Poignant Spa return awaits determined Louis

Rejuvenated after a week-long break from racing, Louis Delétraz will resume his FIA Formula 2 Championship campaign this weekend when the series visits the iconic Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium.

The venue, which nestles in the picturesque Ardennes Forest, is steeped in history. It has hosted motor races for almost a century, and features some iconic high-speed corners such as the sweeping ‘Eau Rouge’.

Louis, twice a podium finisher this year, goes into the seventh round of the season feeling re-energized after enjoying some time at home. Last week marked his first opportunity to take a breather after seven back-to-back F2 and GT3 racing events.

Racing at Spa will be a poignant moment for the Charouz Racing System driver and the rest of the F2 field as they return to the circuit for the first time since fellow racer Anthoine Hubert lost his life there during last year’s F2 Feature Race.

“Spa is a fantastic track, it’s really high-speed – a bit like Silverstone – where you do a push lap and end up with a big smile on your face,” the Haas F1 Team test and reserve driver explained.

“I’m happy to be going back to Spa but I think we will all be returning with heavy feelings because of what happened last year with Anthoine.

“It was a tragic event and, while racing goes on, we have a lot of respect for him. I think it will be on everyone’s mind this weekend.”

Louis has finished each of the last eight races inside the top 10. But the 23-year-old knows he must achieve a stronger qualifying result if he’s going to add to his 2020 silverware.

“Formula 2 is so close and, while we are always in the top 10, we’re not at the right end of it. For me, that’s not enough,” he said.

“We need to try and qualify in the top five as that makes life so much easier for the rest of the weekend. Then we can benefit from the race pace that we know we have.

“When you start from lower down it just makes everything harder: you can get unlucky, lose out with strategy and then maybe even miss out on points.

“We know our car is quick so we have to get a higher spot on the grid. We keep saying it but now it is up to us to do it.”

Louis will take to the track on Friday for free practice and qualifying (17.00), before tackling the Feature Race on Saturday (16.45) and the Sprint Race (11.10) on Sunday. (Times quoted are CET)

Once again, Louis is expecting tyre degradation to have a significant bearing on the outcome of the races in Belgium.

“It’ll be interesting to see how the tyres perform,” he explained. “Spa is quite hard on rubber and Pirelli has chosen the medium and soft compounds. It could mean more degradation, but predicting how the tyres will work this year – with the new 18-inch wheels – has been challenging.”