The rise of Francorchamps
To accommodate Grand Prix motor racing, the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps race course was built in 1921 but it was only used for motorcycle racing until 1924. After the 1923 success of the new 24 hours of Le Mans in France, the Spa 24 Hours, a similar 24-hour endurance race, was run at the Spa track.
Since inception, Spa-Francorchamps has been known for its unpredictable weather. At one stage in its history it had rained at the Belgian Grand Prix for twenty years in a row. Frequently drivers confront a part of the course that is clear and bright while another stretch is rainy and slippery.
Ferrari won many times
The Belgian Grand Prix returned to Zolder in 1984 and this was the last F1 race held at the Flemish circuit with Italian Michele Alboreto taking victory in a Ferrari.
Schumacher won his 52nd Grand Prix at Spa in 2001, surpassing Alain Prost’s all-time record of 51 wins. Schumacher also won his seventh World Drivers’ Championship title at Spa in 2004.In 2006, the FIA announced the Belgian Grand Prix would not be part of the 2006 Formula One season, since the local authorities had started major repair work in Spa-Francorchamps. The Belgian Grand Prix returned in 2007, when Kimi Räikkönen took pole position and his 3rd Belgian Grand Prix win in a row.
Return to Spa-Francorchamps
Spa-Francorchamps had been shortened to 4.3 mi (7 km) in 1979; the parts that went into and through the urban countryside that swept past towns and other obstructions had been cut out and replaced with a new series of corners right before the Les Combes left-hand corner, and the new track rejoined the old on the straight leading up to Blanchimont. The first race at the shortened Spa circuit was won by Frenchman Alain Prost, and the circuit was an immediate hit with drivers, teams and fans.