Second practice for the Chinese Grand Prix was cancelled after poor visibility prevented the medical helicopter operating. Low cloud, rain and smog in Shanghai meant the helicopter was unable to land at the designated hospital.
Unlike in FP1, the session was never started with race director Charlie Whiting saying “The helicopter can’t land at the hospital, which is about 38 kilometres away unfortunately.”
“It looks reasonable here [at the circuit], I know, and there are helicopters flying here, but they can’t actually land in downtown Shanghai.”
FIA regulations say that the hospital can only be 20 minutes away, meaning the road option was unfeasible as it’s above the FIA’s maximum time.
F1 officials were receiving updates on the conditions from the local airport every 10 minutes while the 90-minute clock ticked down with no cars able to go out on track.
But the visibility failed to clear, meaning the limited running in FP1 represented the only mileage teams were able to complete on the first day of the weekend.
The last time the session was cancelled was in Austin in 2015, when the Hurricane Patricia caused widespread disruption to the United States Grand Prix.
F1’s governing body may opt to hold qualifying and the grand prix on Saturday instead. But the option of Monday is unviable as first practice for the Bahrain Grand Prix is on Friday.