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

Formula 1 teams set for $1.2 million cost cap bonus

Previous article

Formula 1 teams set for $1.2 million cost cap bonus

Next article

Mercedes wants Bottas, Russell F1 futures secured before announcement

Mercedes wants Bottas, Russell F1 futures secured before announcement
Load comments
The floundering fortunes of F1’s many Lotus reboots Prime

The floundering fortunes of F1’s many Lotus reboots

Team Lotus ceased to exist in 1994 - and yet various parties have been trying to resurrect the hallowed name, in increasingly unrecognisable forms, ever since. Damien Smith brings GP Racing’s history of the legendary team to an end with a look at those who sought to keep the flame alive in Formula 1.

Why the 2021 title fight is far from F1's worst, despite its toxic background Prime

Why the 2021 title fight is far from F1's worst, despite its toxic background

OPINION: Formula 1 reconvenes for the Russian Grand Prix two weeks after the latest blow in ‘Max Verstappen vs Lewis Hamilton’. While the Silverstone and Monza incidents were controversial, they thankfully lacked one element that so far separates the 2021 title fight from the worst examples of ugly championship battles

How Mika Hakkinen thrived at Lotus Prime

How Mika Hakkinen thrived at Lotus

Mika Hakkinen became Michael Schumacher’s biggest rival in Formula 1 in the late-90s and early 2000s, having also made his F1 debut in 1991. But as MARK GALLAGHER recalls, while Schumacher wowed the world with a car that was eminently capable, Hakkinen was fighting to make his mark with a famous team in terminal decline

Formula 1
Sep 21, 2021
The forgotten F1 comeback that began Jordan’s odyssey  Prime

The forgotten F1 comeback that began Jordan’s odyssey 

Before Michael Schumacher – or anyone else – had driven the 191 (or 911 as it was initially called), Eddie Jordan turned to a fellow Irishman to test his new Formula 1 car. JOHN WATSON, a grand prix winner for Penske and McLaren, recalls his role in the birth of a legend…

Formula 1
Sep 20, 2021
The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog Prime

The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog

A podium finisher in its first outing but then never again, the BRM P201 was a classic case of an opportunity squandered by disorganisation and complacency, says Stuart Codling.

Formula 1
Sep 18, 2021
The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from Prime

The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from

OPINION: The headlines were dominated by the Italian Grand Prix clash between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, who had the halo to thank for avoiding potentially serious injury. But two days earlier, Formula 1 had a lucky escape with a Monza pitlane incident that could also have had grave consequences.

Formula 1
Sep 17, 2021
How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum Prime

How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum

With two sprint races under its belt, Formula 1 must now consider its options for them going forward. While they've helped deliver exciting racing on Sundays, the sprints themselves have been somewhat lacking - creating yet another conundrum for F1 to solve...

Formula 1
Sep 16, 2021
Who should Alfa Romeo sign for 2022's F1 season? Prime

Who should Alfa Romeo sign for 2022's F1 season?

OPINION: With Valtteri Bottas already signed up for 2022, all eyes are on the race for the second seat at Alfa Romeo next year. Antonio Giovinazzi is the current incumbent, but faces a tough competition from appealing short and long-term prospects

Formula 1
Sep 15, 2021