Spa hits the top three of most Formula 1 drivers' favourite circuits. These classic old venues started life as horses and carts found their way through the forest, which became a cobbled street, then an asphalt road, and ultimately the permanent racetrack. Nature took its course to create these majestic circuits, not a university degree designer sitting at a CAD system thrusting upon us what he thinks a great track should look like.
The flow of Spa is sublime, matched by the adrenalin buzz of rushing through Eau Rouge. Sure, most of the time these days it's easily flat out, but that's 190mph - it requires ultimate precision and trust in your machinery. It certainly focuses your mind.
Spa: On every driver's list of favourites © LAT
One time it definitely won't be flat is the opening lap of the race, as the cars now start on full fuel tanks. That will be challenging, as will Pouhon, which is normally a brush-the-brake, downshift and back on it again. Being loaded with lateral-G for long periods will ask a lot of the tyres, so perhaps we'll see more management than we've witnessed in the past.
The weather can be fickle, and remember the spray at Spa is somewhat hazardous as you're making your way through the field... hey, Michael.
The title fight restarts
After a three-week break, everyone is going to be refreshed for the sprint to decide the world championship. Red Bull has dominated qualifying all season, but has shown variable form in races depending on whether the circuit suits its car.
You can argue that Spa is all about top speed, but aero is also important because you're always trying to trim wing off while maintaining performance in its fast corners. Like Hockenheim, where I predicted we'd see a more mixed grid and Ferrari stepped up its performance, we should also have an open mind for Spa.
It's a question of who is going to take the challenge to Red Bull. For McLaren, in the absence of any new development, it has tried the old-fashioned way of gaining performance by attempting to handicap its competitors by seeking clarification on the front-wing rules. Rumour has it that Red Bull won't have to do anything different for this event, so maybe that won't deliver what McLaren is looking for.
Red Bull has also got its F-duct working to give increased top speed, so McLaren has maybe lost the effectiveness of its secret weapon. McLaren will also have to hope its medium-downforce package is a step forward here.
As well as facing a trip to the World Motor Sport Council next month, don't forget too that Ferrari has an issue with Alonso on available engines.
Schumacher in the spotlight
Michael will start the weekend carrying the penalty for his misdemeanour from Budapest and is therefore likely to start from near the back. I hadn't realised that the ex-F1 driver on the stewards panel, Derek Warwick, had previously encountered an issue with Schumacher in sportscars!
I'm sure he'll be relieved that the ex-driver steward at Spa is Nigel Mansell - I don't believe they have crossed swords in the past. The media will undoubtedly pick up where they left off in Budapest and he should just face it, look humble, and move on.
Issuing a statement was stage one, but what people want to see is his mouth move when the apology comes out. Humans have an amazing ability to forgive and forget - providing they feel someone has seen the error of their ways. Time will tell whether this leopard really has changed its spots.
Get back on track. Join today for unlimited access to all Autosport news and features.
Are you an Autosport magazine subscriber? Activate your online account
Your Autosport Plus membership includes:
- Unlimited access to Autosport's news - no monthly cap.
- Read the best motorsport features, analysis and opinion.
- Explore Forix, our comprehensive motorsport stats database.
- Choose from monthly, yearly and two-yearly packages.