Safety Car, Red Bull Ring, 2020

F1 considering 10am Sunday slot for Styrian GP qualifying

2020 Styrian Grand Prix

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Formula 1 is considering postponing the qualifying session for the Styrian Grand Prix to 9am on Sunday morning due to heavy rain at the Red Bull Ring.

Deteriorating conditions at the track forced the cancellation of final practice this morning. F1 race director Michael Masi explained that in addition to the high volume of water on the circuit, the cloud cover at the track means the medical helicopter cannot be used at present.

“At the moment our primary receiving hospital is an hour and a half away by road in Graz,” Masi told Sky. “And the medical helicopter, because of the cloud that’s coming in, can’t fly at the moment.

“So with the medical helicopter being unable to take off, that’s another factor in the equation, and we wouldn’t start any session without that possibility at this venue – obviously it’s different case by case.”

Formula 1’s sporting regulations state qualifying must take place “on the day before the race and will start no less than two hours after the end of [practice three].” However the International Sporting Code gives the stewards the power to “modify the official programme if requested to do so by the clerk of the course or the organiser in the interest of safety.”

Masi said F1 is already planning to reorganise tomorrow’s timetable so qualifying can take place then, a changed the steward would have to approve.

“It will be an earlier start for all of us and a busy day,” he said. “If we can’t run at all [today], and we’ve got a draft timetable already for tomorrow that we’re working on, but we will qualifying tomorrow morning.

“So not a dissimilar situation to Japan last year. We’ll just issues a revised set of procedures of what the teams can and can’t do tonight and start all again tomorrow morning and go into qualifying and a much shorter period between then and the race.”

The 2pm race start time would remain unchanged, Masi added. “Hypothetically as we’re looking at the moment we would probably aim for a 10am local time qualifying tomorrow, and then the race would commence as scheduled.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...
Dieter Rencken
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  • 16 comments on “F1 considering 10am Sunday slot for Styrian GP qualifying”

    1. Sunset in Austria isn’t until 8 pm. If the helicopter can fly at any point between now and 6 pm, they should start qualifying instead.

      1. @klon Almost 9 pm in Spielberg to be precise. 20:55 for today. Looks unlikely it’d be clear enough for the medical helicopter by 6 pm, though.

        1. Well, I played it a bit safe since you don’t want to get too tight with sunset. We’ll see, especially since the rain is supposed to lessen in intesity at around 3 PM. Unless it outright stops, I doubt the FIA will have the desire to start qualifying today.

    2. You mean 3 pm or 15:10 for the race, which would remain unchanged.

    3. The weather forecast is for less than 1 mm an hour, why would Q be delayed?

      1. @peartree Because of the medical helicopter being unable to take off and fly.

        1. @jerejj 1mm of rain stops an helicopter?

          1. Cloud cover is the issue. Remember Shanghai last year (or was it the year before?) when the race was delayed by smog cover?

            1. During FP3 until about 13.00u the helicopter flew over the track making a track flight. Almost perfect view and the mountains fine and visible.
              Its a <15 mimute flight to the nearest hospital, so no problems .
              But he.. i am not responsible, so easy to judge.

            2. @thecollaroyboys Not a race. It was a practice session in 2017.

            3. Thanks @jerjj for the reminder. I shocked to realise that it was so long ago and I forgot that it was a practice session. At my age I’m happy that I’ve remembered it at all.

    4. So if its as easy as this to reschedule Sunday to fit F1 qualifying, why oh why have we had to endure this constant wittering about P2 possibly setting the grid?
      Do we have nothing worthwhile to talk about?

      1. Spot on! +1

    5. Absolutely stupid. An hour and a half of dry weather, and they keep the same time for qualifying. And now its bucketing down.

      1. What do I know? :)

    Comments are closed.