Masi admits starting Q3 at Spa was a mistake

FIA Formula 1 race director Michael Masi has admitted that letting Q3 go ahead at the Belgian Grand Prix was the wrong decision, after Lando Norris crashed in atrocious conditions.

Masi admits starting Q3 at Spa was a mistake

Last weekend's Spa-Francorchamps event turned into a farcical three-lap race behind the safety car after heavy rain and poor visibility prevented F1 to get any green running in on Sunday.

The weather had already played havoc earlier in the weekend, when the W Series was shaken up by a six-car pile-up on Friday.

Saturday's F1 qualifying session was also disrupted by the weather. In worsening conditions, race control decided to let the final Q3 shootout go ahead, despite several warnings from drivers that the track was too wet to drive on.

Early into the session McLaren driver Norris had an enormous crash on the Eau Rouge/Raidillon combination after spinning off the track.

While Norris escaped unhurt, the decision to let the session go ahead prompted heavy criticism from Aston Martin's Sebastian Vettel, who was angry his radio calls to red flag the session - which his race engineer said had been transmitted to Masi - weren't listened to.

Read Also:

Speaking on Sunday night race director Masi admitted that in hindsight he "probably wouldn't have started" the session.

"I spoke to a number of drivers [on Saturday] night to get their feedback and they gave me some very constructive feedback," Masi said.

"So yes, hindsight's an amazing thing. And based on what they told me, having experienced the conditions at this circuit and all of the rest of it, we probably wouldn't have started.

"But that's also a benefit of hindsight with them having driven on this circuit in those conditions, because each circuit is a bit different to the way the water comes off, with the way the tyres react, etcetera. You have to treat everything on its merits."

Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin AMR21

Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin AMR21

Photo by: Jerry Andre / Motorsport Images

Masi added the Raidillon crashes of the past few weeks, which also include a massive four-car accident in the Spa 24 Hours, didn't play on his mind during his decision making on Sunday.

"No, I think you learn from each and every day," he explained.

"And as I said earlier, having spoken to a number of the drivers [Saturday] night, particularly after having experienced the weather, and driving on the track, it gave them a good reference.

"They gave me some amazing feedback on what can and can't happen, which obviously helped my process for today and all of them that I spoke to were very willing to say 'this is the window of what we can and can't do', which was extremely helpful.

Despite Vettel's criticism, who also acknowledged "there's a lot of radio and you cannot be listening to everybody", Masi said live feedback from the drivers did play an important role on Sunday.

"What we've always done, and we encouraged during the formation laps the first time, is for the drivers to give us feedback over the radio, and we did that in Hockenheim in 2019, we did that in Turkey [in 2020], wherever," he added.

"Because obviously it's live feedback from them at that point in time of what they can and can't cope with based on that particular circuit."

shares
comments

Related video

When F1 last aborted a race at Spa

Previous article

When F1 last aborted a race at Spa

Next article

Todt confirms October talks over F1 rule changes after Belgian GP

Todt confirms October talks over F1 rule changes after Belgian GP
Load comments
The 70s US superteam that tried and failed to crack F1 Plus

The 70s US superteam that tried and failed to crack F1

Vel’s Parnelli Jones Racing was briefly one of the biggest names on the US motorsports scene, but its ambition outstripped its resources. STUART CODLING relates the story of a Formula 1 campaign cut off in its prime

The key details that boosted Red Bull and held back Hamilton in Verstappen’s USA victory Plus

The key details that boosted Red Bull and held back Hamilton in Verstappen’s USA victory

As the 2021 Formula 1 title battle winds towards its climax, the United States GP added another thrilling act in the Lewis Hamilton-Max Verstappen battle. Although Hamilton aced the start, Verstappen and Red Bull took the initiative with strategy and were richly rewarded, despite Mercedes' best efforts as the race went down to the wire

Formula 1
Oct 25, 2021
US Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

US Grand Prix Driver Ratings

On a baking hot afternoon at the returning Circuit of the Americas, Formula 1 drivers were tested to their limits. As the pressure on the title contending squads reaches an ever-greater level of intensity, the foremost challengers again showed their class, but were outshone by a standout drive from the upper midfield

Formula 1
Oct 25, 2021
Why F1's misunderstood party animal will thrive in retirement Plus

Why F1's misunderstood party animal will thrive in retirement

Three years on from Kimi Raikkonen's last Grand Prix victory at Austin, he is now six races away from ending the longest Formula 1 career in history. His friend and former Ice1 Racing rally team PR man ANTHONY PEACOCK explains why there’s nobody quite like the 2007 world champion and why F1 will miss him (but he won’t miss it)

Formula 1
Oct 24, 2021
The 10 greatest drives of lost legend Jo Siffert Plus

The 10 greatest drives of lost legend Jo Siffert

It's 50 years since Jo Siffert was killed in his prime at Brands Hatch. The Swiss scored just two world championship wins in a Formula 1 career spent largely with privateer teams, but showed on numerous occasions in single-seaters and in sportscars with Porsche that he could beat any of the best drivers of his era given the right equipment

Formula 1
Oct 24, 2021
Verstappen exclusive: How Red Bull’s ace has become F1 champion material Plus

Verstappen exclusive: How Red Bull’s ace has become F1 champion material

As Red Bull and Honda go all-out for victory in the Japanese engine manufacturer’s last season of its latest Formula 1 dalliance, Max Verstappen finds himself thrust into a compelling title fight with Lewis Hamilton. He told OLEG KARPOV about his evolution into a world championship contender and why Red Bull's no compromise ethos suits him down to the ground

Formula 1
Oct 23, 2021
How Mercedes went from Austin practice domination to "very tight at the front" with Red Bull Plus

How Mercedes went from Austin practice domination to "very tight at the front" with Red Bull

Mercedes has been on a roll of late in the ultra-tight fight to win the 2021 Formula 1 world championship. It started off well in practice at Austin for this weekend’s US Grand Prix, but Red Bull got closer as Friday unfolded and even seemed to find an edge in one critical area of what seems set to be another close contest

Formula 1
Oct 23, 2021
The six critical factors that could hand F1 2021 glory to Hamilton or Verstappen Plus

The six critical factors that could hand F1 2021 glory to Hamilton or Verstappen

The 2021 Formula 1 title battle is finely poised with six races remaining, as just six points separate championship leader Max Verstappen from seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton. In such a closely-fought season, the outcome could hinge on several small factors playing the way of Red Bull or Mercedes

Formula 1
Oct 22, 2021