F1 right not to race given risk of “big accident” – Sainz

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In the round-up: Carlos Sainz Jnr says that conditions were so poor at Spa during the Belgian Grand Prix drivers would have been unable to avoid each other.

In brief

Sainz: Only single-car running possible at soaked Spa

After the bizarre events of the Belgian Grand Prix, Sainz said that only a ‘super pole’ session, with cars going out on track individually, would have been possible during the race period.

“One by one, we could have done a ‘super pole’ today, no problem,” Sainz said. “We could’ve gone through Eau Rouge, this was not the issue. The issue was visibility and the two laps that we did behind the Safety Car, the tyres cool down to zero and you’re going to go into Eau Rouge and into that straight with zero visibility.

“If someone spins in front of you with cold tyres, I’m telling you that if P10 crashes, back to P20 everyone hits him and this is where a big accident at 300kph could happen.”

F1 and Spa Francorchamps “disappointed” for fans

Formula One Management and the Spa-Francorchamps circuit have issued statements sympathising with fans who saw no racing action yesterday. Spa praised the tenacity of fans in staying throughout the continuously wet day and an F1 race which saw just four laps of running behind the Safety Car.

“Spa Grand Prix SA expresses its deepest disappointment to the outcome of this weekend, which was supposed to be the one of reunion, the conclusion of a year of hard work during which we overcame all obstacles,” said the circuit in its statement. “It started well, the show was there, but the weather conditions were not in our control and the decision made by the race direction must be respected, as the safety of the drivers must remain the priority.

Rain meant no racing at Spa
“We share the disappointment of our customers, who have been exemplary in the way they have suffered this incredible day, but also in the way the evacuation has been carried out, This underlines, once again, the quality and the perfect behaviour of our public of enthusiasts.”

Formula 1 also sympathised with fans who had not got to watch any racing action but stood by the decisions of the stewards. “Following the significant weather disruption to the 2021 FIA Formula 1 Belgian Grand Prix, the FIA and Formula 1 are disappointed for all the fans at the track and at home that today’s race could not go to full distance, but the safety of the drivers, marshals and spectators must always be the priority.

“The decision of the stewards to extend the window in which the race could take place gave every possible opportunity to maximise the day’s running, but the weather conditions unfortunately did not improve sufficiently to complete more laps.”

Neither party has indicated plans for compensation, though RaceFans understand these are under consideration.

Ricciardo would quit racing if he was motivated by money

Having marked his 200th grand prix in yesterday’s bizarre race, Daniel Ricciardo he isn’t entertaining thoughts of quitting. The McLaren driver said that if he found he was continuing driving for money, rather than a love of the sport, he would quit.

Asked whether he would still be driving in Formula One if he didn’t get paid to do so, Ricciardo said: “Maybe it’s the age in me but I do ask myself that question and the answer is ‘yes’. And I think the day the answer is ‘no’ is then the day I have to stop racing.

“I am pretty good at kind of checking myself on that and as a kid, I never did it to be on TV, to get paid money, it was because I loved it.

“The day that becomes outweighed or overpowered by the money or the fame or whatever it is, then that’s simply the day I have enough, inner awareness, self awareness to say, ‘alright, I’m done with this.'”

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Comment of the day

F1 Frog defends the decision to award points to drivers for a race which was run entirely behind the Safety Car.

If you just take the title protagonists as an example, Verstappen has gained five points on Hamilton.

Some may say that is unfair as he didn’t have do beat him in the race to gain those points, but the fact that he took pole and Hamilton was only third means that if there had been a race, it is most likely that Verstappen would have gained some points on Hamilton, so the half-points are fair.

Nothing wrong with what Masi did today, I think it’s just the anger of watching replays of people pulling trollies in slow motion and rain falling for four hours that is getting to people. Nowhere to point the blame today, except at the weather gods.
@F1frog

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Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a freelance journalist who roams the paddocks of Formula E, covering the technical and emotional elements of electric racing. Usually found at...

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  • 31 comments on “F1 right not to race given risk of “big accident” – Sainz”

    1. “If someone spins in front of you with cold tyres, I’m telling you that if P10 crashes, back to P20 everyone hits him and this is where a big accident at 300kph could happen.”

      And we’ve seen this exact thing happen at Spa. If there’s enough water on any track skill gets neutralized and you’re just asking for accidents; you can’t “out-drive” aquaplaning.

      Definitely agree, though, that fans should be getting their race day tickets refunded.

      1. Aquaplaning was not the problem more the spray the cars throw up! Brasil 2016 the rain was way more harder. This was drizzel and the trees kept that spray on the circuit. If the wind was harder it was possible the race as the spray was swept away.

        As you could see in front of Max his car there was no problem at all even the spray of the Safetycar (which is much less then a F1) was not a problem. But if you see from Lewis there was only spray in front of him.

    2. For anyone sad because they saw no racing yesterday, go check out the Ginetta Juniors race from Thruxton. Excellent battles throughout the field in the series where Lando first cut his teeth.

      1. Can also add the Extreme E racing that was brillant.

    3. Re COTD
      The championship has 18 other drivers who are also affected positively or negatively by the decision to award half points.

      1. Pierre Gasley and Danial Ricciardo both came into the race at 50 points. Ricciardo now leads 56-54.

      2. OOliver, not just the drivers – the race has also impacted the constructors championship, since it now means McLaren move ahead of Ferrari (Ferrari had been ahead on countback before this event).

      3. I know that, and I was using the title protagonists as an example. Here is an alternative version of the comment:

        If you just take the protagonists in the battle for eighth as an example, Ricciardo has gained two points on Gasly.

        Some may say that is unfair as he didn’t have do beat him in the race to gain those points, but the fact that he took fourth on the grid and Gasly was only sixth means that if there had been a race, it is most likely that Ricciardo would have gained some points on Gasly, so the half-points are fair.

    4. The results of Saturday’s qualification should not have a direct impact on the results for Sunday’s race. It should be a help or a hinderance in the quest for points.

      George Russell was already rewarded with a second place grid spot for his monster lap on Saturday. Should he really be rewarded with a podium on Sunday? No, he didn’t earn it as he didn’t race for it. Verstappen didn’t earn the victory, but atleast he admitted that it was hollow.

      I’m also sure that Valterri Bottas wouldn’t have caused a crash at Hungary, if he knew what the conditions would be like in Belgium, 4 weeks later. A 5 place grid penalty shouldn’t automatically mean no points.

      Now, I don’t disagree with the decision not to race. We’ve seen many times in the past where heavy rain can cause dangerous driving conditions, but the idea of just completing enough laps to make an official race is foolish. It was just the easiest solution to fulfill contract obligations and one I do not agree with.

      1. I’m also sure that Valterri Bottas wouldn’t have caused a crash at Hungary, if he knew what the conditions would be like in Belgium, 4 weeks later. A 5 place grid penalty shouldn’t automatically mean no points.

        Seriously?

        1. Admit, that one is a bit of a stretch

      2. A 5 place grid penalty shouldn’t automatically mean no points.

        No it shouldn’t, especially in a Mercedes that should be on the front row every race.

      3. George Russell was already rewarded with a second place grid spot for his monster lap on Saturday.

        My point is that if the race had been declared null and void, Russell would not have been rewarded for the monster lap on Saturday. The situation used means that he is partly rewarded, and had he started on the front row, he may have scored more than nine points, or maybe less, but it seems like a reasonable number to give him, as it is more than all the drivers he outqualified (so should be expected to outrace in similar conditions), but less than the driver who outqualified him.

        1. Qualifying determines where you start, not where you finish. George Russell doesn’t deserve even a partial reward for Saturday. Out qualifying the other drivers only gives a better chance at scoring points, they shouldn’t be outright given to him. If the race ends up being cancelled due to the weather, then tough luck, that’s racing. We’ve seen plenty of other situations where people give a monster effort on Saturday to have no reward on Sunday.

          1. i don’t understand why some people have a hard time understanding this. points are given on Sunday for the race not on Saturday for qualifying. yes Russell did excellent on Saturday but he shouldn’t have gotten 1/2 race points for it when there wasn’t a race on Sunday.

    5. RE: Carlos’ “super-pole” idea – well, they did that yesterday. Apparently F1 is now a Time Attack series when it suits them.

    6. COTD:

      If you just take the title protagonists as an example, Verstappen has gained five points on Hamilton.

      Indeed. And I think that is why FIA/F1 decided to do that 2 lap farce after waiting out for 3 hours hoping rain would clear. It was a commercial decision to run those 2 laps so that they could award points and the the 2 championship contenders come closer in the championship.

      Would FIA / F1 have done the same had Lewis got the pole? I don’t think so. Because, 1) The championship contenders would have grown further apart, 2) Lewis’ 100th win to be like this would be a commercial fiasco for F1 :)

      1. Some might say it would be quite fitting for Hamilton’s 100th win to be handed to him with no meaningful competition

      2. I disagree with giving points when there was no racing (but then again, there are websites organising polls when there was no racing).

        But I do not agree claiming that it was a commercial decision. Certainly drivers and participants should not claim this.
        FIA is not a commercial organisation; Masi doesn’t work for Liberty.
        There was a clear expectation that the weather would improve.
        Getting the cars out behind a safety car is a standard procedure when the track is too wet for racing but when driving around it could create a dry line.

        PS if I were Masi I would have started behind the safety car (a bit earlier when it was dryer) and then call the SC in but leave the full track under single waved yellow (no overtaking). This way they could have gone faster, the track could have dried, and there would be some driver skills involved to keep the cars on track (just see what Perez did).

        1. FIA is not a commercial organisation; Masi doesn’t work for Liberty

          Masi shouldn’t work for Liberty. But his actions seem like he does. Not yesterday’s, but the general increase in red flags, safety cars which increase unpredictability of every race.

          if I were Masi I would have started behind the safety car (a bit earlier when it was dryer) and then call the SC in but leave the full track under single waved yellow (no overtaking)

          That’s interesting. Yeah, if the drivers circulated at single waved yellow / VSC , they would themselves displace the standing water and make the track better for racing after 5-10 laps!!

          1. I don’t think it’s fair to claim Masi works for Liberty. I disagree with many decisions, but claiming he is not independent is a whole different level.

            And I doubt that Liberty would lose out if the race had not taken place due to the weather.
            The organisation was in hands of the circuit (Spa), and I doubt there is a weather refund clause in the contract.
            Liberty doesn’t need 22 races either to collect the TV monies.

            1. jff, the poster gt-racer, who is connected with FOM, has mentioned in the past that Liberty Media have been putting pressure on Masi to take certain actions – for example, using the safety car to close up the field when, in previous years, an event might have been covered under a virtual safety car or yellow flags.

              Whilst Masi might not be directly employed by Liberty Media, they are certainly applying pressure onto Masi to act in a particular way that does raise the question of whether he is acting in an entirely independent manner.

            2. anon,
              We don’t need another poster to claim that others put pressure on Masi. We could all hear the various teams put pressure on him live on air.

              It is up to Masi though to find the quickest route between his two ears for those messages.
              If he cannot do that then he should not be in that chair.

    7. I wonder whether a Le Mans-style “slow zone” through Eau Rouge/Radillon and down to Les Combes might have made racing possible yesterday. We saw during the SC parade at the end that there was much less standing water on other parts of the circuit, and that sequence is the one that had everyone worried.

      Obviously there is no provision in the F1 regulations for such a thing, but it might be something to consider for the future if truly wet running is no longer to be tolerated.

      1. I agree and could have added this to my comment (PS part) above.

      2. If they did a slow zone it would highlight that constant uses of the safety car when it isn’t needed are all about the show, not about racing. It gives TV companies a chance to squeeze in adverts and time for the new audience F1 is trying to attract to check there social media feeds as they have the attention span of a goldfish.

    8. I think they could have raced yesterday. There was no aquaplaning what used to be the argument, but the visibility was bad. Well, this has always been the case when it rainraces.

    9. In hindsight, Sainz’s Super Pole idea wouldn’t have been a bad idea. He’s also right about accident probability, as is Hill.

      Good thinking by Ric.

      At least Super Formula had a proper race, unlike F1.

      COTD has some validity.

    10. Re Damon Hill tweet: I have to agree with him. Only for the decision and never the points hand-out.
      Re Extreme E tweet: Something wrong, eh?

    11. The moneybadger would race without a salary? Hmmmm

    12. @f1frog
      Agree with COTD completely.

      The weather ruined the day, end of story. It’s no one’s fault, it’s simply unfortunate.

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