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
You can always satisfy yourself by the knowledge that in other universes, all these things will be played out, as anything that can happen does happen somewhere.

Although there still is not enough universes for there to be one in which Mazepin has better than even odds of completing a race.
fascinating insight from Nigel mansell, where he thinks in conditions we had on sunday. the Parc ferme should undone & allow cars to be changed to have a full wet setup on the car on a halfway house just in case it drys out or goes on to intermediates

"In years gone past, we did race in monsoons, We raced in Australia 1991 in a monsoon, in Japan 1994 in a monsoon, Estoril 1985 as well, & I'll never forget racing in the terrible weather at Monte Carlo 1984. But we were able then to adjust ride heights to the car, so you get more ground clearance, and you were able to put more wing on the car to give more downforce to give the drivers better control of their cars. I think an opportunity was missed that the regulations could have been adjusted on the day, whereby it gave every opportunity for the drivers, the cars & the teams to adjust their cars to a higher ride height, put more downforce on, & even maybe adjust the camber of the wheels & tyres to actually put on a race.

"In Lewis Hamilton's words, as opposed to mine, it was farcical in the end. And I think it hurt F1 greatly, which means it hurts all the fans, it hurts me as a past driver. Because we were robbed of, I think, a very, very great race there."
I'll never forget racing in the terrible weather at Monte Carlo 1984

Ah yes Nigel, the 1984 Monaco Grand Prix. The one where you overtook Prost on lap 9 and then pulled away at 2 seconds a lap until you lost it up the hill and ran backwards into the barrier and out of the race.

And that is why they ran two laps under the safety car. It had to be declared a race so that the promoter had to pay their fees and of course this meant they didn't have the money to refund anyone. Well, not enough money to avoid significant financial losses.

Of course, the FIA (Masi !!!) even managed to **** that up. There had to be 3 racing laps for it to be a race but they only ran two behind the safety car. They then declared the in lap as the third "racing" lap however, Verstappen, the declared race winner did not cross the timing line 3 times because his pit was before the line.

Fortunately, if a made up rule is required the FIA have a reliable race director for that.
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