Last weekend at Spa-Francorchamps had all kinds of “difficult conditions” that never allowed the race to go underway, and round 12 of the 2021 F1 championship was finished without having even properly started.
The tragic death of Anthoine Hubert two years ago, the Spa 24Hrs’ incident involving Jack Aitken that ended with the British having multiple fractures, a multiple-car crash on Friday in the W Series, and a weather forecast that would not give up, led to a difficult F1 Qualifying session where the frantic rain made the first clocked lap of Q3 finish at Eau Rouge and Raidillon, as Lando Norris suffered a big shunt into the barriers after losing control of his McLaren.
Race Director Michael Masi spoke, as reported by Motorsport.com, on how he now understands the final session of Qualifying should have never started in the first place and explains how drivers feedback afterwards helped him deciding which course the race next day could take.
"I spoke to a number of drivers [on Saturday] night to get their feedback and they gave me some very constructive feedback."
"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.” Masi said.
"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."
When Masi was asked if whether the antecedents of the incidents in that particular part of the circuit played a part in his thoughts during the weekend he said: "No, I think you learn from each and every day."
Sebastian Vettel was one of the drivers to openly criticize Masi’s decision of going on with Q3 on Saturday, even though the German driver had asked for a red flag over the radio moments before Norris went into the barriers. “It’s always easy to play Captain Hindsight. But I think we need to find a way that we listen more to the information that we have,” he said.
Then after the events of Saturday, Masi stated that "Having spoken to a number of the drivers at 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.”
"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,"
"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," he concluded.