Heavy rain at the Sochi Autodrom on Saturday has led to the cancellation of Free Practice 3 for the Russian Grand Prix — with doubts remaining over the possibility of holding qualifying on later on Saturday.
“Free Practice 3 had been due to start at 1200 local time. But with heavy rain, along with thunder and lightning, having hit Sochi on Saturday morning, the decision was made to cancel the third practice session,” a statement on formula1.com said.
“In the interest of safety [the decision has been taken] to modify the Official Programme by cancelling Free Practice Session 3 due to Force Majeure,” ran the decision from the race stewards.
“For the purposes of the regulations and associated time limits, Free Practice Session 3 will be considered as having taken place, except where otherwise advised by the Race Director.”
The Russian Grand Prix weekend has already been subject to alterations, with the first Formula 3 race moved to Friday evening — where Norway’s Dennis Hauger was crowned champion — before bad weather led to an indefinite delay of Saturday morning’s F2 race.
F1 qualifying is currently set to take place 1500 local time (5:30 IST) — but FIA Race Director Michael Masi touted the possibility of moving the session to Sunday morning if the weather persists, telling the media at the start of Saturday, “If qualifying isn’t able to happen today, as we’ve seen a few times before in the past, then we will re-do a programme and hold qualifying on Sunday morning.”