- Seven-time world champ Lewis Hamilton accused F1 organizers of being greedy.
- Following heavy rain, only two laps were completed before Max Verstappen was declared the winner.
- Hamilton said “money talks,” and that fans, who stayed despite poor conditions, deserved a refund.
Current Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton has accused the sport’s organizers of being greedy, and said “money talks” following a farcical Belgian Grand Prix.
Consistent heavy rain meant it was never possible for the race to safely get underway, and after a wait of more than three hours past the scheduled start time, the drivers followed the safety car around the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps for two laps before the race was declared finished.
Max Verstappen, who led having secured pole position during Saturday’s qualifying session, was declared the winner and cut the gap between himself and current leader Hamilton to three points in the drivers’ standings.
Afterward, Hamilton told Sky Sports F1 that “money talks.”
“It was literally the two laps to start the race, it’s all a money scenario,” he said. “So everyone gets their money and I think the fans should get theirs back too because unfortunately, they didn’t get to see what they came and paid for.
“It’s a shame we can’t do the race tomorrow [Monday] and I love this track as well, so sad that we couldn’t do this. But today wasn’t a race,” he said.
Regulations state that two laps is the minimum needed for the event to be declared a race and drivers were awarded half points as less than 75 percent was completed.
Hamilton’s speculation that the real motive behind the two laps was commercially driven prompted the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) to speak to Sky Sports F1.
Race director Michael Masi told the broadcasters that from looking at their weather forecasts, they saw a window of opportunity which they thought they could race in.
“We are in constant contact with our official weather provider and there was a window it looked like it was provided there.
“We have got the requirement to give a 10-minute warning to everyone so it was like ‘OK, let’s try to see if we can find that window’.
“A number of the teams have said the same thing, they saw that window and could see exactly what we were trying to do. Then the weather came in and got the better of us again.”
F1 president Stefano Domenicali also denied there was no commercial element in the call to return to the track.
“There was really the will to do the race but the problem is that the weather started to be even worse and with the comments that the race control was receiving it was really wrong to keep on doing that.
“So it’s not really commercial, I can guarantee you.”
Whilst neglecting to say whether fans will get their money back, Domenicali said that fans were a “priority” and they “will take care about this.”