The conclusion of the Belgian GP with only one valid lap on Sunday, after more than three hours of interruption due to heavy rain at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, generated mixed reactions from drivers and teams – despite Formula 1 justifying the decision for security and the impossibility of rescheduling the test. Max Verstappen, winner of the race, and Daniel Ricciardo, fourth in the dispute, suggested that running early could avoid cases like the one at the Belgian stage.
- Rain interrupts race with one lap and Verstappen wins
– When you’re getting ready to start at 3pm and there are days like this, it might be better to start a little earlier, at noon or 1pm. It’s a better time. As it is now, time drags and gets worse and worse – suggested the Dutchman.
Max Verstappen, from RBR, was considered the winner of the Belgian GP, with a valid lap — Photo: Dan Istitene – Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images
Former partner of Verstappen at RBR between 2016 and 2018 and current McLaren driver, Ricciardo made a similar suggestion, noting that a similar proposal has already been considered in Formula 1 a few years ago:
– If we could predict the weather, I would consider starting the race earlier. The problem with a 3pm start (local time) is that you only have three or four hours of light. If the start was at 11am, we would have a much larger window. It’s like the 2014 Japan GP; we knew the storm was coming, but today it was perhaps less obvious.
The test cited by Ricciardo was marked by the accident that killed Frenchman Jules Bianchi, who died nine months after crashing into a tractor, on a wet track. At the time, a typhoon crossed the country, causing storms in the Suzuka Circuit region.
Heavy rain from typhoon Phanfone complicated the 2014 Japan GP — Photo: Mark Thompson/Getty Images
The International Automobile Federation (FIA) considered anticipating the start, but withdrew from the change that, at the time, the three-time F1 champion and then non-executive president of Mercedes Niki Lauda believed could avoid the crash of the Marussia driver.
- Belgian GP breaks record for the shortest 30-year race in F1
In Sunday’s race, the first start was delayed 30 minutes because of rain, and the opening lap was aborted due to riders’ complaints about visibility. The waiting time after the red flag stretched for more than three hours before F1 decided to re-start the pitlane under the 60-minute countdown, once again stalled.
Approaching the four-hour time limit for an event, the category confirmed the classification of the moment as the definitive result, validating the victory of Max Verstappen, second place for George Russell and third for Lewis Hamilton. But as less than 75% of the race was completed, the drivers took only half the points.
The 2021 Belgian GP will be a race to be remembered for a long time. For the worst reasons, unfortunately — Photo: Lars Baron/Getty Images
- Hamilton criticizes the outcome of the Belgian GP, with a lap: “It was a farce”
The decision was not well received by drivers like Hamilton himself, who spoke of “farce”, as well as Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel, who considered the validation of the points without the possibility of dispute as a “joke”. Teams like McLaren and Alfa Romeo also spoke out against it. Ricciardo, however, acknowledged that the situation left F1 with few alternatives:
– This is not a criticism, I don’t want it to look like an attack because it’s no one’s fault what happened today. Sorry for the fans, who saved money to watch us and couldn’t see a race. But that was Mother Nature.
In response to the charges, the FIA event director, Michael Masi, confirmed that the entity intends to talk with the teams and the category to understand their opinions about the exceptionalities of the Belgian stage.