Formula 1
Belgian GP sees chaos at Sprint Start, 4 racing laps lost under Safety Car

Belgian GP sees chaos at Sprint Start, 4 racing laps lost under Safety Car

The Belgian Grand Prix Sprint sees indecision by the FIA regarding the Safety Car and the Start Procedure. 4 racing laps lost under the Safety Car, shortening the sprint.

The start of the Belgian Grand Prix Sprint was marred by yet another bout of indecision by the FIA. Once again, the Race Director chose to add another lap behind the safety car despite all drivers claiming the track was not just race-worthy, but dry enough for intermediates.

The race start had been delayed by 35 minutes already due to a delay in the Sprint Shootout. The start was then delayed further as the track found itself in the midst of a sudden bout of rain. While the rain was relatively short-lived it was strong enough to leave a lot of standing water on the track.

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The FIA sent out dryers on the track, and then announced a safety car start, which made it mandatory for all drivers to start on full wets. This was a dodgy decision in itself because the track looked ready for inters from the outset. It was initially relayed that there will be a total of three laps behind the safety car: one formation lap and three racing laps.

However, even after various drivers came on the radio to say the track was dry, the FIA decided to do another racing lap behind the safety car. This brought the number of racing laps down to just 11. Another strong hit to the starting procedure came when the FIA stated that it would be a rolling start procedure. This further reduced the chances of seeing any first lap action which is so common during a wet grand prix start.

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The recent accidents, crashes, and deaths, especially at Spa, have warranted an extra-cautious approach from the FIA. While we do support erring on the side of caution, there comes a point where it becomes clear that the safety of the drivers won’t be affected. This was the case today.

While it may seem like a one-off, what a race like this does is set a precedent for future races to be handled in the same way. This will end up with Formula 1 fans all around the globe losing out on seeing the best drivers in the world putting their skills to the ultimate test: driving in the wet.

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