contest too. Next up, of course, we have Belgium, which is definitely one of the most spectacular races of the year. The circuit is just unreal and it's one I think every driver looks forward to. My record there hasn't been as good as at some other circuits in the past, but I'm determined to change that and get the season kicked off again in style!"
Toto Wolff, head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport
"It has been good for the sport to take a break during these past two weeks after an intense start to the season. Aside from the demanding schedule which we encounter each and every year, the challenges of this new formula have placed an extra demand on all the people who have worked so hard to produce what is an almost entirely new car for these revolutionary regulations. The big positive from that, however, is that what we have already seen an impressive display in terms of both the technology underneath the drivers and some spectacular racing on track. Looking ahead to Spa, and also reflecting on our recent performances, it is clear that reliability must be a key focus for the team if we are to maintain the hard-earned advantage established in the opening stages of the year. We approach the remaining eight races with the firm target of making this next phase of the season even better than what we have achieved so far. Although the team has done a fantastic job, we are fully aware that this championship is far from decided - as demonstrated clearly in Hungary by the performance of some of our competitors. As always, we are taking nothing for granted."
Paddy Lowe, Mercedes team executive director (technical)
"Spa is one of the truly great circuits in Formula One, with plenty of heritage and some fantastic racing on show throughout the many years of its presence on the calendar. Eau Rouge is, naturally, the highlight. It has always been a tricky challenge to master and is arguably the most symbolic corner of any racetrack we visit. Overall, Spa is a very fast, low downforce circuit, requiring the cars to run with a quite different configuration to that seen so far this season. It's also a very long lap which, combined with the variable weather conditions almost inevitably encountered in Belgium, can make for a tricky race. If rain begins to fall at the wrong moment, there is plenty of time for mistakes to be made before a driver can return to the pits for wet tyres. Again, the circuit presents quite a different challenge to those seen thus far this year, so we're looking forward to seeing how the F1 W05 Hybrid fares. We're certainly hoping for a strong performance and, if we can get the setup right and manage the weather conditions correctly, we can be optimistic of a good result. Having said that, we are under no illusions that a number of other cars will also come to the fore here. Our priority as a team is to re-establish a trouble-free weekend, which is something we unfortunately haven't seen for a few races. But we are now just over halfway through the season and, with everyone having had a chance to recharge the batteries during the summer break, we head to Spa refreshed and fully focused on making the most of the remaining eight races."
2013 Qualifying - n/a, 2013 Race - n/a
"I am delighted to be given the opportunity to take part in a Formula One race weekend - I want to thank Caterham F1 Team for this chance. I'm ready for this challenge and I cannot wait to jump in the car and make the most out of the weekend ahead. I will need to get settled and used to the car quickly, as the team has worked on a number of updates and we will need to have as much time as possible out on track to optimise the car's performance. I really enjoy racing at the legendary circuit of Spa-Francorchamps, it's one of my favourite tracks and it's very close to where I grew up, so this makes the weekend even more special and one to remember."
2013 Qualifying - n/a, 2013 Race - n/a
"Spa is one of the races I've been most looking forward to since we first announced my F1 drive back in January. I love the track, it's been a very good circuit for me, especially in the last couple of years in GP2 when I won in 2012 and was on the podium last year, so it'll be good to be back, this time in an F1 car.
"We're aiming to make real progress in Belgium, and that will make the whole weekend even better for the team and for me. We haven't had new parts on the car for quite a while, so to be coming to a track like Spa with a package that gives us a chance to take a step forward, that's a good feeling, but we're taking nothing for granted. We have a lot of work ahead of us to get the most out of that parts but everyone is prepared for that and if we achieve what we're setting out to, and have good reliability, it could be a really good weekend for us."
2013 Qualifying - 18th, 2013 Race - 12th
"Spa is undoubtedly one of the best circuits on the calendar and I think I'd have to say it's also my favourite track. I love it for so many different reasons, starting with the track itself. Then I also like the country and the area where the circuit is, which is very beautiful. In Belgium I also always have a lot of Belgian fans waiting for me and the place just feels like home. It's a great race weekend. Of course, this place is famous for its strange weather, with rain at one part of the track and not at another, which is an aspect I actually enjoy. It also has that mix of the high speed sections, where you need good engine power and the slower more technical section on the part of the track that links up the two bits from the original old 14 kilometre circuit. Always a great weekend!"
2013 Qualifying - n/a, 2013 Race - n/a
"I have very good memories, as I won here three times. But once you get to the track, everything starts again from zero and how well you do depends on how good a job you do starting on Friday morning. Spa is a legendary track, I've enjoyed driving there in the past, so I am really looking forward to tackling it in a Formula One car for the first time. It is definitely one of my favourites. What do you need there? A powerful engine combined with high downforce, which you need on the second sector, which is technically challenging and for the first and third sectors you also want good stability under braking with plenty of straight line speed. If it rains that's fine for me, as it's the same for everyone."
More to follow...