Belgian Grand Prix suspended due to heavy rain

2021 Belgian Grand Prix

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Continuous heavy rain at Spa-Francorchamps has frustrated efforts to start the Belgian Grand Prix.

With rain falling throughout the build-up to the race, the decision was taken to repeatedly postpone the start. After a 25-minute delay, the majority of the field was finally sent away behind the Safety Car. Sergio Perez’s car was missing, however, as he had crashed during his reconaissance lap.

Few of the drivers had anything positive to say about the conditions when they took to the track. The exception was pole-winner Max Verstappen, who only had the Safety Car in front of him. “I think it’s wet, but for me it’s fine to race,” he said.

None of his rival appeared to agree. “In terms of the track conditions I don’t feel like there’s a lot of standing water but we have absolutely no visibility,” said Charles Leclerc. “I am in P9, P8, for the guys behind it’s a really dangerous situation.”

“It’s pretty awful, I can barely see the car in front at the minute” said Lando Norris, 14th in the queue after his heavy crash in yesterday. “Quite a bit of aquaplaning, as well.”

After the cars began their second lap the drivers were informed the start procedure had been abandoned. The cars were taken back into the pits to await a start. No time for a restart has yet been announced.

FIA race director Michael Masi confirmed the race start time commenced at 3pm local time. Under the maximum three-hour time limit, that leaves them until 6pm local time to start the race. As of 4:20pm, it was yet to start.

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2021 Belgian Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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51 comments on “Belgian Grand Prix suspended due to heavy rain”

  1. That 3 hour rule sucks big time.

    1. Care to explain? I don’t think it sucks, but it would be far more adequate for the rule to state the time limit relative to the sunset, e.g. the race having to start 2h before sunset at the latest.

      1. Well as long as it’s still light enough to start, why not? The race in Brazil 2016 was also longer than 3 hours.

        Not sure when this was changed

      2. Why don’t they design “fenders” for the rear wheels, when wet racing tires are on?
        Fenders could be designed to greatly reduce spray.

    2. @anunaki Interestingly the three-hour total race limit (originally four hours) was introduced after the 2011 Canadian GP, a race so incredibly entertaining that the FIA immediately acted to ensure that nothing like it could ever happen again.

      1. Brazil 2016 was longer than 3 hours

        1. This year was the intro of 4 hours

          1. It was originally 4 hours

          2. Sorry yeah meant that

    3. @anunaki I believe it was brought in for broadcasters who wanted to have a maximum window for them to schedule around.

      In the UK Sky have a dedicated 24/7 channel but most don’t so can’t keep just extending the window when they have other programming (Some may also be live) scheduled.

      It was something that was requested after Canada 2011.

    4. I get there being a time limit. I don’t get why the clock started running before the race actually started. Seems to me like we might have suspended a race over a self-imposed deadline. I’m sure there’s more to it but I don’t get it. The clock should have started when they did the first lap behind the safety car after the cars came out again following the delayed start.

  2. This won’t go ahead and no points will be given. And then at the end of the year those points will be the difference between WDC and not.

  3. Heavy rains between 17:40 and 18:00 local time. After 18:15 dry

  4. F1 has wet tyres for what? For formation laps?

    1. @reg Its not simply about track conditions, Its also the lack of visibility.

      If somebody spins in Eau Rouge or aquaplanes on the straight with no visibility cars behind will just plough into them at full speed. That was the main reason so many cars were involved in the 1998 lap 1 crash, The 2nd half of the field couldn’t see what had happened.

      1. Oskari Kantonen
        29th August 2021, 17:45

        Doesn’t answer the question. If you can only race in intermediate weather for visibility reasons, why have wet weather tyres? Tremendous waste of rubber

  5. Gutted for the fans who are freezing their rears off in the heavy rain and will probably catch a strong cold. The 3-hour rule is a nonsense even greater than the European race starts at 3PM.

    1. You don’t catch colds from exposure to bad weather. I thought the pandemic had taught people a thing or to, SMH.

  6. Anyone should sack Mr. Masi after this deplorable chapter in the history of F1.

    1. Take a look at these unacceptable incidents – but as questions:
      – Monaco 2019: How close were the marshals to the cars?
      – Mugello 2020: (He might have done a fair decision on this one…)
      – Imola 2020: How close were the marshals to the cars – again?
      – Turkey 2020: Was the crane still on the track when Masi restarted qualifying?
      – Bahrain 2020: Did the marshal really act on instinct crossing the track?
      – Imola 2021: How long did it took when calling the penalty for Vettel?
      – F2 Monaco 2021: Was an explanation from Masi regarding Deledda really necessary?
      – Baku 2021: Which flag was ignored when Stroll’s tyre blew?
      – Styria 2021: Is tyre clipping nothing that should be dealt with?
      – Belgium 2021: Which flag was ignored again when Norris crashed at Eau Rouge?

      Michael Masi is very dangerous.

      1. (Correction: I actually meant “Which flag was ignored again before Norris crashed at Eau Rouge)

  7. Where is this 3hours coming from? The 2021 regulations i could find say 4hours event time limit. 2hours for the race.

    1. It was changed in Issue 5 of the 2021 Sporting Regulations.

      There are a lot of different (and superseded) versions floating around on various sites. You can get the current and past versions directly from the FIA here.

  8. They’ve stopped the clock!!

  9. Why didn’t they stop the clock straight away, what’s the point with a time limit when you can pull a force majeure? What on earth is not a force majeure if we Start digging?

    1. @zomtec I don’t believe they are able to until it gets to the last hour & i also believe they have a limit on how long they can hold it.

  10. At this point, Massi is just making it up as he goes along at this point

    1. I don’t see your point (I see two!)

  11. Great respect for everything Martin Brandle said today.

    Here’s my personal take though. If drivers are not prepared to cope with these conditions, definitely not the worst in F1 racing history, it’s fine – cancel the race, but please don’t call these folks gladiators or heroes.

    If you are with the mindset that you’re going to crash, you definitely will like Lando did yesterday, same goes for handling it – if you are with that mindset, you most probably do it.

      1. I agree with this. However, in 1998 no one was hurt, this was one of the most memorable races and to a great extent a title decider. They were able to do it safe.

        At the same time, Senna crashed fatally in normal track conditions, Mika Hakkinen got a terrible injury in a track considered safe, Michael Schumacher broke his leg in a perfect weather.

        I believe it’s more about improving the car safety, letting drivers practices a lot more in real conditions and put some better skill selection because F2 and F3 are scaryyy and crazy at times.

        Trying to manage a race actively outside of a simple rule book like we did today is a recipe for disaster because it put tension on the race or future situations and decision are no longer logical … like in Suzuka 2014 ;(

    1. Using those words to describe F1 drivers is clearly hyperbole. No one should risk their life for your entertainment and 20 cars driving up eau rouge in heavy rain with zero visibility can be deadly dangerous. If this is what you need to feel entertained then I suggest you seek some help my friend.

      1. Where did I say that I was entertained by seeing someone crash, or perhaps it’s your confusion between reality and your terrible imagination that might need a treatment?

        I am saying that it was fine to cancel the race. Drivers clearly said they could not do it. There are many factor that contributes to this – lack of enough practice outside the sim, complexity of the systems, suboptimal overall car designs for such conditions, and etc. It’s just that nobody should be praised for it, but keep a humble profile because the F1 has lost ground on its former capabilities. I’d even suggest that wet races should be abandoned completely as without enough track testing allowed, nobody is well prepared, so it’s a complete hazard and drivers look bad.

        As a conclusion let me share with you a little lesson – no driver is racing for your, mine or anyone else’s entertainment. They are racing for themselves. No one has become a professional racing driver in order to be entertaining. And yes, racing is very very dangerous. Most grave accidents have happened under normal track conditions, so if you really think drivers are doing this for your entertainment, you must feel really really bad for yourself and you should stop entertaining yourself that way. Rather, it must be about what you believe in.

  12. At this point, if they do try to do a couple of laps behind the SC like they are saying, it’ll be the biggest farce ever. If it’s not possible to go at speed, just don’t go and award no points at all.

  13. Yesterday Michael Massi was criticized for ignoring some drivers calling for a red flag & today he’s been criticized for listening to them.

    And if he’d started it & a big accident had occurred those calling for the race to start would likely be saying it shouldn’t have.

    Even Brundle is been a bit hypocritical as he seems to be saying they should have started when at the time they were behind the SC he was saying visibility looked too bad. Likewise he earlier said they were mad when they started races in conditions like this in the past & that when you can’t see the car ahead if they lift off you just run into the back of them while later on arguing that “the throttle works both ways”.

    1. Yea, most people are children. Not to race was the right call.

  14. The medical car was fine going round. How about giving all the teams ten minutes to build one of those for each of the drivers and then we can get going.

    Or they could build some paper boats, write the drivers’ names on the top, go up to Les Combes, line them up in grid order and send them down the hill. First boat to La Source wins.

  15. Worst thing ever would be for them to do two laps and call it a day just to have a result.

    1. Which is exactly what they’ve just done.
      What a joke.

      1. But george gets a podium! what a lad

        1. This is properly just my thinking but who would be truly happy about a podium this way. Just like getting a podium post race because domeone got disqualified or penalized. One is not really as happy about it.
          I feel bad for everyone in the grandstands, at home, Riciardo in P4 not getting a chance to fight for the podium.

      2. I think this will be the worst rated race on this site.

        1. Sorry. My fat fingers selected your comment to be reported. This needs to be redone.
          This race does not deserve to be rated. It deserves to be erased from history

          1. They should do it like they did during the Japan 2014 weekend.

          2. My comment didn’t age well

  16. What a joke! This makes Indianapolis 2005 look like a great race.
    Surely the rules have to change regarding points. They shouldn’t get any points for anything less than 25% race distance.

    They only did this to make sure the spectators have no chance of getting a refund on their tickets.

    1. Everyone paying tribute to the fans for staying around…
      Can’t help noticing that Lewis is the only one saying the fans should get their moeny back.

      1. Probably because Lewis is the only person that can afford to refund everyone :)

  17. So is this thing just scrubbed or they try again tomorrow? Did the teams pack up?

    1. It’s highly unlikely they’ll try again, because the marshalls have to go to work tomorrow.
      As much as we don’t like it, these two laps behind the SC are enough to count as an official race result.

Comments are closed.