The third practice for the Russian Grand Prix was cancelled because of heavy rain overnight in Sochi. Heavy rain overnight and throughout the morning saw the Sochi Autodrom resemble a river and in the moments before the session was due to start the session was cancelled.
In a bulletin issued by the FIA in the lead-up to the planned start of final practice at the Sochi Autodrom, it was confirmed that a request had been received to call off the session.
“Having received a request from the Race Director and the Clerk of the Course, in accordance with Article 15.3 a) of the Formula One Sporting Regulations, and Articles 11.9.3.m and 11.9.3.o of the FIA International Sporting Code, decide, in the interest of safety, to modify the Official Programme by cancelling Free Practice Session 3 due to Force Majeure,” the bulletin reads.
“For the purposes of the regulations and associated time limits, Free Practice Session 3 will be considered as having taken place, except where otherwise advised by the Race Director.”
It means that drivers will next get out on track at 15:00 local (13:00 UKT), when qualifying is due to take place. Race director Michael Masi says there should be a weather window to get qualifying underway at some point this afternoon, with a break in a weather forecast.
The threat of rain looks to be decreasing from 13:30 (10:30) throughout the afternoon, then the question will be how quickly the circuit dries up.
Unlike practice, qualifying can be continually delayed under the sporting regulations, but Masi said that another factor in whether or not a session can be completed today would be light levels.
Masi explained, “Sunset locally is about 1815 in the evening, but with weather conditions like this, obviously light diminishes far earlier. That will ultimately be our cut off point. If qualifying is able to happen today, as we have seen a few times before in the past, then we will hold qualifying on Sunday morning.”