Race director Masi explains process after F1 practice cancelled

Officials hope to run qualifying this afternoon. Picture: Williams F1 Twitter

Michael Masi has explained how events will unfold after the decision to cancel Free Practice 3 for the Formula 1 Russian Grand Prix.

At 11:43 local time, officials made the call to abandon the final 60-minute practice session in the interests of safety.

Heavy rain has battered the Sochi circuit throughout Saturday morning, forcing the postponement of the first Formula 2 race of the weekend.

“As we can see already this morning, the weather’s gone up and down like a yo-yo, and the intensity of the rain’s started increasing with some thunder already joining us,” explained FIA race director Michael Masi.

“Effectively the procedure for today will be that we will aim to start all sessions, get everything ready from an operational perspective, and then judge the conditions at the time.

“What we’re seeing from a forecast side is that we will have sort of this level of rain until about 1:30/2:00pm local time, and then decreasing in the afternoon.

“[The] priority from today’s perspective is obviously Formula 1 qualifying this afternoon,” he added.

“Formula 1 will take priority.

“We were fortunate enough in restructuring the programme to have the first Formula 3 race yesterday, pre-empting the weather that was going to happen this morning.

“Based on what we saw when we came out to the circuit this morning was absolutely the right decision.”

The Australian added that, while he hopes qualifying will take place this afternoon, the session could be delayed until Sunday morning.

“The determining factor this afternoon will be the light,” Masi said.

“So sunset locally is about 18:15 in the evening, but with weather conditions like this obviously light diminishes far earlier.

“That will ultimately be our cutoff point.

“If qualifying isn’t able to happen today, as we’ve seen a few times before in the past, we will re-do a programme and hold qualifying on Sunday morning.”

Qualifying is scheduled to begin at 15:00 local time (22:00 AEST).

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