FIA race director Michael Masi says a Belgian Grand Prix classification of just a single lap still allows half points to be awarded, and refutes Lewis Hamilton’s claim commercial pressures led to the bare minimum running taking place.
After lengthy delays and a suspended start procedure due to the weather conditions, the window to hold the race was extended by the stewards and eventually a restart took place more than three hours after the original scheduled start. As the safety car led the field out of the pit lane, that officially triggered the first lap of the race, and after a little over two had been completed, the race was red-flagged again and did not restart.
For a race to be eligible for half points it must run for at least two laps but count back regulations saw the classification taken after lap one — the penultimate lap before the stoppage — leading to confusion over whether the scoring should count.
“There’s been three laps completed, so the third lap was completed as the cars crossed the control line in the fast lane (of the pit lane),” Masi said. “Then the classification for points is taken on the penultimate lap before the lap when the signal was given, so there’s two separate points. One is what’s done to complete a race, one is what’s done on the basis of championship points.
“There’s two separate matters, I should say. The first matter is there were three laps completed once they came in — three completed laps — however, the classification for the issuing of points is taken upon the penultimate lap before the lap, so that’s what the classification is based on. But for the fact of completing the races we’ve done three laps.”
After Hamilton claimed the two laps were simply run to allow Formula 1 and the FIA to say a race had taken place and therefore potentially remove the right for fans to claim a refund, Masi said commercial considerations were no part of his thinking.
“Absolutely not. None. Zero. Never, and would never be part of my consideration.
“We were all aiming for a window we thought was there — and the teams saw it — there was a weather band where we thought we could get some racing in and as all of you know, being fans of the sport, you know how rapidly weather changes at this venue. We thought we could get something in but the weather deteriorated rapidly so we couldn’t.”