Spa to open talks with FOM about fan refunds

Henry Valantine
Max Verstappen at the Belgian Grand Prix. Spa August 2021

Max Verstappen sends up a big rooster tail during a wet Belgian Grand Prix weekend. Spa August 2021

Organisers of the Belgian Grand Prix have confirmed they will be speaking to FOM [Formula One Management] about ways of compensating disappointed fans at Spa.

Lewis Hamilton spoke after the race about how he feels fans should be refunded after a bizarre turn of events in Belgium, that left them without meaningful action to watch.

The race was delayed by over three hours after a couple of initial formation laps, but there were two more laps completed behind the Safety Car, which meant under FIA rules that a classification for the race could be calculated.

The vast majority of fans in the grandstands and around the circuit stayed throughout the afternoon as the rain continued to pour at the circuit, and they only saw the Medical Car taking laps of the track to assess conditions before the two-lap procession which preceded the end of the race.

As a result, the race-going crowd saw officially the shortest ‘race’ in Formula 1 history. While the consensus is the sport made the right decision to not race in the rain, the organisers at Spa will still chase some form of compensation for those in attendance.

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“It’s difficult to talk at these times,” said general manager Vanessa Maes in the immediate aftermath of the race being called off, speaking to

“But I want to address our spectators. The organisation of the Spa GP expresses its deepest disappointment for the outcome of the Grand Prix, which represented the conclusion for which my team had worked a whole year, overcoming all the obstacles.

“Unfortunately the weather is an element that you cannot control. I have always said that the health of our public is fundamental. So is the health of the drivers.

“Safety must come first, so I respect the decision of the race director. Obviously I share the enormous disappointment of our spectators, who behaved in an exemplary manner.

“I will reflect and discuss in the days to come with FOM on how we could offer compensation to our spectators after this force majeure event.”

Hamilton also felt the motivation behind the FIA’s decision to complete the minimum laps required came because of financial and commercial obligations, something which F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali strenuously denied after the race.

If a refund is not possible, the seven-time World Champion also floated the idea of holding a free event at the circuit for the fans to be able to compensated for the action they missed on Sunday.

“I’d absolutely come back,” said the Mercedes driver. “I love it here so if there is a way we could find a window where it wasn’t raining and we give the fans a free race, that would be great.”