The Belgian Grand Prix has been delayed due to heavy rain after a deluge at the Circuit Spa Francorchamps made it impossible to start the race safely.
The race was due to get underway at 3 p.m. local time but heavy rain resulted in the start initially being suspended by 25 minutes.
At 3:25 p.m. the cars completed two formation laps behind the Safety Car, but with the rain intensifying and a number of complaints from the drivers about visibility, the cars were ordered to return to the pits and the start procedure was aborted.
McLaren driver Lando Norris, who crashed heavily at the Eau Rouge corner during wet qualifying on Saturday, reported on team radio that the spray from cars in front was so bad he couldn’t even see his rivals ahead of him.
“It’s pretty awful, I can barely see the car in front at the minute,” Norris said.
Alfa Romeo driver Antonio Giovinazzi added: “Conditions are undriveable”.
Once the start procedure was abandoned by race control, McLaren driver Daniel Ricciardo said: “This is the right call.”
Max Verstappen, who was due to start the race from pole position, was the lone voice wanting the race to get underway.
“For me it’s wet but, fine to race,” he said.
Although the race did not officially start, the three-hour window in which the race must be held under the regulations started at 3 p.m.. Initially that seemed to set a 6 p.m. deadline for the race to get underway, but the stewards of the event overruled the regulation at 5 p.m. in the hope that a break in the weather would come later in the evening.
“In accordance with the powers vested in them under the FIA International Sporting Code, the Stewards have decided, in accordance with their authority under Article 11.9.3.o, to stop temporarily the 2021 Belgium Grand Prix at 17:00 hours,” an FIA statement said. “This decision is taken on the grounds of Force Majeure.”
In order for points to be awarded, the regulations state that two laps of the race must have taken place, although only half points will be awarded unless more than 75 percent of the race is completed.
Conditions were so bad ahead of the original race start time that Red Bull driver Sergio Perez crashed on his way to the grid. Red Bull was able to recover his car back to the pits and, although he missed the two formation laps, he was given the green light to start the race if the conditions permitted.