F1 scraps Sochi FP3 – qualifying in jeopardy

As feared, heavy rain has forced Formula 1 to cancel the final practice session for the Russian Grand Prix which was due to start at 12:00 local time.

Amid a disrupted Saturday that had already led to the postponement of this morning’s F2 and F3 races, rain-packed skies and an inundated track doomed the final dress rehearsal before this afternoon’s qualifying at Sochi.

“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,” read a statement from the FIA 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.”

    Read also: F1 prepping for disruption as downpour hits Sochi

While the inclement weather is expected to persist in Sochi, the intensity of the rain is forecasted to diminish in the afternoon.

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Qualifying is scheduled for 15:00 local time, but FIA race director Michael Masi isn’t dismissing holding the grid-defining session on Sunday if the adverse conditions linger.

“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,” said Masi.

Update:

At 13h00 local time, the FIA confirmed that no running will take place until the start of F1 qualifying still scheduled for 15:00, as the weather has temporarily closed down Sochi’s airport and grounded the track’s medical helicopter.

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