(GMM) Bernie Ecclestone has blasted Formula 1’s handling of the farcical two-lap Belgian GP.
The former F1 supremo, who has been a regular critic of Liberty Media since he was ousted as the sport’s CEO, called Sunday at Spa a “disaster”.
“You have no influence on the weather, but you do have influence over how you deal with it,” Ecclestone, 90, told f1-insider.com.
“You could tell that nobody wanted to take responsibility and make decisions. In the end they did everything wrong together.”
Ecclestone even sides with Lewis Hamilton, who he often criticizes, for pointing out that the two laps behind the safety car was essentially a cynical move motivated by money.
“How can you do the two laps behind the safety car like that and then act like Stefano (Domenicali) and say ‘There was no commercial reason for this!’
“That’s not true,” Ecclestone charged. “There are contracts.
“By starting the race and completing the minimum laps for a result, their contract is fulfilled. The organizer is therefore obliged to pay the rights holder.”
When asked what he would have done differently, Ecclestone said he would have left the field circulating behind the safety car for “a lot more laps”.
“On the one hand, to really hope that the weather will improve, but also so they don’t look like they do now.
“Because it couldn’t be more revealing than stopping after exactly two laps. Now everyone knows that it was only for commercial reasons,” he added.
Recalling the teeming rain in Fuji, 1976, Ecclestone said: “It was our first ever global television broadcast. I wanted to start, so I said to everyone, ‘I’m not forcing you to drive’.
“‘If you don’t want to drive, don’t. But the race will start’. Niki Lauda pitted after the first lap and I thought that was fine.”
Ecclestone is now calling on Liberty Media to give up the financial proceeds of those two safety car laps to the sodden Spa spectators.
“With the money the rights holders made from those two silly laps, they should compensate the fans who stayed in the rain for ten hours. There would still be enough profit left for them,” he said.