FIA President Jean Todt Announces Major Update After Belgian GP Controversy

Published 09/01/2021, 1:11 PM EDT
Formula One F1 – Belgian Grand Prix – Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium – August 29, 2021 General view as the start of the race is delayed out of bad weather REUTERS/Christian Hartmann


After a long summer break, Formula 1 returned at the Spa-Francorchamps last weekend. And the second half of the season kicked off with a dull start as the rain hampered the much-awaited Belgian GP.

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After the second restart, FIA suspended the race after completing just over four laps behind the safety car. As a result, Max Verstappen was declared the winner and the top 10  drivers were awarded half points, with the cars failing to complete over 75% of the race.

The way the race panned out received backlash from many in the F1 fraternity, and as a response, FIA president Jean Todt announced there will be a review of Formula 1’s regulations, including the practice of awarding half points, at the next F1 commission meeting.

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What did Jean Todt say?

“This year’s Belgian Grand Prix presented extraordinary challenges. 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,” said Jean Todt.

“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.”

Formula One F1 – Belgian Grand Prix – Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium – August 29, 2021. General view of the safety car followed by Red Bull’s Max Verstappen REUTERS/Christian Hartmann.

“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 5,” he added.

What the F1 fraternity has to say about the Belgian GP

Belgian GP got canceled barely 10 minutes after restarting under a safety car about three hours after its scheduled start time. The fans waited for hours in the stands in cold and wet, just to witness competitive racing, but to no avail. Due to this, FIA had to face backlash from the F1 fraternity.

The two-time world champion, Fernando Alonso, is disappointed by the FIA decision of awarding half points. The Spaniard said, “For some, it was perhaps a premature Christmas because gifts were given out today.” (Translated via Google Translate)

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Lewis Hamilton went as far as calling the race a “farce.” The Knight shared a message on Instagram, writing, “Today was a farce and the only people to lose out are the fans who have paid good money to watch us race.”

Formula One F1 – Belgian Grand Prix – Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium – August 26, 2021. Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton in the FIA Press Conference FIA/Handout via REUTERS.

Four-time world champion, Sebastian Vettel, labeled the Belgian GP as ‘a joke.’ After the race, Seb told reporters: “It’s a bit of a joke, no? That’s a joke,”

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DIVE DEEPER

Verstappen & Russell ‘Risked Their Bums’, Ecclestone Defends Half Points at Belgian GP

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On the other hand, former Formula 1 supremo, Bernie Ecclestone believes the race would not have been called off, and drivers should’ve made their own individual decision whether to race or not.

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Pingaksh Sharma

255 articles

Pingaksh Sharma is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. He has been following this sport since India hosted the Grand Prix in 2012 and has been an ardent supporter of the eventual race winner, Sebastian Vettel. He is also a fan of Max Verstappen and Red Bull and hopes the former breaks the Lewis Hamilton dominance.

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