Torrential rain meant that competitive racing was impossible at the Spa-Francorchamps track – famously one of the more exhilarating circuits on the calendar – as a result of dangerous driving conditions.
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, who had qualified on pole position, was awarded the race win after two laps completed behind a safety car before a red flag brought everything to a halt. All points scorers were given half points.
Britain’s George Russell, driving for Williams, came second ahead of seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton whose lead at the top of the standings was cut to just three points ahead of Verstappen.
Hamilton called the event a “farce” and said that the drivers were sent out for the sole purpose of securing an official result.
On Monday, Alfa Romeo said that the decision “hurts” everyone in Formula 1, especially the fans in attendance.
“The decision not to race in the conditions was the right one, in the interests of protecting the safety of the drivers, the marshals and the spectators themselves.,” Alfa Romeo said,
“However, the situation would have been dealt with a lot more appropriately by not having at all the ‘race’ we witnessed.
“This outcome hurts us all, but in particular it hurts the fans of the sport, who didn’t get the show they came to see.
“We hope lessons were learnt, lessons that will improve the way we operate in the future and that put the supporters of our sport in the position they deserve to be.”
The whole fiasco dragged on for three and half hours as the FIA desperately waited for a reprieve from the rain in order to stage one of its marquee races. But visibility did not improve throughout the day.
F1’s rules dictate two racing laps is the minimum for points to be awarded. These were completed behind the safety car at 18.17 local time.
F1 is understood to be in discussions with the promoter of the race to evaluate what can be done for the fans who stood for hours in the rain and did not see a grand prix.
McLaren Racing chief executive officer Zak Brown has called for a change of the rules that govern this type of situation.
The FIA rejected the claim that the final two laps were a cynical move to make the event official.
Race director Michael Masi said officials thought there could be a weather window in which some racing could take place, and the cars were sent out to assess conditions.
F1 chief executive Stefano Domenicali also denied claims commercial factors were involved in sending the cars out for the final time.
A number of drivers, including multiple world champions Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso, said it was wrong to award points when there had been no actual competition.