F1 preparing for possible qualifying wash-out
Formula 1 is making preparations for a potential qualifying wash-out at the Austrian Grand Prix, with teams told the grid could be set by second free practice times.
Current weather forecasts predict extensive rain showers on Saturday, which could be enough for either free practice or qualifying to be abandoned.
Potential scenarios of what to do if that plays out were discussed in the team managers' meeting at the Red Bull Ring on Thursday evening, and a formal document sent out by F1 race director Michael Masi on Friday morning.
He said that F1 will try to push on with qualifying if possible on Saturday, but if it cannot happen then the first option will be to run it on Sunday morning.
However, if Sunday morning's conditions have not improved, then the grid will be decided by the order from this afternoon's second practice session.
That scenario means teams may be especially eager to focus more on quick laps this afternoon than they would normally do, just in case the weather disruption hits.
Asked by Motorsport.com on Friday morning about the situation, McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl said the risk of qualifying not taking place on Saturday was very real – so strategies for today's running needed to be sorted.
"We gathered information from the race director already, giving a kind of pre-warning that there is a risk that no session is happening tomorrow because of thunderstorms or heavy rain," he explained.
"And it is still open, if that would happen, if there's a qualifying on Sunday morning or worst case, if that's not possible because the weather could still be bad, then FP2 would count as a qualifying result.
"That's something we need to monitor today and we need to figure out how we want to handle that."
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