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Martin Brundle

Brundle: I have never been so confused about the status of an F1 race

The Formula 1 pundit says he has never been so confused, about whether a Grand Prix had started or not, as he was on Sunday.

Article
To news overview © Getty Images/Red Bull Contentpool

Formula 1 pundit Martin Brundle says he has never been so confused in his 25 years of commentating on the sport, about whether a race had started or not, regarding the strange circumstances at the Belgian Grand Prix.

The start of Sunday's race at Spa was initially delayed by half an hour before two attempts were made to start the race, with a gap of nearly three hours between them.

During this delay, there was widespread confusion over how many laps were left and whether the race had actually started or not.

"I reasonably regularly read the 99-page F1 Sporting regulations, including just the week before during some downtime at Le Mans as it happens," Brundle wrote in his post-race column for Sky Sports.

"On race morning 'Crofty' [lead F1 commentator David Croft] and I agreed that it would be a Safety Car start and while I was in the presentation team for the opening of our Sky F1 show he would refresh himself with the procedures, which he duly did.

"I have commentated on F1 for 25 years now and I have never remotely been so confused about the status of the race, whether it had officially started or not, and how many laps were remaining after the delayed start messages.

"For me a 'delayed start' to the whole procedure is entirely different to an 'aborted start' where for example a formation lap has taken place but then a driver stalls on the grid and they go round again.

"We had gone from a 44-lap race to 39 laps remaining without ever having started the race. No wonder numerous team managers were dialling into Race Control to try to understand the actual state of play.

"Underneath all of this a three-hour clock (as per the regulations) was counting down but not available to be seen, although the Stewards used Force Majeure to stop this deadline with an hour to go in the hope of generating at least some entertainment and racing laps."

The confusion was heightened when Red Bull were allowed to bring Sergio Perez back into the 'race', despite F1 Race Director Michael Masi initially saying 'no' when the team asked whether the Mexican could take part in the Belgian GP, after he crashed on his way to the grid.

"In the middle of all this Red Bull repaired the car which Sergio Perez crashed going to the grid and were eventually told they could take the start from the pitlane for a race which was already five laps down but had not yet started," continued Brundle.

"It must be said the whole process did follow the rules, it's just that the rules are unfathomable and need to be simplified.

"The trouble is in Formula 1 that every rule change always has unintended consequences and opportunities, and so they end up being so convoluted. Every so often they need a reset and that moment is here."

F1 Podcast: Lessons to learn for F1 after Spa-Francorchamps disaster

It's time for the latest episode of our new Formula 1 podcast, with F1 journalists Dieter Rencken, Thomas Maher and Mike Seymour discussing the disastrous Belgian Grand Prix...

RN365 News dossier F1 2021 Belgian Grand Prix

The latest news about the Belgian Grand Prix straight from Spa-Francorchamps.

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