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Formula 1

Why one-lap Belgian GP result didn’t stop points being awarded

by Scott Mitchell-Malm
2 min read

The FIA believes it is correct that half points were awarded at the Belgian Grand Prix despite the official classification being taken from the end of the first lap.

The controversial Belgian GP had been red-flagged for almost three hours, with no laps completed, when the field was sent out behind the safety car.

After they started their third lap behind the safety car the race was red-flagged again and race leader Max Verstappen led the field into the pitlane and crossed the control line, which counted as a third lap completed.

By this definition, Article 6.5 of the sporting regulations had been satisfied, as that requires “more than two laps” to be completed in order to have 50% points awarded.

This decision split opinion among drivers, teams and fans but was also called into question when the result was declared because the classification showed the race ending after one lap.

That is because when a race is suspended, under Article 51.14 of the sporting rules, the classification is taken from “the penultimate lap before the lap during which the signal to suspend the race was given” – in this case, the end of the first lap.

If the final classification was also used as the basis for determining the number of laps Article 6.5 is based on, it would mean that Verstappen did not complete the necessary number of laps for half points to be awarded.

However, the FIA says that the two things are determined by different regulations and are not directly related.

Belgian GP F1 2021 podium Max Verstappen Lewis Hamilton George Russell

Therefore the final, one-lap classification does not change the FIA’s view that more than two laps had been completed by the race leader, as these are judged separately.

“There’s been three laps completed,” said FIA race director Michael Masi.

“The third lap was completed as the cars crossed the control line in the fast lane.

“And then the classification for points is taken on the penultimate lap before the lap the signal was given.

“There’s effectively two separate points. One is what’s done to complete a race. One is what happens on [determining the finishing order for] the basis of championship points.”

Masi has insisted that the final race restart was not specifically to get the necessary three laps behind the safety car to award points and get a race result but a genuine attempt to get the racing going.

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