Grand Prix 2021 Belgian Grand Prix Practice, Qualifying & Race Discussion

The Summer break is nearly over. Hurrah! The first race back is at one of the classic motor racing circuits. Hurrah! Probably for the first time ever I hope that it doesn't rain as this was what things looked like in June.


Not so much Eau Rouge as Eau Merde.

The last couple of races have set things up quite nicely for the titles races. Red Bull appear to have "awakened the Kraken" at Brackley with a, in my opinion, very poorly managed PR strategy following the incident between Max and Lewis at Silverstone. It looked like Merc had sort of written this season off after the early races as they got things ready for 2022. The anti-Hamilton onslaught seems to have given the (not) Silver Arrows a bit of an incentive to make some upgrades to the car, which has brought it back closer to the Red Bull, maybe even ahead.

I suspect that the completely over the top reaction from all concerned will have consequences with how these things are handled in future. F1 teams have tried to run the sport for too long now and those in charge need to help them understand that they are participants, not the stewards or rule makers. Yes, of course, they have a vested interest in the sport, but their vested interest is about helping them win rather than what is best for the sport more generally.

One simple solution would be to not allow the teams any contact/discussion with either the Race Director or Stewards whilst the race is in progress. The Race Director, from what I have read, is responsible for making the timetable work and deciding if the race should be slowed or stopped via the VSC, safety car or with red flags. The Stewards are there simply to consider, investigate and make decisions on incidents involving cars on track. Their decisions should be, and be seen to be, completely impartial and there should be no involvement or influence from anyone in any F1 team.

F1 teams should not be able to ask the Stewards to investigate an incident. They should not be allowed to contact the Stewards during the race, for any reason. If the Stewards issue a penalty, or decide not to, the teams should have no right to appeal whilst the race is in progress. Should a team not implement a penalty within the time decreed within the rules there should be additional sanction, preferably (from my perspective at least) with the car being black flagged.

After the race there should probably be a formal meeting between a nominated representative of each team where the Stewards go through the decision, with the hope that by explaining why the did what they did this would go back to the team and the drivers and maybe they wouldn't do it again. Of course there needs to be a right of appeal, but by not allowing it to take place during the race I would hope most teams would accept whatever punishment is meted out without complaint. I would also suggest that should a team appeal a decision as "too lenient" there should be some consequence for them if the appeal is not upheld. Perhaps a fine, maybe points deducted from the Constructors Championship.

I would also suggest that the press corp needs to take a step back. The push for an "instant response" from the team principal or some team hanger on exacerbates the situation. I would also like to see an end to the chat with the pit wall between the commentary team and a chosen race team. This is for a number of reasons: as already mentioned, the need for an instant response, but also because the discussions which I have witnessed are trite, pointless, and offer non insight in to the race, the teams plans or strategy.

If you would like to join me in this fantasy world where the teams teams listen to, and abide by the Stewards decisions, with no outward complaint or histrionics do switch on the next WEC or Formula E race and see how they manage it.

The race is on between 27th and 29th August and lasts for 44 laps. There will be lots of orange around the circuit, although this is more a home race for Max Verstappen than race in the Netherlands the weekend after as this Dutchman was born in Hasselt, Belgium (If I were born in a stable would it make me a horse?). Expect Lewis Hamilton to be booed every time he takes his helmet off. Hopefully it will not go beyond him being the pantomime villain.

Enjoy the race
 

F1Brits_90

Champion Elect
swings & roundabouts for 5pts thing because he has had his share of bad luck losing in baku & hungary, could be 35-40 pts further up, & if anything its great to see it tighten up at the top.
 

Il_leone

Champion Elect
You know the discussion will come down to Spa if it was 5pts or less. Good job Mazepin was fast enough for once to steal fastest lap away from Verstappen
 

F1Brits_90

Champion Elect
its probally will, as people keep talking about 1984 & if prost had done the full distance in monaco but come 2nd instead of red flagging it in the lead he won the title by a point not losing it by 0.5

this title race will go to the wire, i would be very surprised if we werent going into abu dhabi 1 of lewis or max 0-3 points advantage at the very most. & winner takes all in abu dhabi for the 1st realistic title decider between 2 teams since 2010
 

The Artist.....

Champion Elect
but equally, if Hamilton wins by less than 40 points, surely people can equally point to two races where Red Bulls were hit by Mercedes?

(I get fed up with debates about whether x driver deserved their championship… apart from Villeneuve… he didn’t deserve his Championship ;))
 

F1Brits_90

Champion Elect
but equally, if Hamilton wins by less than 40 points, surely people can equally point to two races where Red Bulls were hit by Mercedes?

(I get fed up with debates about whether x driver deserved their championship… apart from Villeneuve… he didn’t deserve his Championship ;))
there are so many what if's this season its hard to pin down a certain moment,

Verstappen overtake in bahrain had stood
there wasnt a red flag in imola that rescued Hamilton race
Verstappen Baku Tyre didnt explode
Hamilton didnt press the magic button at the Baku restart
Hamilton didnt try to make unrealistic 1 stopper work in france
Verstappen lived to fight a another day in silverstone
or Hamilton had to retire as well
Bottas actually tried to brake in hungary took out Verstappen & Hamilton or missed both
 

cider_and_toast

Exulted Lord High Moderator of the Apex
Staff Member
Premium Contributor
there are so many what if's this season its hard to pin down a certain moment,

Verstappen overtake in bahrain had stood
there wasnt a red flag in imola that rescued Hamilton race
Verstappen Baku Tyre didnt explode
Hamilton didnt press the magic button at the Baku restart
Hamilton didnt try to make unrealistic 1 stopper work in france
Verstappen lived to fight a another day in silverstone
or Hamilton had to retire as well
Bottas actually tried to brake in hungary took out Verstappen & Hamilton or missed both
But all of these took place in actual live races where any number of options could have played out.

Over the course of a season a driver's fortunes change and the positive or negative outcomes generally balance out.

This was an artificial "race" rewarding points for absolutely nothing. It didn't even comply with the FIAs own sporting code so they made it up on the spot.

If all of the remaining races go ahead then every driver had a reasonable chance to compete for the win in 21 of them and in the other the winner was handed 12.5 points free of charge.

Absolutely arse way to win a world title if it comes down to it and just as worse for the teams at the other end of the grid if it's the difference in millions of pounds of prize money.
 

Dartman

Pole Sitter
Bad luck and mechanical failures including tyres are part of motor racing, they don't count in assessing whether or not a WDC is earned or not, not even sure whether driving a superior car counts towards undeserving, usually the team mate rarely becomes the runner up irrespective of the cars superiority ( Mercedes has tended to be the exception in this era).
Being WDC by being a few tenths quicker in practice in one "race" can be argued to be undeserving mainly because being WDC historically depends on points gained in a race over a distance of more than 2 laps without a safety car.
 

F1Brits_90

Champion Elect
my thoughts were on sunday it shouldve been null & voided, because it wasnt a race

but i would disagree with below because Verstappen didnt have a chance in hungary, because bottas decide he wasnt going to brake & verstappen had to compete without a floor. so i think the fact that they are both almost level going into run in, is as "fair" as you can get. because both drivers could & should have more but neither deserves to have a big lead or deficet

If all of the remaining races go ahead then every driver had a reasonable chance to compete for the win in 21 of them
 
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Il_leone

Champion Elect
I do think Masi has a lot to answer for as his stewardship this weekend was abysmal

....

This must be the cheapest five points gained..I don't remember anyone being awarded 1st place based on where they lined up on the grid or startline for a race that did not take place

I wonder what definition of a classified race will the FIA come up with then?
 

The Artist.....

Champion Elect
Il_leone - it shouldn't be the circuit that is liable, but either the FIA, or Liberty Media. The circuit was presented as is, Spa paid their hosting fee. The event was then unable to run, partly because of the F1 rules.
 

cider_and_toast

Exulted Lord High Moderator of the Apex
Staff Member
Premium Contributor
my thoughts were on sunday it shouldve been null & voided, because it wasnt a race

but i would disagree with below because Verstappen didnt have a chance in hungary, because bottas decide he wasnt going to brake & verstappen had to compete without a floor. so i think the fact that they are both almost level going into run in, is as "fair" as you can get. because both drivers could & should have more but neither deserves to have a big lead or deficet
If I go fishing and a big one slips off my hook, that's life. I can't say the tournament winner didn't deserve it because I had a bigger fish on my hook. I lost it and that's that.

Now imagine a fishing tournament where no one has caught anything because of the conditions so they give everyone a fish just to say something has been caught. The heaviest fish goes to the tournament leader and the smallest to the one in last of place. If that weight difference decides the winner, how is that fair?

Regarding Bottas, he was penalised twice (which some people may be pleased about) because he had his grid penalty for his Hungary crash and then had no chance to make up any places so was classified 12th.

The event was then unable to run, partly because of the F1 rules.

But the event did run. We had a classified finish. The race was considered complete, the podium ceremony took place and the points awarded.

We can't have it both ways. Either it was a race or it wasn't?
 

The Artist.....

Champion Elect
cider_and_toast - The event only ran in the technicality to avoid the FIA facing liability for not running the event! There were options available. The stewards could have (extraordinarily) delayed the race by a day. They'd have probably needed to have restricted spectators to those in grandstands, as the mud banks were terrible... But then it would have limited the shit show that was presented.

(I know that Michael Masi has said that it wasn't possible - but that's more to do with the fact that they didn't try... I'm sure all the teams would have been happy to have delayed a day, not least as they have the shortest trip of the year between this race and the next), the circuit would have jumped at the chance, spectators would have valued it. TV companies would have loved it (in the UK at least).
 

F1Brits_90

Champion Elect
If I go fishing and a big one slips off my hook, that's life. I can't say the tournament winner didn't deserve it because I had a bigger fish on my hook. I lost it and that's that.

Now imagine a fishing tournament where no one has caught anything because of the conditions so they give everyone a fish just to say something has been caught. The heaviest fish goes to the tournament leader and the smallest to the one in last of place. If that weight difference decides the winner, how is that fair?
but in the fishing at least you were in control. in this way you had a big fish on hook & a stranger comes out of the blue to rugby tackle you. Verstappen like Norris the situation was out of their hands they couldnt do anything about it & because of cannonball coming down the straight.

the result wasnt fair & shouldve given zero points. as no race no points. but hamilton has had some good luck this season. it could be said that his fortunate to be leading because remove points from Beligium & we get a safety car not a red flag. Hamilton has to retire from Britain with suspension damage. Verstappen is leading championship 17pts.

so if anything its conspired that after everything & all the controversy & bad luck for both drivers. it has evened its self out & after everything nobody has a advantage
 
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The Pits

Harumph. Again.
Valued Member
At the end of every season, fans of each driver will tell you where their fave should have finished.

At the end of every football season, fans of a particular team will tell you where their team should have finished, were it not for VAR, bad refereeing, bad team selection, fixture congestion etc.

These are the reasons why sporting forums are so popular. These things have always existed, and will always exist*

*not intended to be taken literally, obviously when the sun engulfs our planet there will no longer be any discussions on motorsport forums
 

Johnny Carwash

World Champion
Contributor
there are so many what if's this season its hard to pin down a certain moment,

Verstappen overtake in bahrain had stood
there wasnt a red flag in imola that rescued Hamilton race
Verstappen Baku Tyre didnt explode
Hamilton didnt press the magic button at the Baku restart
Hamilton didnt try to make unrealistic 1 stopper work in france
Verstappen lived to fight a another day in silverstone
or Hamilton had to retire as well
Bottas actually tried to brake in hungary took out Verstappen & Hamilton or missed both

You can add that Verstappen was lucky that Charles Leclerc didn’t start the race at Monaco.
 
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