Formula 1 organisers had “no ability” to reschedule the washed-out Belgian Grand Prix to take place on Monday, according to FIA race director Michael Masi.
With no sign of Sunday’s dreadful weather easing up, the decision was eventually taken to declare the race result based on a handful of laps behind the safety car, after a delay of several hours.
Speaking to Sky Sports F1 after the event, Masi said F1 and the FIA couldn’t have done anything else to get a race in.
“It’s obviously disappointing for everyone involved that we could not get the full race distance in but we’ve tried to do the best that we all possibly could,” said Masi. “At least we got something in.
“It’s been a long old day. We’ve seen the worst of the weather today. The conditions have not been great all weekend but we’ve had patches where we could get activity done. But today the weather got a bit the better of us.”
One suggestion that came up repeatedly during the delay was for F1 to hold the race a day later, although that seemed unlikely given the number of workers and volunteers – including the all-important trackside marshals – who would likely have their regular jobs to go back to on Monday.
However, Masi said there were multiple reasons that moving the race to Monday was never an option.
“There’s no ability to postpone the race until tomorrow,” he said. “There’s a whole range… the list would be pages long between organisers, everyone here, all of us. There’s just no ability to postpone to the following day.
“From the FIA perspective and jointly with Formula 1, safety is paramount for the drivers, the teams and all of the spectators.
“We gave every available opportunity within the rulebook, within the provisions of the International Sporting Code, to give us the best opportunity to be able to complete a race.
“So it’s unfortunate on this occasion that we could not go the full distance.
“We tried to see if we could get ourselves in that weather window of some activity.”
F1 has faced accusations that the drivers were only sent back out to complete the necessary amount of running for a race result to be declared and half points to be awarded, but Masi said it was a genuine attempt to gauge conditions and see if some racing could take place.
“We were in constant contact with our official weather provider and there was a window that looked like it was provided there,” he said of the second attempt to start the race.
“We’ve got a requirement to give a 10-minute warning to everyone so it was like, ‘OK, let’s try and see if we can find that window’ and a number of teams had said the same thing.
“They saw that window and could see exactly what we were trying to do and then the weather came in and got the better of us again.
“I asked all of the teams deliberately to get the drivers’ feedback. Between all of us on the FIA desk we were monitoring all the radio channels to actually get the drivers’ feedback on what they thought the conditions were like and visibility.”