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Trackside – 2016 Belgian Grand Prix at Spa Francorchamps

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The trackside experience at the atmospheric, historic Spa Francorchamps circuit is like no other on the current F1 calendar. Here’s your guide to getting the most out your trip to the 2016 Belgian Grand Prix on August 26-28.

All images © F1Destinations.com. The Editor attended the 2015 Belgian Grand Prix.

Despite being the longest current F1 circuit at 7.004 kilometers (4.352 miles), Spa has a fairly low spectator capacity of 70,000 fans. Most grandstands are located close to the pit straight and opening Eau Rouge corner, with the rest of the circuit given over to General Admission viewing areas.

Whatever ticket you buy, be ready to cover lots of ground on foot, especially when entering and exiting the circuit. Comfortable, hard wearing shoes are a must to tackle the hills and dirt paths through the mountains at Spa. A decent level of fitness is also needed to get the most out of General Admission; the best spots also tend to get busier over the course of the weekend, so you need to get there early on race day to secure your spot. The weather is notoriously fickle in the Ardennes area. It’s often warm and sunny when the race is held in late summer, but rain is never too far away. Pack for all conditions ahead of your trip, irrespective of the forecast.

Access & Orientation

There are four access gates to the circuit. The La Source and Ster entrances , which are close to each other, are best for most grandstands and also convenient for access to the ‘fanzone’ near Eau Rouge (click the map image below to download/print a large version). Check the best entrance gate for your ticket type:

  • La Source: Gold 1,2,3,4,6,7,8,9 – Silver 1,2 & Bronze (General Admission)
  • Ster: Gold 1,2,3,4,6,7,8,9 – Silver 1,2  & Bronze
  • Combes: Bronze and Silver 4
  • Blanchimont: “17-27” and Bronze

What can you bring into the circuit?

The security checks upon entering Spa were not always the most thorough. However, the race organizers have indicated that security will be strengthened this year, mainly due to the recent terror attacks in Western Europe (learn more here).

Allowed

  • Cameras for personal use
  • Food for personal use
  • Alcohol (no glass bottles)
  • Foldable chairs
  • Strollers, walkers and wheelchairs

Not Allowed

  • Ladders/stepladders, parasols etc
  • Glass items
  • Firearms, knives etc
  • Barbecues
  • Electrical equipment that requires a generator
  • Animals (except guide & service dogs)
  • Bicycles & motorbikes

2016 Belgian Grand Prix Schedule

In common with most European rounds of the 2016 F1 season, the on-track schedule at Spa this year also features action from GP2, GP3 and Porsche Supercup. F1’s two main feeder series both feature two races over the course of the weekend (a longer feature race on Saturday afternoon and a sprint race on Sunday morning), as well as practice and qualifying. The GP2 races in particular are worth catching for their close racing and high likelihood of thrills and spills.

Click here to download/print the detailed weekend schedule for 2016. All times in CET.

Thursday, August 25

  • 16:00-18:00: Public pitlane walk for 3-day ticketholders (enter via La Source)

Friday, August 26

  • 10:00-11:30: Formula 1 free practice 1 (FP1)
  • 12:00-12:45: GP2 practice
  • 14:00-15:30: Formula 1 free practice 2 (FP2)
  • 15:55-16:25: GP2 qualifying
  • 16:45-17:30: Porsche Supercup practice
  • 17:50-18:35: GP3 practice

Saturday, August 27

  • 08:30-09:15: Formula 1 teams pitstop practice
  • 09:45-10:15: GP3 qualifying
  • 11:00-12:00: Formula 1 free practice 3 (FP3)
  • 12:25-12:55: Porsche Supercup qualifying
  • 14:00-15:00: Formula 1 qualifying
  • 15:40-16:45: GP2 race 1 (25 laps / 60 mins)
  • 17:15-18:00: GP3 race 1 (17 laps / 40 mins)

Sunday, August 28

  • 09:15-09:50: GP3 race 2 (13 laps / 30 mins)
  • 10:25-11:15: GP2 race 2 (18 laps / 45 mins)
  • 11:35-12:10: Porsche Supercup race (11 laps / 30 mins)
  • 12:30-12:45: F1 Driver’s Track Parade
  • 14:00-16:00: 2016 Formula 1 Belgian Grand Prix

Merchandise, Food, Drink & Facilities

From our 2015 Belgian Grand Prix trip report:

The biggest concentration of merchandise stalls, plus food and drink, can be found on the outside of the circuit near Eau Rouge. There is also good catering close to Pouchon, plus smaller food and drink stalls dotted around the circuit. The prices for trackside F1 merchandise is uniformly expensive around the world; at Spa, you’ll pay €30 for a team hat, €40 for a t-shirt and €80 EUR for a shirt. Food and drink was disappointingly overpriced at Spa; water was €3 and a half-liter beer cost €5. Fries with mayonnaise were €4, hamburgers/hotdogs cost €6-7, and fish and chips or doner kebabs were €10.

Bring your own food and drinks if you are on a budget. There’s a handful of permanent and temporary toilet blocks, which cost €0.70 to use or free ‘porta potties’. It was possible to rent portable headphones with race commentary, which were priced at €50-65 and unsurprisingly, not too popular. Alternatively, you can bring along your own portable radio and tune into Grand Prix radio on either 99.1 FM and 104.5 FM.

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About the Author ()

Andrew Balfour is the Founder and Editor of F1Destinations.com. He originally hails from Adelaide, where he went to his first F1 race way back in 1987. He's been resident in Europe for almost 15 years and travels regularly to F1 races around the world.

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