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

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

Can Whitmarsh appointment help Aston succeed where its F1 rivals failed? Prime

Can Whitmarsh appointment help Aston succeed where its F1 rivals failed?

Aston Martin owner Lawrence Stroll is determined to make the group a billion-dollar business. MARK GALLAGHER analyses his latest play – bringing former McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh into the fold

Remembering Switzerland’s first F1 winner Prime

Remembering Switzerland’s first F1 winner

Stepping up to F1 in 1962, Jo Siffert shone with Rob Walker Racing Team and BRM before his career was abruptly ended in a fatal crash at Brands Hatch in 1971. Kevin Turner looks back at the life of Switzerland's first F1 winner on the 50th anniversary of his death

Formula 1
Oct 21, 2021
What Verstappen is risking with his current stance on 2021 F1 world title defeat Prime

What Verstappen is risking with his current stance on 2021 F1 world title defeat

OPINION: Max Verstappen is back in the lead of the 2021 Formula 1 drivers’ championship, with the season’s final flyaway events set to get underway in the USA this weekend. But a defensive stance he’s recently adopted could have a lasting impact for the Red Bull driver when it comes to his chances of defeating Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes

Formula 1
Oct 21, 2021
The hidden Ferrari struggle that Sainz’s recent charge put to rest Prime

The hidden Ferrari struggle that Sainz’s recent charge put to rest

Despite appearing to adjust to life as a Ferrari driver with relative ease, it was far from straightforward under the surface for Carlos Sainz. But, having made breakthroughs in rather different routes at the Russian and Turkish races, he’s now targeting even greater feats for the rest of the Formula 1 season

Formula 1
Oct 20, 2021
The final throes of Brazil's fleetingly successful F1 team Prime

The final throes of Brazil's fleetingly successful F1 team

Emerson Fittipaldi is better remembered for his Formula 1 world championships and Indianapolis 500 successes than for the spell running his eponymous F1 team. Despite a hugely talented roll call of staff, it was a period of internal strife, limited funding and few results - as remembered by Tim Wright.

Formula 1
Oct 18, 2021
Why McLaren's expanding agenda will benefit its F1 resurgence Prime

Why McLaren's expanding agenda will benefit its F1 resurgence

In the 1960s and 1970s, McLaren juggled works entries in F1, sportscars and the Indy 500 while building cars for F3 and F2. Now it’s returning to its roots, expanding into IndyCars and Extreme E while continuing its F1 renaissance. There’s talk of Formula E and WEC entries too. But is this all too much, too soon? Stuart Codling talks to the man in charge.

Formula 1
Oct 17, 2021
How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential Prime

How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential

Yuki Tsunoda arrived in grand prix racing amid a whirlwind of hype, which only increased after his first race impressed the biggest wigs in Formula 1. His road since has been rocky and crash-filled, and OLEG KARPOV asks why Red Bull maintains faith in a driver who admits he isn’t really that big a fan of F1?

Formula 1
Oct 15, 2021