The FIA is prepared to cancel tomorrow’s sprint race sessions at Spa-Francorchamps in order to ensure it can hold a qualifying session for the Belgian Grand Prix.
Saturday’s action at Spa is supposed to be exclusively focused on the sprint race. Its qualifying session is scheduled for 11am and the sprint race at 3:30pm.
F1’s rules allow for practice sessions to be used to set the starting grid for a grand prix in the event qualifying cannot take place. However the FIA advised teams before running began today that would not happen at Spa, in order to ensure they did not treat the sole hour of practice as a competitive session.
Instead the FIA is prepared to cancel either or both of tomorrow’s sprint race sessions in order to maximise the chance of qualifying for the grand prix to go ahead. As a last resort, the championship standings could be used to set a grid if no further running is possible between first practice and Sunday’s race.
“Teams have been informed that free practice will not be used to set the grid for either the sprint [race] or the grand prix this weekend,” an FIA spokesperson told RaceFans. “This has been done to ensure that teams do not treat the first session of the weekend as a competitive session.
“While the situation regarding the weather is constantly evolving, the priority will be to run a qualifying session for the grand prix. Other sessions may be cancelled or rescheduled to facilitate this, and if it is impossible to run a qualifying then the grid will be set by championship order.”
The official FIA weather forecast currently indicates an 80% chance of rain during grand prix qualifying today. For tomorrow’s track action the risk of rain during the sprint race qualifying session is 40%, which rises to 60% for the sprint race.
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