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Formula 1

F1 teams warned Styrian GP qualifying could be rained out

by Scott Mitchell-Malm
2 min read

McLaren says the 10 Formula 1 teams have been warned qualifying for the Styrian Grand Prix may not happen on Saturday because thunderstorms are predicted to strike the area.

The second part of Red Bull’s double-header is likely to be disrupted by bad weather on Saturday.

McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl has revealed that race director Michael Masi has issued a “pre-warning” regarding the forecast, raising the possibility that the third free practice session and qualifying would be rained out.

Should that happen, F1 would look to slot in a qualifying session on Sunday morning before the race – something it had successfully done last year at Suzuka, when the Japanese Grand Prix was affected by Typhoon Hagibis.

However, should inclement weather then continue to Sunday and make holding both a qualifying session and the race untenable, F1 would then form the grid on the basis of the most recent session, which in this case would be Friday’s second practice.

That was also the back-up plan in Japan last year.

Asked about the impact of a second week at the same track on McLaren’s plan for Friday, Seidl said: “The weather obviously plays an important role and we got information from the race director already giving kind of a pre-warning that there is a risk that no session for example is happening tomorrow because of thunderstorms or heavy rain.

“And then it’s 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 will count as a qualifying result.

“So that’s something we need to monitor today and to figure out how we want to handle that.”

Teams conduct qualifying simulations in FP2 already, but may be inclined to use higher engine modes just in case the results do set the grid.

If the results from FP2 had set the grid for the season-opening grand prix, Lewis Hamilton would have started from pole instead of Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas.

Sergio Perez would have lined up third for Racing Point and Sebastian Vettel fourth for Ferrari, instead of 11th.

Max Verstappen would have only started ninth.

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