‘It’s not Afghanistan,’ Bernie Ecclestone agrees with Lewis Hamilton about the Belgian Grand Prix fiasco.
Former Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone claimed he would have left the drivers’ decision on whether or not to compete in Spa to them.
Former Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone has backed Lewis Hamilton’s accusation that the Belgian Grand Prix was a “farce,” insisting that he would not have abandoned the race. Only three circuits were completed before the race was called off and half-points granted to those in the top ten due to the torrential rain that wreaked havoc at Spa.
Hamilton, who lost ground in the title battle to rival Max Verstappen as a result of the decision, dubbed the situation a “farce” and indicated the organisers’ decision was motivated by money.
The race was scheduled to start at 3 p.m. local time, but there were many five- to ten-minute delays before safety car driver Bernd Maylander led the field on a formation lap.
The racers were escorted back to the pits, where they remained for around two hours, since the conditions were too dangerous, with visibility near zero owing to all the spray.
With 20 minutes remained on the clock, race director Michael Masi decided to send the drivers out for two more laps behind the safety car before quitting the Grand Prix.
“Two laps behind a safety car with little chance of gaining or losing a position is not racing,” Hamilton remarked on social media late Sunday.
“We should have just called it a day, not put the drivers in jeopardy, and most importantly, refunded the fans who are the lifeblood of the sport.”
Ecclestone, 90, agreed with the seven-time world champion and described how he would have handled the situation differently if he had been in control.
“I would have said at 3 p.m., when the race was supposed to start, let’s try again at 4 p.m. or 4.30 p.m.,” he told Sportsmail.
“It doesn’t appear like situations will improve, but I’m not sure. However, regardless of what is going on, it will begin then.
“If you want to race, that’s OK; if you don’t, that’s good as well. Nobody was able to put a gun to anyone’s head. It was up to [the drivers]to make the decision.
“If I were at the bottom of the grid, I could conclude it’s not worth the risk since it’s so dangerous down there.”
Brinkwire Summary News: “If I.”