FIA to consider F1 points rules change following Belgian GP criticism

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In the round-up: The FIA will review the Formula 1 regulations, including the points rules, in light of last weekend’s controversial Belgian Grand Prix.

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In brief

F1 points allocation to be discussed

FIA president Jean Todt has responded to the widespread criticism of the Belgian Grand Prix, where half-points were awarded on the basis of a single lap of running behind the Safety Car.

Tody defended the decision not to attempt to start green-flag running due to the extremely wet conditions, but confirmed the championship’s regulations will be reviewed, including the points allocation. Other series, such as the World Endurance Championship, do not award points if no racing laps have been completed, as was the case last weekend.

“This year’s Belgian Grand Prix presented extraordinary challenges to the FIA Formula 1 world championship,” said Todt in a statement.

“The weather windows predicted by the forecasters did not appear throughout the day, and while a small window did appear late in the day during which there was an attempt to start the race, conditions quickly worsened again. Therefore, due to the lack of visibility created by the spray behind the cars, we could not run the full race in sufficiently safe conditions for the drivers, marshals as well as the brave spectators who waited for many hours in the rain, for whom I am very sorry. This has been recognised by all stakeholders.

“The FIA Stewards have, based on the provisions of the International Sporting Code, stopped the competition to gain more time, and therefore more potential, to give the fans an F1 race. Despite these efforts, the race could not be started after the Safety Car laps, and the existing regulations have been correctly applied. I would like to thank and congratulate the FIA team, the ASN and all the volunteers for the quality of their work.

“The FIA together with Formula 1 and the teams will carefully review the regulations to see what can be learned and improved for the future. The findings, including the topic of points allocation, will be added to the agenda of the next F1 Commission meeting on October 5th.”

Read an in-depth analysis of what went wrong during last weekend’s farcical Belgian Grand Prix in today’s edition of the RacingLines column later today on RaceFans

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Comment of the day

Report: Albon and De Vries to gain F1 seats from Russell’s Mercedes move, Giovinazzi loses out
NotZack’s take on yesterday’s driver market news:

Albon and De Vries back in do surprise me somewhat, though it is disappointing that Ferrari are overlooking their juniors in Illot, Shwartzman and even Mick Schumacher in the Haas. Perhaps they’re banking on Haas turning around their form with the new car and still being a decent platform for Mick Schumacher, at least to the extent the Williams is for Russell this year. Good for De Vries to get a shot (very amusing that he did so with Alfa Romeo rather than Mercedes customer Williams, given he just won the Formula E title for Mercedes), even if he wasn’t the most awe-inspiring talent in GP2/F2 and Formula E, that shiny new championship title must count for something. Or perhaps that’s just the power of connections.

Albon getting another chance is also a nice thing, given that he’s still quite young he seems a good fit for Williams, and if he gets along well it may put the last three years of the second Red Bull car into perspective, but with his benchmark almost certainly being Latifi, it’s perhaps not going to be the most indicative study. But it’ll still be interesting to see how he gets along next year as well.

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32 comments on “FIA to consider F1 points rules change following Belgian GP criticism”

  1. Is Hamilton wrong??? And how much money has F1 made from Hamilton and his success and his personality??! Ridiculous if true that they are “apoplectic” about their star driver having a viewpoint MANY fans would be hard pressed to disagree with. The points awarding for this non race IS a farce and calls the sport into far more disrepute than anything Hamilton could say.

    From the looks of it the points will stand.. and if the championship is decided on that then it leaves a sour taste for most decent fair minded fans. And hey I’m happy for Russell and Williams but as a fan I find they’re crowing about these points rather off putting and I really want Russell to do well. But not like this.

    1. Considering the source was the daily mail I wouldn’t take it too seriously.

      1. +1
        If it had been any other driver than Hamilton they would be saying how brave and worthy it was for them to say this. but this is there known agenda and have even been called out by a European commission (ECRI).
        If Lewis said he was gonna personally refund everyone there you can guarantee they would spin it into a negative story.

      2. What he said. The Daily Mail have made an art form out of making up stories, but falling just short of libel or slander.

        If they print it, its likely made up and at the very least wildly exaggerated.

    2. He needs to change his name to a symbol. The driver formerly known as Hamilton. It’s nice when drivers of Hamilton’s pedigree and age get to this point where they can speak their mind without having to worry about retribution. Hamilton is one of the few properties F1 has that has any personality whatsoever. Outside of Kimi they are just PR tuned automatons.

    3. It’s easy for Hamilton, all he has to is drive a car at the weekend, he has no idea how hard it is for F1’s investors, constantly having to watch the market and take phonecalls from their brokers and advisers, and think of the shame if they cannot achieve double digit growth in the fortune they inherited from their parents and grandparents.

    4. @davidhunter13 It’s the Daily Mail, it should generally never be trusted.

    5. I think you’re missing the point – the “article” (maybe too kind a word for something published by the Daily Mail) points out that Hamilton claiming that there are purely commercial reasons behind the decision is hypocrisy. I completely agree with you (and Hamilton) regarding the points, but that’s not the issue discussed here. Hamilton playing the money card is just naive – on one hand, every single decision made in a money-driven sport like F1 is motivated by money (including Hamiltons’). However, had the higher F1 powers only considered money they would have put on a race no matter the consequences or circumstances, as evidenced by Bernie’s remarks. In the case at hand, the opposite happened, which suggests that the current F1 powers prioritized safety over putting on a show no matter the cost. If Hamilton refers to the half points being some form of money-driven decision, that just makes no sense at all either, as that’s a consequence of the current rules being applied correctly, however silly they are.

      It is also convenient to call for others to give away their money (i.e. F1 and race promoter offering refunds), however that would set a precedent that would ultimately result in higher ticket prices, as higher risk of refunds for promoters would result in added risk premiums in ticket prices to compensate for this event. If Hamilton has an issue with spectators paying for a risk that did not happen, how can he himself accept being paid for a race that did not occur? I think that logical disconnect is the issue here, and coming from the highest paid driver the call for others to give away their money is just shallow.

      1. If there’s no play at Wimbledon tennis because of the weather then you get your ticket refunded. Probably insurance backed which you’d expect the circuit or F1 to have in place too.

        Standard daily mail article – successful person of colour has their wealth highlighted so people can be angry/jealous about that, also intimates they should be grateful for what they’ve got and are framed as being naive for calling for something that will benefit others, ie “know your place”. No reference to any other driver or person in F1 who has said the same eg Carlos Sainz.

      2. However, had the higher F1 powers only considered money they would have put on a race no matter the consequences or circumstances, as evidenced by Bernie’s remarks. In the case at hand, the opposite happened, which suggests that the current F1 powers prioritized safety over putting on a show no matter the cost.

        Race control did the absolute minimum necessary to justify calling it a “race” and therefore avoiding the need to refund everybody. So it absolutely was motivated by commercial considerations, much more cynically than the approach proposed by Ecclestone – although Bernie would probably be thinking about the long-term damage to the brand rather than being motivated by any lofty desire to put on a show.

        1. @red-andy That’s not exactly true though. F1 and the circuit owners were never obligated to refund tickets even if there was absolutely no running whatsoever. It is always at their discretion whether to offer refunds or not in the event the race is cancelled due to something outside of their control such as the weather. You can argue that calling what we saw a ‘race’ backs up their justification for not refunding the attendees, but they were never legally obligated to do so.

          1. @keithedin I was thinking more along the lines of sponsors etc having to be refunded than spectators.

  2. Sure, clarifying the points rules will avoid a repeat of the scenario where points are awarded without a race taking place. It will work but is won’t solve our real problem.

    The real issue is that, for some years now, Formula One just does not race in the rain.

    It all started in the Schumacher years where wet races would start behind the safety car. They would go round and round until it was virtually dry. We’ve had numerous races that start behind the safety car and, as soon as it pulls in, the entire field pits for intermediates. Schumacher famously put intermediates on on the grid because he knew full well the race would stay behind the safety car, and won the race by a mile. That was outlawed later.

    So, in conclusion, we have 2 options:

    1) Take ownership of the current situation. Remove the full wet tyres, because they are never used and instore a rule like indycar on ovals: the race is postponed if it’s raining. If it is not raining but the track is damp, racing can go ahead on intermediate tyres.

    2) Find solutions for racing in the rain.
    – 2022 regulations: will they have any effect?
    – Allow major car setup changes before & during the race in case of rain. Example: Senna’s wet setup at Donington ’93. That race could not happen anymore today.
    – Add a 15min or 30min warmup session before the race in case of rain (as it used to be in F1 and is the case in MotoGP). Lets drivers get used to the conditions in non race conditions and also will clear the track of water by virtue of having cars go around it.
    – Virtual safety car period for when conditions are iffy. Slowly increase the delta time. (see Peter Windsor / Nigel Mansell interview)

    1. “It all started in the Schumacher years where wet races would start behind the safety car”
      Schumacher started 3 races behind the SC. Belgium 1997, Belgium 2000 and Brazil 2003. Belgium 2000 because of what happened in 98, Brazil for obvious reasons. Only in 1997 did Schumacher have an advantage with his tyres; but they had to choose tyres before they knew a SC-start was going to happen.

      “– Allow major car setup changes before & during the race in case of rain. Example: Senna’s wet setup at Donington ’93. That race could not happen anymore today.”
      They actually did this in Brazil 2003. Should have been the solution for this race as well.

    2. I don’t think this is true. I think the w series and Norris crashes, along with Hubert and Aiken, weighed heavily on their minds. Eau rogue is uniquely dangerous. At another track they probably would’ve raced. Germany 2019 also had very poor visibility, turkey last year started in soaked conditions

      1. @realnigelmansell it’s a Spa problem more than an eau rouge problem. The rain just hangs in the air because of the lay of the land and the trees. If it had rained like that persistently at the old hockenheim, for example, they would have never got started there either – though of course that was also a pretty dangerous track.

  3. Traction was an issue but visibility was the bigger issue. Might need to outfit the cars with radar or geo tracking systems.

    1. @jimfromus, Nigel Mansell put some good ideas forward in conversation with Peter Windsor, on youtube etc.

  4. For once I agree somehow with Hamilton, even though it might impossible to get back a 100% refund, but at least 50% should be the minimum.

    And who’s Tody?

    1. Tody is a typo. They meant Todt.

    2. Unless the money comes from Liberty (and the teams cut), it would probably mean Spa is broke and gone from the calendar Rottka.

      1. petebaldwin (@)
        1st September 2021, 10:58

        That’s the issue – it’s easy to spend other people’s money. The drivers picked up their wages despite not having to race. Liberty got it’s money for the race fee despite no race taking place. Spa got it’s ticket money despite no race taking place….

        The fans should be refunded of course but why should Spa be left with the loss whilst everyone else makes a nice profit from the (non) event?

  5. With visibility being the main factor for not racing at Spa, there is some hope for the future in similar conditions as the new spec cars should throw up less water if I understand it correctly.

    Vettel described how the current cars literally suck the water from the track, and then the rest of the car creates the huge wake that we all know is such a problem, spraying water upwards and outwards. Incidentally I think that in years gone by this wouldn’t have been such a big problem due to the less powerful aerodynamics on the car.

    The wake from cars should be a lot cleaner next year and will hopefully not contribute so much to poor visibility, especially when not following directly behind another car.

  6. Linking to a Daily Mail article does nothing for the credibility of this site. You may as well link to the personal blog of a racist angry teenager who’s never watched F1.

  7. I feel sorry for Seb. His remarks about why the race took place were far stronger, and no one cares what he said. Same with the protests in Hungary. His protest were ignored by the Hungarian authorities with their ire also being directed at Hamilton. And all for the same reason. The Hamilton name sells.
    And whilst F1 maybe angry with Ham, I don’t believe they are stupid enough to call him out on the money he has ‘given back’ lately compared to what Liberty, etc have put back into the pot.

  8. An interesting note on Latifi, although another point in Joe Saward’s post is slightly weird. Williams a backward step for Bottas, even though they’re doing better than Alfa Romeo, and the same may also apply next season.

    A surprisingly strong response to Hamilton’s remarks.

    COTD: I partly agree.

    Tweet: I already saw the image yesterday, but LOL.

    Points: Just use something like 25% race distance as the upper limit.

  9. The guy who has pledged £20 million to charity gives little or nothing back? There should be a disclaimer on linking to this frothy-mouthed drivel.

  10. I wonder if next years new regulations have been analysed for their impact on spray in wet conditions?

  11. Yup, since this was within the rules, rules need changing.

  12. Liberty media should quite frankly shut up & do the right thing. They found billions to buy the right to promote F1, I’m sure they could find a few million to refund RACE DAY tickets

    Lewis Hamilton is a sports person, he has no association with FOM and is free to say what he wants

    Bernie is absolutely right, the race should have gone ahead and anyone who didn’t want to race was free not to

    Massi has once again proved he is not up to the job… he hasn’t even read the rule book

  13. According to Michael Schmidt of auto motor und sport RBR have requested a clarification from the FIA with regard to a Mercedes engine trick. RBR and Ferrari are suspecting that Mercedes power delivery in the acceleration phase has improved since the British GP while keeping the same power output. Very interesting story indeed. Below is the article with detailed explanation.

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