Belgian GP: What Makes the Eau Rouge Corner Iconic and So Dangerous?

Published 08/24/2021, 9:15 AM EDT


The Belgian Grand Prix is one of the most iconic and historic races on the F1 calendar. Since the inception of the Formula One in 1950, the event featured in every season till date. While Zolder and Nivelles-Baulers hosted a few editions in the 1970s, the Spa-Francorchamps circuit established itself as the home of the Belgian GP.

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With 19 corners, the 4.3-mile circuit is very popular for several reasons. One of those reasons is the Eau Rouge corner, which comes early in a lap around the track.

Eau Rouge is one of the most iconic corners of the Belgian GP

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When looking at it objectively, Eau Rouge is turn two of the Spa-Francorchamps circuit. However, to fans and drivers, it’s much more than just turn two.

The circuit forged a reputation as one of the most exciting tracks on the calendar, and Eau Rouge contributes to that reputation. Once the La Source hairpin (Turn 1) falls behind, drivers plummet down a gradient of nearly 35 metres before reaching the left-hander. Along with the right-hander Raidillon right after it, Eau Rouge is one of the fastest corners of the circuit.

Over the years, the corner saw various developments to become what it is today. F1 drivers often push flat out through Eau Rouge, driving along the apex to set themselves up for Raidillon. Should they get it right, they head to the DRS zone on the Kemmel straight, which produces an excellent opportunity to overtake.

Although the corner produces great thrills, it also ranks among the dangerous ones. From injuries to fatalities, the Eau Rouge-Raidillon combination witnessed it all, with Anthoine Hubert the most recent victim in 2019.

Lewis Hamilton termed Eau Rouge the most exciting part of Spa

Along with fans, drivers also enjoy the iconic second corner of Spa. A few years ago, 2009 world champion Jenson Button said, “The feeling of the sweep uphill through the corners is just awesome, every time.”

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Meanwhile, defending world champion Lewis Hamilton summed up his thoughts while dubbing it the most exciting part of Spa.

Formula One F1 – Belgian Grand Prix – Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium – August 30, 2020 Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas in action during the race | Courtesy: Pool via REUTERS/John Thys

He said, “Eau Rouge is always the most exciting part of the circuit. When you attack it flat out, when you get to the bottom of it, your insides drop. And then when you get to the top they come back up and it feels like everything will come out of your mouth – which is quite exciting when you are going 200mph!”

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The ongoing 2021 season resumes after its summer break with the Belgian GP this weekend. And with the weather likely to bring a little rain, expect a highly entertaining weekend as the season intensifies.

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Sanket Nair

617 articles

Sanket Nair is an F1 Author at EssentiallySports. A Sports Management graduate, he is a huge fan of Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo and hopes to see Red Bull break Mercedes' dominance and win the World Championship soon. Sanket has been hooked to the sport ever since he watched the battle for the 2010 World Championship go down to the wire at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

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