Martin Brundle admitted that he has never been so confused about the status of a Formula 1 race as he was during the Belgian GP at Spa-Francorchamps.
The start of Sunday’s race was initially delayed by half an hour before two attempts were made to start the race, amounting to a delay of three hours. Amidst the attempted restarts, there was confusion regarding the number of laps completed, and even whether the race had truly started or not.
“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,” Brundle wrote in his Sky Sports column.
“We had gone from a 44 lap race to 39 laps remaining without ever having started the race. No wonder numerous team managers were dialing 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 ongoing confusion even intensified when Red Bull was allowed by race control to return Sergio Perez to the race after managing to repair damage from the pre-race crash.
This led to many questioning the current rulebook, asking for the rules to be more simplified and concise to avoid confusion in future Grands Prix, with Brundle suggesting that now is the moment for the reset of rules.
“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,” Brundle explained.
“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.
“It must be said the whole process did follow the rules, it’s just that the rules are unfathomable and need to be simplified.”