Going to Belgian GP

Posted by Guimengo 
Going to Belgian GP
Date: June 23, 2010 05:27PM
Posted by: Guimengo
Howdy people!

So for next year, my dad wants to go to Spa for the race. We went to Monza in 2007 and this will be our 2nd historic track. Most likely we will be spending 10 days in Europe and I'd like to ask anyone who has gone to the race for any advice :).

What would be the best place to stay to watch the race? What are prices like? What hotel to stay? Any places to go visit/stay within a few hours drive of Spa? You know, stuff like that!

In 2007 we went to Lugano for a few days, after landing in Milan and driving North. Then drove to Monaco where we stayed nearby, at Belieu-sur-Mère or something like that for a couple of days and then drive back to Milan where we stayed for 5 days, traveling within the city and even going to the Giuseppe Meazza!




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Re: Going to Belgian GP
Date: June 23, 2010 05:36PM
Posted by: SchueyFan
Sounds good! I don't know myself, but this could be useful;

[www.f1fanatic.co.uk]

There are 670 spectator reports from people who have been there.





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Re: Going to Belgian GP
Date: June 24, 2010 08:35AM
Posted by: Briere
Beaulieu-sur-Mer, Gui ! ;-)
Re: Going to Belgian GP
Date: November 29, 2010 01:17AM
Posted by: Guimengo
Ok, got the plane tickets! I now would like to gather input on things to do around this trip :).

Arrival is the day before the race, I still need to buy the tickets but I'm looking to find what place would be best - I am thinking La Source or around Bus Stop, depending on how it looks ;). On Monday the plan would be to head towards Germany, a trip that can take until Sunday or so. As of now, going to Dusseldorf then returning, but depending on what's just after Dusseldorf on the map (as in, westward) we may go there! For now the one thing I intend on doing for sure is driving around the Nordschleife. Also it would be awesome to have any hotel suggestions ;-).

So I'm looking for as much input from people as possible, anything that you can think of or anywhere you have been from Belgium to Germany (even up to Paris), please post and I'll be very grateful! :)




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Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/29/2010 01:19AM by Guimengo.
Re: Going to Belgian GP
Date: November 29, 2010 11:55AM
Posted by: J i m
Well.... knowing that you're a fellow pizzaholic there's one thing I should let you know.... there's a nice little pizzeria called "Casiino" in the village of Stavelot.

Don't know much about the hotels since I've only used a hostle type thing once which was in the town/city of Spa, other than that we've camped.

Re: Going to Belgian GP
Date: November 29, 2010 01:50PM
Posted by: marwood82
with regards where to stay, i'd factor in what sort of ticket you're getting. if its a grandstand seat then you can turn up pretty much when you want otherwise you might want somewhere closer to the circuit as the premium spots go quite early on race day.

as far as hotels are concerned theres that much really close by, and what there is tends to go pretty quickly (though i guess its worth looking).
you could try staying in liege?

with camping,

theres the official circuit campsite which is right next to the entrance at les combes, though the facilities are pretty poor (ie no showers and don't recall them emptying the porterloos once!) also if you plan on sleeping at all during the weekend its probably not the one to go for. its VERY rowdy

i've also stayed at this one before,
[en.eaurouge.nl]

its a bit away from the circuit so you might want to consider getting a carpark ticket and driving in, or bringing bikes as its about 30 minute hike to the circuit (its not that far its just up hill most of the way) but its a proper campsite so the facilities are much better and its generally quieter.

with the nurburgring. check the dates in advance for when they're doing their open circuit evenings.(they'll have a timetable on their website) and i'd go during the week as its a bit quieter.
Re: Going to Belgian GP
Date: November 29, 2010 01:53PM
Posted by: Dahie
I only was in spa during the 2009 GT 24h, I don't know how restricted access is during a f1-event. During the GT, you could roam around the circuit as you liked and just take a seat where it suited you. I walked the track from Les-Combs down to Stavelot and the best places were imho, the long street after Camel, Eau Rouge, main straight and back-straight down from La source.
Bus stop is nice for some temporary watching, but there are no seats and usually quite full. Heading down to Stavelot, there is more space.

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Re: Going to Belgian GP
Date: November 29, 2010 02:51PM
Posted by: JPM2002
Here's some tips from a Belgian :)

I went to Spa in 1993, 1996, 1997, 2005, 2007 and 2008. The last two times are the most relevant to your trip, so I'll talk about that.

I bought bronze tickets on both occasions, because there are some great places you can stand and make pics that you don't need grandstand seats for. I usually go stand/sit at either the little straight in between the Bruxelles hairpin (Where Lewis Hamilton went off on the last GP) and the two fast left handers of Pouhon. There you can stand really close to the track, and you can see the cars flying accelerating out of the corner towards Pouhon.

You also have quite a good view at the Bus Stop. Be sure to come early to the track, as places there are gone fast. In 2008 I wanted to make a run for the podium, so I went to the La Source hairpin. There is a big gate at the large runoff on the exit of the corner. There is a big space underneath it. I crawled under it, and trough a hole in the fence, went on the track, and made a run for the podium! Be sure to hang around at the pitwall after the race, it might be worth it if the winning team decide to pose with their cars and trophies. Just climb on the pitwall opposite to the garages, and stand firm!

Minusses about the bronze tickets is that you don't see the Tv screens very well. I rented a Kangaroo Tv unit so I could follow the race and the support races. You also get very wet when it rains, and the grassy slopes become very muddy and slippery!

I bring a folding camping tripod seat, and a small stepup ladder in my pack, and a pair of plyers to cut a hole in the fence to make pics. Also, very important in Spa, an umbrella!!!

As for places to stay. There are many options. I stayed in the Radisson SAS hotel at Spa one time. Some drivers where staying there aswell, Alonso, Kubica, Massa, Raikkonen, Barrichello... You can hang around in the lobby if you have a room there, and meet some of the drivers.

For places to visit. Antwerp (my home town) and Brussels are nice, Ghent is very beautiful, and are all less then 2h from Spa/Liège. Germany is very close by aswell, Aachen, Cologne, Düsseldorf. And also: The Nurburgring!

Cheers, and enjoy!!
Re: Going to Belgian GP
Date: November 29, 2010 08:24PM
Posted by: Guimengo
Jim, dully noted! ;)

I'll be going with my dad, stepmom, and girlfriend, so I can't compromise on a reasonable hotel and seats, unfortunately :P. It seems like I'll have to choose between La Source, Eau Rouge (for the view of 2/3 of the track), and if I can't get those, Bus Stop. If hotels nearby are full, we might just stay in Brussels and drive, in the Italian GP in 2007 I managed to get my dad and I some awesome parking spots by the track thanks to his cell phone gps map and my Napoleon-like road strategy, though I believe it may not be the same for Spa 2011 ;).

Cheers everyone and keep the good stuff coming :).




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Re: Going to Belgian GP
Date: November 30, 2010 10:49AM
Posted by: J i m
JPM2002 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> very
> important in Spa, an umbrella!!!

This is probably the single biggest and most relevant piece of advice you can give about Spa. So Gui do make sure you have some kind of protection from the weather. You can pretty much guarantee that it will rain at least some point during the weekend at Spa. Usually at least once everyday and more often than not several times a day, and when it rains at Spa it bloody well rains, (I've known professional photographers whose cameras have died from getting too wet at Spa).

Waterproofs then would be a good idea, however if that's a problem luggage wise then at the very least take an umbrella, because that offers protection both from the rain but also shades from the sun when it gets a bit too toasty and Spa can be bright enough when it wants to. I've never actually taken an umbrella to Spa myself which seems idiotic in the extreme now I think on it, but I also had plenty of camera equipment to lug around and the media centre to retreat to when it got too soggy.

As for photography, I'm used to shooting from the media areas, however there are plenty of spots where you can get up high or close enough to the fence to focus through it in the public areas as well. Eau Rouge is good, Rivage, Bus stop all seem to be be good.

One last tip or warning... walking up and down eau-rouge all weekend takes it toll on your feet and ankles, it's much steeper than it looks on the TV.

Re: Going to Belgian GP
Date: November 30, 2010 01:59PM
Posted by: danm
My advice: Get use to chips/fries.

With mayonaisse.


Jenson drives it like he owns it; Lewis drives it like he stole it
Re: Going to Belgian GP
Date: November 30, 2010 10:34PM
Posted by: Guimengo
I was already planning on the umbrella, but since we'll only show up for the race I don't have to worry about the other days, so Eau Rouge shouldn't be an issue either :P.




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Re: Going to Belgian GP
Date: December 01, 2010 10:24AM
Posted by: J i m
You mean you're going to Spa, and aren't going to be able to explore the place? Heresy!

Re: Going to Belgian GP
Date: December 01, 2010 04:39PM
Posted by: marwood82
J i m Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> You mean you're going to Spa, and aren't going to
> be able to explore the place? Heresy!


i find friday's often the best day. theres less people about so theres no need to rush to the good spots, you can take the time to walk around the perimeter of the circuit and the cars are on track more than the other 2 days.
Re: Going to Belgian GP
Date: December 01, 2010 05:01PM
Posted by: J i m
I've never been for the F1 unfortuately... but for LMS and FIA GT. The Spa 24 Hours is a cool event and managing to spend every second of it awake is an achievement.

Mind you... I don't recommend getting wasted the night before the race if you're a media photographer, being hung over less than a foot away from an Aston V12 screaming on the exit of the old la source isn't the most comfortable thing I've ever done.

Re: Going to Belgian GP
Date: January 14, 2011 06:35PM
Posted by: Guimengo
So looking at it after everything, I am considering the Gold 3 tickets, to see the cars coming up through Eau Rouge and then seeing them thru T3. Tickets there are 440 Euros, however :-o ! There's a general admission area just after it, I wonder what the view is like? I also am wondering if the Gold 3 tickets will actually allow me to see from basically La Source's exit through Eau Rouge, all the way to T3 or if that's only possible sitting at the very first row or at the very top.



[www.spa-tickets.be]

Wallets will bleed ;).




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Re: Going to Belgian GP
Date: January 18, 2011 05:14PM
Posted by: marwood82
Guimengo Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> So looking at it after everything, I am
> considering the Gold 3 tickets, to see the cars
> coming up through Eau Rouge and then seeing them
> thru T3. Tickets there are 440 Euros, however :-o
> ! There's a general admission area just after it,
> I wonder what the view is like? I also am
> wondering if the Gold 3 tickets will actually
> allow me to see from basically La Source's exit
> through Eau Rouge, all the way to T3 or if that's
> only possible sitting at the very first row or at
> the very top.
>
> [img402.imageshack.us]
>
>
> [www.spa-tickets.be]
> kets.asp
>
> Wallets will bleed ;).

i sat there in 1999 i know its changed a bit since then but this is pretty much the view we had

[www.penny4them.com]

we were in the middle of the grandstand

i don't recall you being able to see the exit of la source as the bend right after the exit from the hairpin itself is sharper than it looks.

i know you couldn't see over the brow of the hill on the exit of eau rouge behind you as i remember 1 of the bar's disappearing over it sideways followed by a loud 'bang' a few seconds later.

but as i said, that was (rather worryingly) 11 years ago and its possible the grandstand has moved.

come to think of it i took some photos from around the general entry area at the back of it when we went in 09. i'll see if any of them give an idea of what the view is like.


general entry wise

the middle of the back straight offers the best view of the overall circuit as if you position yourself right you can see the start finish straight and the run down to the bus stop (all be it from a distance)


[sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net]
[sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net]
[sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net]


though this fills up early on race day.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/18/2011 05:15PM by marwood82.
Re: Going to Belgian GP
Date: January 18, 2011 07:50PM
Posted by: Guimengo
Cheers for the great info, marwood!




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Re: Going to Belgian GP
Date: January 19, 2011 09:36AM
Posted by: marwood82
no problem.

i had a look through my shots from walking up eau rouge after the race(another reason to go to spa, the let you on the track afterwards!) and i'm thinking the view is a bit better than that first shot.

i found this online, which looks like its taken from gold 3.

[www.flickr.com]
Re: Going to Belgian GP
Date: January 19, 2011 01:42PM
Posted by: danm
Ive sat at gold 3 on the banks. So long as you get there early enough to go nearer where eau rouge ends and the straight begins, you see a LOT of the track, right from la source to early les combes. That was in 1995 though... lol.

The closer you can get on the banks to eau rouge, you can see over the pits, but obviously its too much to see the grid. Dont know anywhere else.

But iirc theres screens all over that section too. Bonus.


Jenson drives it like he owns it; Lewis drives it like he stole it
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