Mick Schumacher, Alfa Romeo, Nurburgring, 2020

Schumacher and Ilott have to wait for F1 debuts as first practice is cancelled

2020 Eifel Grand Prix first practice

Posted on

| Written by

Mick Schumacher and Callum Ilott will have to wait to make their Formula 1 race weekend debuts after the first practice session at the Nurburgring was cancelled due to poor weather.

Rain and low-lying cloud at the circuit, which is holding the Eifel Grand Prix this weekend, meant the medical helicopter was unable to take off. As this meant no rapid route to a local hospital was available in the event of an emergency, the opening practice session could not go ahead.

“It is pretty challenging with the fog that’s come in, the medical helicopter is not able to take off and fly to the hospital and the distance by road is far too far should something occur,” said Formula 1 race director Michael Masi.

“With the region we’re in, it’s probably not dissimilar to Austria earlier in the year where we had a similar situation. It’s just the nature of the area and the location and the fog’s come and and been going up slightly but coming back down dramatically so obviously we’ll just judge at the time.

“Obviously from an FIA perspective, the safety of all participants, particularly the drivers going out, is paramount and that’s not something that we would compromise.”

Race control initially advised teams the session would begin as scheduled at 11am, but the pit lane exit would not be opened. Further updates were promised at half-hour intervals, but each time the organisers confirmed the conditions had not improved enough for the session to begin.

The weather deteriorated throughout the 90 minutes scheduled for the practice session. The decision to cancel it was taken half an hour before it would have ended.

Ferrari Driver Academy members Schumacher and Ilott had been due to drive for Alfa Romeo and Haas respectively, making their first appearances in an official race weekend.

The Japanese Grand Prix was originally scheduled to take place this weekend, but was cancelled along with many other races due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The Eifel Grand Prix was added to the calendar in its place.

F1 is racing at the Nurburgring for the 41st time in its history, but this is the latest in the year a race has ever been held at the track.

This article will be updated.

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

2020 Eifel Grand Prix

Browse all 2020 Eifel Grand Prix articles

Author information

Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a motorsport and automotive journalist with a particular interest in hybrid systems, electrification, batteries and new fuel technologies....

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

14 comments on “Schumacher and Ilott have to wait for F1 debuts as first practice is cancelled”

  1. Yes, this might be the worst day weather-wise, but in case should such a scenario happen that even the race can’t take place due to conditions being unideal for the medical helicopter to fly, there’d be a reason to question this track choice in the first place. I’m positive a Spanish circuit would’ve been chosen instead had one been available at the time. Maybe a better alternative to the choice of Nurburgring would’ve been the opposite, i.e., not go there at all, and go for 16 races with the remaining six each 14 days earlier instead.

    1. Maybe you can say this if the whole race weekend is called off, but just FP1 I don’t think you can question them going there tbh. They’ve done a very good job just getting any kind of calendar together at all tbh.

      1. “but in case should such a scenario happen that even the race can’t take place due to conditions being unideal for the medical helicopter to fly”

  2. Probably the most anticipated FP1 in quite few years. What a damp squib.

    1. Very damp indeed…

  3. José Lopes da Silva
    9th October 2020, 11:25

    Not the first time practice sessions are cancelled in Eiffel due to fog. Just wait.

  4. Why didn’t they switch races around when drafting the new calendar? We could have Monza or the Spanish GP now and the German GP earlier.

    1. @paeschli Some preferred to keep their original dates, and the first priority was to find a place for potential postponed events such as the Spanish GP.

  5. A shame for the two rookies but hopefully they will get their chance later in the year.

    I think the more interesting question is how this affects the teams’ race preparations (especially if second and/or third practice are similarly affected). The last race here was seven years ago, before the turbo/hybrid era, so there are a lot of unknowns for everybody. Will it help to shake up the order at all?

    1. @red-andy To some extent perhaps.

      1. Tommy Scragend
        9th October 2020, 12:57

        With a bit of luck.

  6. @red-andy Hope so!
    This could even be a perfect warm up for Imola, especially if FP2 doesn’t happen either.

  7. Looking at some of the webcams available in the area, There is significant low cloud cover and possibly still fog in the area. I wouldn’t be surprised if FP2 is severely delayed or even cancelled again.

  8. Portugal possible?

Comments are closed.