Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali says F1 didn’t force drivers to do the required two laps at the Belgian Grand Prix because of ‘commercial considerations’.
After Lewis Hamilton said that Formula 1 wanted to do the required two laps just so they can say the Belgian Grand Prix was formally held, due to money concerns, F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali was quick to deny this.
“No, no, at the end of the day,” the Italian said.
“That’s why, when I hear that there was some commercial discussion behind that, it’s totally not true, because when we’re talking about racing, there is responsibility, that is a clear process, and those things are not connected at all.”
He was then asked if F1 would have received its full sanctioning fee without a race.
“Absolutely. That’s why I said to consider that as something related to a commercial implication is wrong.”
Domenicali went on to say he fully supports race director Michael Masi’s decision.
“For the people, of course, it’s a shame, because it’s something that everyone wants to see, a proper race. But I think that the decisions taken by race control are absolutely correct.
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“There was the wish and the will to do the race. And as soon as there was information, I was following what was the situation there, there was a window of possible weather improvement to try to do the race.
“Then as soon as they restarted, the comments were pretty clear, and on the another side another weather forecast received, not possible.
“Despite the disappointment for everyone, I think in terms of management, it was the right thing to do.”
Many fans were outraged that there was no real race held and they demanded that their money be refunded. Domenicali had a message for them.
“The message is clear, that unfortunately we don’t control the time. Two laps or no laps, the spend was there.
“So, it’s not a problem of laps. It was the point of trying to do the race. I think on that, race control tried to do the maximum to do it.
“So as I said, it’s not a problem of laps or no laps, it’s really unfortunate conditions. You need to consider safety for everyone, and that’s very very important.
“As I said, the first to be disappointed is me, because I love racing, but there are always conditions where you cannot do it.”
The Italian continued that F1 should work with the promoter of the race to see what can be done for the fans who were disappointed.
“It’s something that [we can discuss] together with the organiser. We are not the ones that are putting [out] the tickets.
“Some sign of attention could be done, so it’s something that as a gesture of attention, in terms of what will be the right reward in this condition.
“Unfortunately the race is not there. You can pay the ticket and it is what it is. At the end of the day, for sure, the organiser, together with us, will consider the attention, the maximum attention to the fans, that’s for sure.
“I think there will be ideas that they already are thinking [about], considering what has happened this year,” concluded Domenicali.