Sochi Autodrom, 2021

F1 cancels final practice at Sochi due to rain

2021 Russian Grand Prix

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Formula 1 has confirmed its final practice session for the Russian Grand Prix will not go ahead due to heavy rain at the Sochi Autodrom.

With rain pouring at the circuit and forecasts indicating it will continue throughout the scheduled hour of practice, race control took the decision not to hold the session.

“Having received a request from the race director and the clerk of the course, in accordance with Article 15.3 a) of the Formula 1 Sporting Regulations, and Articles 11.9.3.m and 11.9.3.o of the FIA International Sporting Code, decide, in the interest of safety, to modify the official programme by cancelling free practice session three due to force majeure.

“For the purposes of the regulations and associated time limits, free practice session three will be
considered as having taken place, except where otherwise advised by the race director.”

The session was due to begin at 12pm local time. The next Formula 1 session due to take place is qualifying at 3pm local time. The weather forecast indicates the rain may ease before then.

The rain has already caused other alterations to today’s schedule. The morning’s Formula 3 race was brought forward and held yesterday, while the opening Formula 2 race was postponed.

A further Formula 3 race is due to take place at 1:40pm local time, and Formula 2’s second race was scheduled to go ahead after F1 qualifying at 4:45pm.

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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...

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27 comments on “F1 cancels final practice at Sochi due to rain”

    1. You clearly didn’t see any of the coverage from today because if you had you wouldn’t see it as pathetic.

      It’s raining exceptionally hard, There is lighting in the area (Meaning camera cranes had to be brought down & fans were advised to leave the grandstands) but because of how flat the circuit is the water simply isn’t draining & parts of it are completely flooded to the point where not even the best monsoon style tires woule be suitable.

      Additionally because of how much water is sitting on the track not only was the safety/medical cars struggling with aquaplaning but the spray they were throwing up while going around on there own was just as bad as Spa & seemed to hang in the air for longer.

      There is zero way anything could run on this track in these conditions & the lightning in the area also makes it a concern for those standing out in the open (I’ve been at tracks where running has been put on hold due to lightning both minor club level events & ligger categories such as Indycar).

    2. Have you seen the footage and pictures coming from the Formula 2 paddock, or the footage of what was happening yesterday?

    3. Yes, it is pathetic how some people feel the need to prove their internet machismo by taking the most absurd, over the top anti-safety stance they can.

  1. it’s like nascar now

    Reply moderated
  2. So just like cricket no play in rain from now in F1.

    Reply moderated
  3. Unsurprising. Just do QLF on Sunday morning to spare everyone from endless waiting.

    1. The forecasts say the rain might ease off this afternoon. I’m happy to wait as a wet qualifying is always lots of fun.

  4. When things get cancelled or delayed due to rain now many fans start going on about how they would have raced in this 20+ years ago & that F1 is too health & safety now or whatever. It’s true that they may well have tried to run in conditions like today or what we saw at Spa 20+ years ago. However was that because drivers of the day were braver or because F1 was just blinder & stupider?

    I can certainly think back to times in the past when a practice/qualifying session or indeed a race was started in conditions that were clearly unsuitable which resulted in nothing but most of the grid flying off the track in incidents where no amount of driver skill could have prevented it.

    Adelaide 1989 & 1991 are the 2 obvious example, Neither should have been started & I don’t think you could really call either a proper test of anything other than luck & survival with even the most gifted wet weather driver of the time (Ayrton Senna) driving into the back of Martin Brundle on the straight because visibility was so bad that he couldn’t see him until he hit him. And you had similar happen to Nelson Piquet who was lucky to get away with it as he drove under the back of another car & took a wheel to the face as he did so. And you had similar in that session at Hockenheim in 1982 which basically ended Didier Pironi’s F1 career & very easily could have ended his life.

    Yes you can argue that modern cars/circuits are safer, But even so is situations like that with cars aquaplaning in a straight line or drivers blindly ploughing into the back of one ahead they simply couldn’t see through the spray really what we want to see?

    1. @stefmeister They certainly wouldn’t have raced in these conditions 15 years ago – Turn 1 looks like it is in the same state as Turn 1 of Nurburgring 2007 when that got red-flagged due to everyone having brought cars to a boat race.

      1. Turn 1 looks like it is in the same state as Turn 1 of Nurburgring 2007

        As does the support race paddock. @alianora-la-canta
        https://twitter.com/FIAFormula3/status/1441693475217428485

        And this will give an idea of just how hard its raining.
        https://twitter.com/Formula2/status/1441676243246649348

        1. The support paddock looks worse than the Nurburgring 15 years ago, not that I would have expected that to factor into the decision for F1 to run or not run ;)

    2. @stefmeister
      Yes, I 100% agree. Looking back at some extreme wet races of the past, I can’t believe how they could start them, given the conditions were nowhere near suitable for safe racing.
      Just look at Spa ’98: The reason Schumi slammed into the back of DC’s McLaren was that he didn’t see a thing in the spray and was driving purely on instinct. Both drivers were lucky they weren’t hurt badly in that crash.

      Another reason for the lack of wet weather races nowadays are cars and tires. These cars create an awful lot of spray which obviously has a big impact on visibility. The wider tires don’t make it any easier. They seem to be even more vulnerable to aquaplaning and also create more spray.

  5. What has happened to the weak Liberty era Motorsport community? previously F1 sessions was only cancelled due to huge disruptions like a Typhoon but now they are too eager to cancel when there is a small amount of rain…

    1. @ccpbioweapon Flooded tracks caused cancellations in the first decade of the 2000s as well as in 2021. This isn’t new.

      1. What’s new tough is that everybody can share nonsense via social media, including this site, nowadays.

    2. I know. Same with all these safety barriers, catch fences and spectator safety area between the barriers and grandstands. In my day you were lucky to get the old bail of hay and a bit of rope separating the cars from the crowd. And everyone knew as long as you kept your feet the right side of the rope you were safe. Bunch of softies nowadays.

    3. @ccpbioweapon I hope you’re being sarcastic. If not, you need to check out the videos linked to above by @stefmeister. This is not “a small amount” of rain.

    4. @ccpbioweapon this is extreme rainfall though – the forecast for today suggests total rainfall today will be in the order of 50-60mm. When the typical total monthly rainfall for Sochi in September is in the order of 130mm, that means we are seeing the equivalent of several weeks of rainfall hitting the track within only a few hours – that is not normal weather conditions.

  6. If they went ahead in these conditions it would be more akin to a sailing race than F1.

  7. I feel sorry for fans who buy tickets and come all the way from far countries. Wet races usually produce mixed results and the best drivers shine to the top with superior good car handling skills.

    Schumacher and Senna were known as wet weather specialist and most current F1 drivers cant seem to be up to that level. In wet its all about car control and that what most F1 fans like to see.

    1. There’s a pandemic. Nobody should be traveling vast distances…

      1. ‘Pandemic’?

        The excess deaths last year wouldn’t agree with that.

      2. Everyone is vaccinated…

  8. According to Sky the medical helicopter is now also unable to take off.

    They had announced about half hour ago that they would try to start F3 sprint race 2 before F1 qualifying but that has now been cancelled as has F2 sprint race 1.

  9. Drivers coming out of motorhomes and getting into the cars

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