Lewis Hamilton Utters the 10 Words No Race Promoter Wants to Hear After F1 Belgian GP
Credit: BENOIT DOPPAGNE - Getty Images
While the most famous words in motorsport might just be "Gentleman (and Ladies), start your engine", there are 10 words no promoter would ever want to hear.
On the other side of that coin, seven-time Formula 1 champion Lewis Hamilton uttered these 10 words - 10 words that are sure to make a promoter shudder - after the absurd Belgian Formula 1 Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps on Sunday a worldwide audience. .
"I really hope the fans get their money back today," said Hamilton.
There. He said it.
The race was a debacle. There is no argument. Fans were able to experience a rain-delayed induction lap, a parade lap and then a 3-hour, 17-minute rain delay to see two more parade laps of Formula 1 cars on the Spa-Francorchamps track behind the F1 Safety Car (that is Pace car for those unfamiliar with F1).
That was it. That's what people got for their time and money.
It was the shortest race in F1 history by any metric and the only green flag race without laps. The safety car led every lap.
Photo credit: Dan Istitene - Formula 1 - Getty Images
Lots of fans sat on grassy (more muddy than grassy at the end of the day) slopes overlooking the track, waiting for something to happen. Eventually, the FIA and Formula 1 sent the safety car out for a few laps to seemingly entertain the fans and confirm that it was still raining.
It's safe to say that fans spent hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars or euros on travel, tickets, accommodation, food, and parking to sit in the mud. Many probably had even more fun pushing their cars out of the mud from once grassy parking lots.
Formula 1 used to be a series that was driven in all weathers. Yes, the tire supplier Pirelli brings rain tires. But since Jules Bianchi's death as a result of a rain accident in Suzuka, Japan in 2014 (Bianchi died nine months later from his injuries), Formula 1 has been in times of rain.
It's not the grip and quality of the race that is so important, but the spray from the backs of the cars that sometimes literally blinds the drivers behind the leaders. No it is not safe. And nobody is committed to racing at any price and to ensuring that the health of the drivers is condemned.
Photo credit: Lars Baron - Getty Images
TV pundits believed that F1 had options. Why not come back and try again on Monday? NASCAR had rain push-back races on Monday (or even later) because of rain. Even the Indianapolis 500 is known to take place a day or more later due to rain.
Formula 1 is driving this week, but in Zandvoort, the Netherlands, just over a 3-hour drive away. That's practically next door for a Formula 1 series that is used to a worldwide travel schedule. It seems like they have time for the next race, even with a delay until Monday. In the worst case scenario, you will postpone your schedule back to practice and qualifying on Saturday and the race on Sunday.
Instead, F1 decided to end the race at Spa on Sunday - even if that meant there was no race at all.
The plight of the fans had not escaped Lewis Hamilton.
"First of all, I really feel sorry for the fans today," said Hamilton after finishing third in the race due to his qualifying position on Saturday. "Of course no one is to blame for this weather, but the fans were incredible today, staying with us all the time and getting through a possible race. They knew when they sent us there in the end that the track wasn't one." better and they only did it so we could start two laps behind the safety car, which is the minimum requirement for a race.
"I really hope the fans get their money back today."
Credit: JOHN THYS - Getty Images
The FIA said their hands were tied there.
"After the significant weather disturbance at the FIA Formula 1 Grand Prix of Belgium 2021, the FIA and Formula 1 are disappointed for all fans on the track and at home that today's race could not go the full distance, but the safety of the Drivers, marshals and spectators must always have priority, "said the FIA in a post-race statement posted on its website. "The Stewards' decision to extend the time slot in which the race could take place gave all possible ways to maximize the daily run, but unfortunately the weather conditions did not improve enough to allow more laps to be done."
Hamilton is just hoping the absurdity of getting the cars out after the rain delay just to walk around and do the two laps required to make the race official wasn't money-driven.
"Well, there wasn't a point where we could race, so there wasn't a race, but there is a rule that to be a legal race - I think - it has to be at least two laps, so they knew that and they sent us behind the safety car for two laps and that activates a lot of things and I don't know all the politics and the background, but my biggest concern is that the fans will probably get their money back I think ", said Hamilton. "And I don't know if that means if they do the two laps they don't do it, and that's ... I just don't think we want that. We have better values as a sport. "
Victory went to Max Verstappen, based on Saturday's qualifying, which ultimately set the parade order for the final result.
Photo credit: Dan Istitene - Formula 1 - Getty Images
"What can you say?" said Verstappen. “Of course that's not what you like, especially not for the people on the side of the track, the fans. They are expecting a race. But the conditions today weren't good. It just rained the whole time. I think from 3 o'clock it gets worse and worse and if you start so late in the day there is not much room for maneuver, although we still waited a good three hours.
"Unfortunately it hasn't improved. Of course, when you're the leading car, visibility is of course a bit better, so it's difficult for me to judge how the others were feeling. I think at 3:30 am I said it be okay to drive from here. " my side, but of course the view behind it was very poor and above all I think that with the recent events you don't want to risk a large shunt or even know the risk. It just didn't feel right.
"Of course the fans will not agree with what happened today, but in the end you have to think about safety too."
So is Hamilton right? Should fans get their money back in Spa? Start the discussion in the comments section below.
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