2014 Belgian Grand Prix
Venue: Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps
Race Laps: 44
Circuit Length: 7.004 km
Race Distance: 308.052 km
André Lotterer to replace Kamui Kobayashi at the Belgian Grand Prix
André Lotterer will drive for Caterham F1 Team at the Belgian Grand Prix. The team will benefit from having another experienced driver at the wheel of the car throughout the weekend and the German’s feedback will contribute to improve the performance of the car. The weather also plays a big role at Spa-Francorchamps and Lotterer is one of the most experienced drivers racing under mixed conditions.
Lotterer will replace Kamui Kobayashi for this round of the championship. The Japanese driver still remains part of the team.
Born in Duisburg in Germany, Lotterer moved to Belgium when he was only two years of age and grew up close to Nivelles, a city that’s only 150km from Spa-Francorchamps. Three-time Le Mans 24 Hours winner, Lotterer started racing in the early 90s, succeeding in both German and British Formula 3 championships before being named Jaguar Racing’s Formula One test driver in 2002. A year later he moved to Japan, doing very well in both Formula Nippon and the Japanese Super GT Championship, which he won in 2006 and 2009. He made his debut in endurance racing in 2009, taking part in the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the 24 Hours of Nurburgring. His impressive performance that year earned him a drive with the works Audi Sport team in the 2010 24 Hours of Le Mans, remaining with the team and winning the prestigious race three times (2011, 2012 and 2014). In 2011 he won the Formula Nippon championship. Since 2012, the German competes in the FIA World Endurance Championship.
André Lotterer: “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.”
Marcus Ericsson: “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.”
Belgian GP lowdown with Renault Sport F1 track support leader, Cedrik Staudohar
Main challenges of Spa for the Power Units:
The long periods of wide open throttle, particularly in sector one. The driver will be on the throttle for around 25secs from La Source to Les Combes, the longest straight of the year. The sweeping bends and changes in altitude also put the fluid systems under huge pressure as the cars follow the rise and fall of the track. Fluids are compressed through the descents but coming over the hill lift and the forces are inverted – it’s a job in itself to monitor the internals and ensure the pumps are supplied with fluids at all times.
Main energy recovery points:
The La Source hairpin and Bus Stop chicane are opportunities for the MGU-K, plus the turns of sector two where the driver will touch the brakes. The MGU-H will both recover energy and recharge the MGU-K on the straights.
The hardest of the year! Every part is under pressure.
What to watch out for:
Weather is always a factor in Spa. The electrical systems will be well insulated to ensure water does not get into the parts, which could cause short circuits.
Additional circuit information
Medium-low downforce track
Easy on brakes and cooling
Minimum ride height is determined by T3 (Eau Rouge)
Longest circuit length of the season
8th gear ratio needs to take into account affect strong winds can have on speed on the main straight
Tend to run on the limiter in 8th gear to allow higher revs in Eau Rouge
Top speed can be reached by T5 or T18 depending on wind direction
Top speed is important for good lap time in S1/S3 and for overtaking
S2 is a downforce dominant sector
No IN lap after the chequered flag
Bumpiness: medium / low
Overtaking chance: medium-high
Ride height setting particularity: high front ride height for T3
Engine severity: very high
Gearbox severity: very low
Lat / long grip: longitudinal
Aero eff ratio: high
Track grip evo during w/e: high
Aero settings: medium / low
Brake wear severity: low
Brake cooling necessity: low