Formula 1 stakeholders will meet to discuss how a repeat of the Belgian Grand Prix, which has been branded a “farce” by seven-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton, can be avoided in future.
The grand prix ran for less than three laps, all of which were behind the Safety Car, before it was abandoned due to poor weather and the result classified after just one lap, making it the shortest “race” in F1’s history by some margin.
Although there is agreement the FIA did the right thing by not taking any chances and allowing the cars to race under such conditions, there is criticism that half points should never have been awarded as drivers were unable to fight for position, and that there should be more flexibility to reschedule the race either for the following day or at another time.
McLaren’s Zak Brown has also called for the definition of a ‘race’ – which the rules classify as two or more laps – to be looked at.
“The regulations state that after you do a few laps it can be called a race. I think that needs to be reviewed,” Brown said in a video posted to social media.
“I don’t think there is anyone who would argue the weather was safe to race in, but we need a better solution as a sport when that type of situation happens. The outcome should not be a race after three laps behind a safety car.
“That is what the rules say but that now needs to be reviewed by all of us, to learn from today and realise that we if are given that type of situation, what would we do differently to make sure the outcome is everyone gets their race in – whether that is the following day or it comes back.
“I don’t think anyone would say it felt right calling that a race, so we will work on this and hope that something like this doesn’t happen again.”
Possible solutions would be the ability to reschedule a race under extreme circumstances, amending the definition of a race so that a certain distance must be completed without Safety Car intervention and only then can half points be awarded if that’s satisfied.
FIA race director Michael Masi said the matter would be discussed at F1’s next stakeholder meeting, which includes representatives from F1, the FIA and all the teams, in order to determine ways to avoid a repeat of the Belgian GP.
“After this weekend, and at our next meeting for next year, we’ll look at a whole lot of things that you know we can all look at, to see what everyone wants to do,” explained Masi.
“As you’re all well aware we’re at one of those points that the FIA works with all 10 teams and F1 to develop the regulations. And so we’ll go through all of the various scenarios and see what everyone thinks.”
At such a late point in the season, there would need to be a majority agreement to put rule changes in place for next year, but it’s unlikely any team would stand in the way given the backlash from fans.