2021 Belgian Grand Prix Blog
We’ve enjoyed some great race this season, but the Belgian GP wasn’t one of them. Lewis Hamilton hit the nail on the head when he took to social media to describe the events on Sunday as “a farce”. Hamilton then elaborated to say: “There was no moment today when we would have been able to race.”
The weather conditions at Spa-Francorchamps were extreme, and highly unusual for a Grand Prix weekend, but we all agree that the situation was handled poorly. Age old F1 rules dictate that the field must complete two racing laps for points to be awarded. Two laps are exactly what we got on Sunday, albeit behind the safety car, and it left a sour taste in the mouth. Lewis wasn’t holding back when he told Sky Sports: “Money talks. It was literally the two laps to start the race. The sport made a bad choice today.” The thing is though, he’s right.
Let’s look at the facts – the two laps to make the race official were completed at 18:17 local time. Race director, Michael Masi, said afterwards that officials thought there may have been a “weather window” in which some racing could take place, and so the cars were sent out to assess conditions. F1’s CEO, Stefano Domenicali, then also denied suggestions that commercial factors were at play in the decision to send the cars out for a final time.
Call us cynical, but they are talking complete nonsense. In a season which is at risk of being cut short due to the coronavirus pandemic, and with contractual obligations with TV companies to deliver, F1 bosses were determined to get as many points on the board in Belgium as possible. That’s fine, but just say it like it is.
It’s important to empathise that half-point races are not common. There have only been six in the history of F1, and on nearly every occasion this was due to rain, including: Austria 1975, Monaco 1984, Australia 1991, and Malaysia 2009. The other race being Spain 1975, which was cut short because of an accident.
Sunday’s ‘Race’ now has the unwanted distinction of being the shortest of all of them. It was embarrassing for the sport, and very disappointing for fans, but at least everyone seems unanimous that a change to the rules is required. The teams will now meet with the FIA and F1 bosses, to discuss exactly how this will work. We hope that a sensible decision can be reached.
In the meantime, there is the small matter of the Dutch GP to look forward to. F1 returns to Zandvoort for the first time since 1985 and we can’t wait to see some proper racing action!
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