Maybe It’s Time For F1 To Stop Racing in the Rain

Former Formula 1 racer and 10-time winner Gerhard Berger says that maybe it’s time for F1 to decide whether or not it wants to be racing in the rain.

That discussion is heating up after FIA race director Michael Masi and F1 decided that two laps behind the safety car was good enough to be considered an official race this past weekend at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium. There, Max Verstappen was awarded the victory without having to run a green-flag lap.

“When you see the podium photos with their trophies in the newspaper, that is actually not right,” the former Ferrari and McLaren driver, and current DTM series boss, told European Servus TV. “The situation was difficult, I understand that, but I think they have to decide whether we drive in the rain or not.

“The Americans once said in NASCAR sport that they simply don’t drive in the rain.”

From his perspective, Berger sees nothing wrong with Formula 1 continuing to charge ahead with wet races.

“You know where it is dangerous and where there is aquaplaning,” said the 62-year-old Berger, who last drove in F1 in 1997. “In my entire career there has only been one race that was really critical. But we said ‘okay, it’s difficult, but let’s go!'”

As for Sunday’s non-stop rain at Spa-Francorchamps, Berger admits it was “dangerous” but “I think it was possible to drive.”

“We also have good run-off areas,” the Berger said. “If the water drains away to some extent, it is possible. You just have to take your foot off the gas.”

Berger sides with those who think Sunday was essentially a failure of leadership in F1.

“In our time the leadership was very strong,” Berger said. “Bernie Ecclestone decided and he was very, very clear. I remember when he started that race in Adelaide (in 1991).”

However, that doesn’t mean Berger is critical of F1 race director Masi.

“He does a good job,” Berger said. “In these cases, it is also about much bigger issues with insurance and much more. But fans sitting in the rain for ten hours and getting nothing to see—that can’t be.

“It’s always easier to talk the next day, but sorry—my opinion is that if there are wet races in Formula 1, then there are wet races in Formula 1.”

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