Formula 1 could have a real race in Belgium if the start time at Spa-Francorchamps, last Sunday (29), were brought forward. This is the opinion of Max Verstappen, vice-leader of the Drivers’ World Championship and declared the winner of the dispute that had only 1 lap officially recorded, even though under a safety-car regime.
The start of the Belgian GP was scheduled for 15:00 local time (10:00 GMT). But the extreme conditions due to the rain forced the race direction to postpone the start of the race, in a scenario that resulted in more than three hours. However, during this period, at 6:17 pm (local time), the rain got even more and started to get dark.
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When Michael Masi authorized the cars to return to the track, the volume of water was such that there was no way for the race to continue. Formula 1 then ended the Belgian GP with just one lap completed, with the drivers behind the safety car.
But Verstappen understands that the story would be quite different if the race started earlier. The Formula 3 race, for example, took place hours before, starting at 10:45 am, local time (5:45 GMT), and even with a wet track, it was held from start to finish.
“When you start at 3pm and there are days like this, it might be better to start a little earlier, at 12pm or 1pm”, commented the Red Bull driver in an interview published by Autosport magazine. “For me, it’s a better time to quit. Here we were dragging on indefinitely and the weather got worse and worse. It got dark,” he explained.
When asked whether Formula 1 would eventually return to Spa-Francorchamps later this year to run the race, Verstappen judged the option as impossible.
“We already do too many races, so we must choose the right tracks and, of course, first of all, the good ones. I don’t see a chance of coming back here, especially when you already have 22 races”, added the driver, who made it clear that he was not happy with the way he won his 16th victory in F1, tying in statistics with the legendary Stirling Moss.
“It’s a victory, but not in the way I would like. The biggest winners are the fans who stayed in the rain,” said Verstappen. “We need to keep pressing [a Mercedes] and getting closer to them. I’m sure we have a good car and that we can make the most of it,” he concluded.