F1 urged to create "contingency plan" after practice cancellation

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F1 urged to create
By: Ben Anderson
Apr 7, 2017, 12:36 PM

McLaren boss Zak Brown says the cancellation of Friday practice for the Chinese Grand Prix made him feel "terrible" for Formula 1 fans, and reckons a contingency plan is needed.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG, takes to the track to entertain the fans and picks up a Union Flag
Fans in the pit straight grandstand wait during a weather delay in FP2
Fernando Alonso, McLaren MCL32
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG, takes to the track to entertain the fans and picks up a Union Flag
Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG F1 W08
Fernando Alonso, McLaren, waves to fans in a grandstand
Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing RB13
Romain Grosjean, Haas F1 Team VF-17

Bad weather caused the first session to be repeatedly delayed and ultimately scrapped after drivers completed a handful of laps, before continued problems with visibility for the circuit's medical helicopter caused the second session to be cancelled before any F1 cars turned wheels

F1 fans were left to watch more than 90 minutes of no track action, with Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton wandering out to the front of the main grandstand during FP2,to greet spectators and hand out signed caps while nothing was happening on the circuit.

Brown said F1 should do more to look after its fans in such a situation, and look at ways to make sure cars can still run in the event of bad weather affecting the medical helicopter.

When asked how he felt about the lack of running in China so far, Brown replied: "Not good at all - terrible.

"We need a plan of when this happens – a contingency. Should we be opening up the paddock and letting the fans in?

"At the end of the day, everyone is expecting a show. At the same time, is there a different way to get the rescue situation sorted?

"It's our collective responsibility to take care of the fans. If this happens again - because it will - what can we do to entertain the fans more?

"That's the best we can do. We can't change the weather."

Hamilton feels F1's new owners Liberty Media should take what happened in China on Friday as inspiration to spice up F1's staid format.

"On these days there's a lot of waiting around, not a lot of running - we do 22 to 28 laps in FP1 and the same in FP2," Hamilton said.

"It's not a lot and it should be more fun, more challenging. They can spice up the weekend somehow. I see this as an opportunity for the new bosses to get quite creative.

"Definitely we need to find some sort of solution so we don't have to be stuck in this situation."

Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo said the situation was frustrating for the drivers, but fully accepted the FIA's decision on safety grounds.

"It hurts, it's frustrating because we came here to drive," Ricciardo said. "But at the same time people have to understand that if we did go out and something happened, you don't want to be in that position.

"Obviously the track conditions are fine, but just to do practice it's not worth [the] potential risk of someone's life.

"So I completely respect what they've done, but it doesn't change the frustration of not being able to drive."

F1 teams briefly discussed the idea of running Sunday's planned Shanghai race on Saturday to avoid the risk of a repeat, but there will ultimately be no change to the original timetable

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About this article

Series Formula 1
Event Chinese GP
Location Shanghai International Circuit
Author Ben Anderson
Article type Breaking news