First practice for the Eifel Grand Prix was called off after heavy fog at the Nurburgring grounded the medical helicopter.
No Formula 1 session can run without rapid access to hospital care on safety grounds. The designated facility in Koblenz, some 35 miles from the circuit, was rendered unreachable by air in the low-lying cloud, forcing race control to cancel the session.
“It is a bit challenging,” FIA race director Michael Masi told F1 TV. “With the fog that has come in, the medical helicopter is not able to take off and fly to the hospital. The distance by road is far too far should something occur.
“It’s just the nature of the area and the location. The fog’s come in and it has sort of been going up slightly but then coming down more dramatically.
“Obviously from an FIA perspective the safety of all the participants, particularly the drivers going out, is paramount, and that’s not something that we would compromise.”
The cancellation of the session was particularly bad news for Formula 2 leaders Mick Schumacher and Callum Ilot, who were due to partake in the session with Alfa Romeo and Haas respectively.
Conditions in the Eifel mountains notoriously variable in the fall, and this weekend’s grand prix is forecast to be beset by poor weather
Rain lashed the Nurburgring on Friday morning, with the ambient temperature sitting stubbornly 50 degrees F when FP1 was due to start at 11 a.m. local time. A maximum of just 45 degrees F is expected for Saturday and Sunday.
Conditions are expected to improve in time for second practice later in the afternoon, though it’s unclear whether the fog will subside enough to get the session underway.