As it is known that Formula 1 drivers need to complete at least two laps for the halving of points to be awarded, the fact that only one lap was completed in the Belgian Grand Prix standings has opened some discussion about this.
The scoring system in a shortened race is explained in the Formula 1 sporting regulations, which indicate the distances necessary for the assignment of points.
Article 6.5 states that: “If a Sprint Qualifying session or race is suspended under Article 50, and cannot be resumed, no points will be awarded if the leader has completed two laps or less, half points will be awarded. if the leader has completed more than two laps but less than 75% of the original session or race distance and full points will be awarded if the leader has completed 75% or more of the session or race distance “.
Although the cars had completed two full laps behind the Safety Car, with the red flag being displayed during the third, the way the results are calculated made it appear that this fateful threshold had not been crossed.
Article 51.14 states that: “If the Sprint Qualifying session or race cannot be resumed, the results will be taken at the end of the penultimate lap before the lap during which the session or race suspension signal was given” .
In simple terms, it means that, with the red flag displayed on the third lap, the results are taken from the end of the first lap.
Red flag lights around the soaked circuit
Photo by: Alastair Staley / Motorsport Images
So did this take the race beyond the minimum of two laps? There is certainly room to interpret that he did not, with a potential view that the final standings do not correspond to the need for the drivers to have completed more than two laps.
However, the FIA’s interpretation of Article 6.5 is not related to when the final race result is declared – it is simply whether or not the leader has completed more than two laps.
Verstappen, while driving behind the safety car, had therefore officially crossed the control line which determines the lap count a total of three times.
There were the two ‘race’ laps behind the safety car, plus the lap in the pits after the red flag which saw the drivers cross the control line for a third time.
F1 Race Director Michael Masi made it clear that the rules relating to red flags and those regarding the allocation of points are not linked.
“There were three laps completed. The third was done when the cars crossed the fast lane. And then the points classification is taken on the penultimate lap before the lap where the stop signal was given.”
“So there are actually two separate points. One is: what is done to complete a race. One is what happens based on the championship points.”