Bad weather has forced the cancellation of second practice at the Eifel Grand Prix.
Thick fog shrouded the Nurburgring and surrounding areas on Friday afternoon, preventing the medical helicopter from flying between the circuit and the designated hospital approximately 35 miles away. With no suitable medical facility within a 20-minute drive, the sport requires the availability of the air ambulance in the event of a crash occasioning serious injury.
Race control twice delayed the start of the session by 30 minutes until abandoning the day’s running at what would have been the hour-mark of the 90-minute session. First practice earlier in the day was also called off in the enveloping mist.
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“We’ve seen it’s been coming in and out all day,” FIA race director Michael Masi said. “Certainly unique weather conditions in the Eifel region.
“The weather and dampness is fine; it’s actually just that the medical helicopter is not able to fly to the receiving hospital due to fog. To go from here to any of the hospitals should something happen is not possible, and therefore from a safety perspective we will not start the session.”
It is debatable how much running would have been undertaken even without the fog, with heavy rain saturating the track in the lead-up and the early parts of the allotted hour and a half.
Although the forecast is for F1 to continue shivering through a frigid weekend, with ambient temperatures due to max out at 45 degrees F on Saturday and Sunday, rain is predicted to clear from the Nurburg area overnight.
“The forecast looks better but we’re also working on some backup plans should we have a similar situation to be able to try and work around,” Masi said. “We’re working on those as we speak.”
Expectations are for a partly cloudy Saturday, which would allow drivers to maximize the single hour of practice ahead of qualifying. But wet conditions may return Sunday, with a 40 percent chance of rain for the race.