Belgian GP promoter offers 'no compensation' to fans who attended 2021 washout

F1

The Belgian GP promoter has said fans will not be refunded for this year's washout race, which was called off after three laps

Safety car goes through Eau Rouge at the 2021 Belgian Grand Prix

Three 'racing' laps behind the safety car meant that the Belgian Grand Prix result was classified – but no compensation will be given

DPPI

Spectators who attended this year’s washed-out Belgian Grand Prix, will not receive compensation from the promoter, despite the race running for just three laps behind the safety car.

Instead, the crowd of 75,000 who waited for more than three hours in the cold and pouring Spa rain have been offered a place in a prize draw for one of 170 tickets to next year’s race.

One of the fans who attended the grand prix, and had asked the promoter, Spa Grand Prix about compensation, posted a reply from earlier this week.

In addition to the prize draw, they were offered an “F1 TV pass”, which sells for between €2.99 and €64.99 in Belgium, depending on the type, as well as the chance to attend a non-defined “exclusive event” on the Thursday before this year’s race. The cheapest 2022 Belgian GP ticket currently available is €175 (£150).

There was widespread outrage when this year’s race was called off with half points awarded and a podium ceremony conducted. There is no clause for refunds when races are shortened.

Drivers suggested that fans should be refunded and F1’s CEO, Stefano Domenicali, said that he would work with the promoter to see what could be done for fans. He denied suggestions that F1 only received its fee from Spa because the race was classified.

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Twitter user The Pocisk posted that they had contacted Spa 16 weeks ago and received a reply on December 20, pasting a copy of the email, “We were disappointed for all fans that the race could not go to the full distance, but the safety of the drivers, marshals and spectators was, and must always be, the priority,” the email reads. “The weather conditions did not improve to complete more laps.

“Spa Grand Prix, promoter of the event, have worked to define different options and to express our gratitude to the Sunday ticket holders who attended the race for your dedication and commitment.”

The small print at the bottom of the email reads: “This offer is made on a commercial basis does not imply any recognition of any liability of any kind. No other form of compensation will be granted.”

When Motor Sport contacted the race promoter Spa Grand Prix for comment, it was told the relevant staff members were “busy in a meeting”.

In the immediate aftermath of this year’s race, Lewis Hamilton called for full compensation for those attending the Belgian event.

“I think just really disappointed for the fans,” he said after the event. “They stood out there for absolute hours in the rain, no covering in the grandstands – I think maybe on the pit grandstand there is – but cold and wet and particularly the kids. More importantly, they had to spend so much money with travelling, accommodation and then they didn’t get a race.

“I think they probably should get their money back.”

It comes less than two weeks after F1 has been criticised for its handling of the end of the 2021 Abu Dhabi GP, the acrimonious last-lap shootout meaning the 2021 crown went to Max Verstappen after Hamilton had dominated the race and looked set for the title.