F1 will return from its summer break later this month for the 2019 Belgian Grand Prix at the iconic Spa-Francorchamps circuit.
The Max Verstappen fan club will be out in force again as the little Belgian town turns bright orange for the weekend – and the Dutch army will arrive with renewed hope and expectation after Max’s brilliant recent performances.
Victories in Austria and Germany as well as a near miss in Hungary have propelled Verstappen to the role of Lewis Hamilton’s nearest challenger on track.
Hamilton did restore some sense of order by finally passing Verstappen to win in Hungary, while his team-mate Valtteri Bottas continues to flounder along with the disappointing Ferrari duo Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc.
All is set fair for a spectacular weekend of action, and here is everything you need to know about one of the showpiece events on the F1 calendar…
When is the 2019 Belgian Grand Prix?
The start times for the Belgian Grand Prix are as follows:
Practice 1: Friday August 30, 1100 local time (1000 BST)
Practice 2: Friday August 30, 1500 local time (1400 BST)
Practice 3: Saturday August 31, 1200 local time (1100 BST)
Qualifying: Saturday August 31, 1500 local time (1400 BST)
Race: Sunday September 1, 1510 local time (1410 BST)
Where does the Belgian Grand Prix take place?
In every sense the Belgian Grand Prix is one of the classics on the F1 calendar. A circuit both spectacular and emotive; La Source hairpin, the downhill plunge to Eau Rouge, the forest setting and the longest lap distance in the World Championship.
But the weather and size of the track means it can be problematic for drivers. It can be dry in one place and wet in another.
Some of the course follows public roads, but the track boasts excellent facilities for teams, officials and media. It has been the home of the Belgian Grand Prix on a permanent basis since 1985.
The race will be run over 44 laps of the 7.004km circuit.
Directions: How can I get to the Belgian Grand Prix?
Spa-Francorchamps is situated in central Belgium between Liege and Brussels. The nearest international airport is Brussels Zavantem, approximately 110 km (70 miles) away, but private planes are able to use Spa La Souveniere airport which is only 5km (3 miles) away.
Where can I watch the Belgian Grand Prix on TV?
Belgian Grand Prix weekend – including qualifying and the race proper – will be screened live in the UK by pay-TV broadcaster Sky Sports on its dedicated Sky Sports F1 channel. You can also access a live stream of the coverage via Now TV. Full coverage will also be aired by free-to-air broadcaster Channel 4.
Subscribers to F1’s own app can hear radio commentary on the race proper from the BBC and access live data around each session.
PlanetF1 will carry live timing and expert commentary on every session of the race weekend along with all the latest news from the track.
The Belgian Grand Prix will be shown live on TV by the following outlets in other key markets:
United States: ESPN (English), Univision (Spanish)
Canada: RDS (French), TSN (English)
Australia: Fox Sports and Foxtel 4k (no ad breaks)
France: Canal + (pay TV) and TF1 (free-to-air)
Italy: Sky Sport F1
Germany: RTL and Sky Deutschland
Spain: Movistar F1
Gasly out, Albon in: driver changes for the Belgian Grand Prix
Red Bull finally made the move to demote the struggling Pierre Gasly on Monday August 12, three weeks ahead of the big race at Spa. The Frenchman had suffered a miserable season so far – trailing considerably in the wake of the brilliant Verstappen.
Gasly will revert to Toro Rosso from the Belgian Grand Prix onwards while the talented young Thai Alex Albon – who has spent the season so far with Toro Rosso – will replace him at Red Bull.
Which drivers have won the Belgian Grand Prix?
Spa is a challenge for any F1 driver and it brings out the best in the great ones. Michael Schumacher roared to victory six times in the Belgian countryside while the late, great Ayrton Senna came home in front five times.
Another current driver Kimi Raikkonen has found Spa a happy hunting ground with four successes, while Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel both have three.
Ferrari head the way in terms of constructors with 17 victories while McLaren have 14.
The last 10 winners of the Belgian Grand Prix are as follows:
2018: Sebastian Vettel (Germany, Ferrari)
2017: Lewis Hamilton (Great Britain, Mercedes)
2016: Nico Rosberg (Germany, Mercedes)
2015: Lewis Hamilton (Great Britain, Mercedes)
2014: Daniel Ricciardo (Australia, Red Bull)
2013: Sebastian Vettel (Germany, Red Bull)
2012: Jenson Button (Great Britain, McLaren)
2011: Sebastian Vettel (Germany, Red Bull)
2010: Lewis Hamilton (Great Britain, McLaren)
2009: Kimi Raikkonen (Finland, Ferrari)
Track Lap Record: 1:46.286 Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes, 2018)
What are the odds for the Belgian Grand Prix?
Lewis Hamilton has unsurprisingly opened up as the favourite for the Belgian Grand Prix, while the bookmakers clearly expect Ferrari to improve on their dismal showing in Hungary. Leading odds from Bet365 are as follows:
7/4 Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
13/5 Charles Leclerc (Ferrari)
13/5 Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari)
6/1 Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes)
7/1 Max Verstappen (Red Bull)
(Prices correct at 1100 BST on Wednesday August 7)
What are the latest F1 Championship standings?
The leaders in the race for the driver and constructor titles heading into the Belgian Grand Prix are as follows:
Lewis Hamilton – 250 points
Valtteri Bottas – 188 points
Max Verstappen – 181 points
Sebastian Vettel – 156 points
Charles Leclerc – 132 points
Mercedes – 438 points
Ferrari – 288 points
Red Bull – 244 points
Tyre choices for the Belgian Grand Prix
F1 tyre manufacturer Pirelli will bring the white hard C1 tyre to the Belgian Grand Prix along with the yellow medium C2 and the red soft C3. Their compound set ranges from C1 (the hardest) to C5 (the softest).
What is F1’s rule on bonus points?
F1 made the decision to award a bonus point in every race of the 2019 season if certain criteria are met.
The bonus point will be awarded to the driver who completes the fastest lap in the race, as long as that driver also finishes in the top 10. The driver’s team will also score a bonus point in the constructors’ standings in that case.
This means there are up to 21 extra points available for the 2019 championship.