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.
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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