Max Verstappen reacts to Honda's departure from Formula 1
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F1 could be set for a host of rule changes in response to the remarkable events at Sunday’s Belgian Grand Prix, with the sport’s top bosses keen to work with teams to ensure this situation is dealt with better if it arises again. Half-points were awarded after just three laps amid terrible weather conditions at Spa, all of which were behind a safety car with no overtaking allowed.
Unrelenting heavy rain in Belgium led to a delayed start, before Bernd Maylander led the racers on a formation lap to test visibility.
They learned quickly, however, that they could not see a thing in front of them, and so the drivers were led back to the pits to wait for a gap in the rain.
After around two hours, though, it had become clear there wasn’t going to be one, and the FIA was left with a decision to make.
Instead of calling the race off, race director Michael Masi gave the green light for two more laps behind the safety car so a result could be declared under the sport’s current rules, before abandoning the Grand Prix.
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As at least two laps had been completed, half-points were awarded to those in the top 10.
While some believe it was fair to reward those who had performed well in qualifying, many drivers have voiced their discontent at a situation where they were not able to overtake or compete for points.
Autosport reports F1 chief executive Stefano Domenicali also has concerns about how the situation was dealt with, and is keen to meet with all relevant parties to consider rule changes so it does not happen again.
F1, the FIA and all the teams in the sport would need to approve any such changes.
Masi has also said the FIA and the teams will get together to “look at a whole lot of things” in light of those events in Belgium.
Former racer and Sky Sports presenter Karun Chandhok said the FIA “needs to learn from Spa and change the rules on what constitutes a race”.
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“I would say it needs at least 25 per cent of laps run without the safety car to classify it as a race and award half-points,” he suggested.
“If drivers aren’t allowed to overtake, it can’t be a race.”
Lewis Hamilton was one of those affected by the decision to still award points, as it meant Max Verstappen cut the seven-time world champion’s lead at the top of the championship down to just three points.
The Briton was also one of those to voice their unhappiness at the way things had been done, and told Sky Sports he thought the sports had “made a bad choice” by running the extra laps.
And on Sunday evening he described the situation as a “farce” in a post on Instagram.
Alpine racer Fernando Alonso, who was one place outside the points, said the call was “shocking”, while the Alfa Romeo team released a statement in which it said the situation could have been “dealt with a lot more appropriately”, adding: “This outcome hurts us all.”
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