The 2021 Belgian Grand P̶r̶i̶x̶ Farce was possibly the worst management of such a global event I’ve ever seen, and it was an experience I’ll never forget! As this was an experience like never before, I’ll write this blogpost in a way like I’ve never done before as well- in a story kind of fashion!
4 hours, I sat patiently waiting to see some racing action, how George would fare, wether Lewis and Max would battle each other or wether Ricciardo could perform a minor miracle, Seb’s performances in the rain, Lando’s comeback from a bad qualifying. Instead, we were treated to stuff like this, and this instead.
Checo had a difficult race right off the bat, crashing on the way to the grid. Unlike Max last year, his car was beyond repair and Red Bull withdrew his car from the race.
On the grid, we were treated to a *few* delays. First, we had a delay of 5 minutes. Then we had another 5-minute delay. Then another. Then another. It went on, until about half an hour after the scheduled start, when we finally saw the cars set off, behind the safety car though, as the rain was quite heavy.
They all completed a lap behind the safety car. Then another. The drivers complained of poor visibility, with no one wanting to go off like how Lando did on Saturday. Then we got the message that the race was red-flagged, due to the horrible weather. “Okay, it’ll be a 30-40 minute delay at most“, I naively thought.
For the next 2½ hours, I sat patiently, waiting for the race to restart. The mandated 2 laps hadn’t been completed yet, and so the race couldn’t be classified as an F1 race yet. The drivers, teams and the fans all waited patiently, some in different ways than they would usually do.
The event clock which dictates when a race can or cannot start was also stopped officially by the FIA. After two and a half hours, finally we got the confirmation that the race would resume under the safety car, and a 1-hour race was expected to take place.
Instead, yet again we saw 2 laps behind the safety car, and a red flag which saw the race ended right then and there, with half points being awarded for only the 6th time in all of F1’s history, and a full podium ceremony taking place.
The only good thing to come out of this race was a Russell podium, his first one! Both he and the team were ecstatic, and for good reason. Williams got their first podium since 2017, and in the past 2 races, Williams have been the only team who have scored points with both cars– an unbelievable stat!
I think the management of the situation was quite poor, though. The FIA disguised the “2 laps” rule, wherein a race must complete atleast 2 laps to be considered a race after which half points will be awarded, as an attempt to get the race underway again. The conditions were appaling, and the FIA knew that. It should’ve just been red-flagged, and the race aborted entirely.
The FIA’s president, Jean Todt has called for a review of the rules though, which is great to hear.
I just hope Zandvoort gives us some actual racing action this weekend!