Ecclestone thinks F1 should give money back to fans after Belgian GP

SPA, BELGIUM – AUGUST 29: A general view of the grid showing Max Verstappen of Netherlands and Red Bull Racing and the FIA Safety Car prior to the F1 Grand Prix of Belgium at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps on August 29, 2021 in Spa, Belgium. (Photo by Peter Fox/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool // SI202108290172 // Usage for editorial use only //

After the Belgian has been called off due to the bad weather and the fans could not see a proper race, Bernie Ecclestone believes it would be right to give the money back to the fans.

On Sunday, the fans waited for hours in the standings while it was raining to see the race start. That never happened since Formula 1 considered the conditions too dangerous, and the only laps performed were behind the safety car.

“With the money that the rights holders earned from their two unfair laps, they should compensate the fans who stayed in the rain for ten hours. There would still be enough profit left,” Ecclestone said.

“It was a disaster. You have no influence on the weather, how you deal with it, but you do. You could tell that nobody wanted to take responsibility and make decisions. So they flew like in weightless space. And in the end, they did everything wrong together.”

Furthermore, Ecclestone also believes that Formula 1 decided to do just a few laps behind the safety car due to a commercial decision, something that Stefano Domenicali denied.

“There are contracts. By starting the race and completing their two minimum laps for a result, their contract is fulfilled. The organizer is therefore obliged to pay the rights holder,” Ecclestone said.

Ecclestone also explained how he would have handled the situation in Spa.

“I [would] do a lot more laps behind the Safety Car. On the one hand, to hope that the weather will improve and that the track will dry off,” he said.

“Second, so that you don’t look like you are now. Because it couldn’t be more revealing than stopping after exactly two laps. Now everyone knows that it was only for commercial reasons.”

“I would have told the teams and the drivers at 3 PM, ‘It is raining, we are prepared to put it off for an hour and hope the weather is going to change. But no matter what happens the race will start at 4 PM and then it is up to you whether you take part or not,” he told the newspaper.

“The question of whether to start or not should have been left in the drivers’ hands, he insisted. “If they wanted to take a risk to get points then it was up to them. If you wanted to hang in there and do a lot more laps to make sure you won the race then that’s what you could have done.”

To conclude, Ecclestone said that he agrees with the fact of awarding points to the top ten since the qualifying session was enough to do so.

“Max Verstappen, George Russell, and all the others risked their bums in qualifying and did a fantastic job,” he said.

“It is therefore only right that it should be appreciated. Perhaps one should think more about distributing points in qualifying than before.”

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