Low cloud forced the cancellation of both Friday practice sessions at the Eifel Grand Prix.The medical helicopter was unable to fly at the Nurburgring as a result of the conditions, which meant the cars could not run on safety grounds.
F1 rules dictate that the road journey to a suitable hospital must be no longer than 20 minutes, and the nearest medical facilities are 54km away.The teams will now have one practice session on Saturday before qualifying.
The lack of running meant that Ferrari young drivers Mick Schumacher and Callum Ilott were unable to have their scheduled outings in the Alfa Romeo and Haas cars in the first session.
Mercedes will not supply Red Bull with enginesFerrari team boss Mattia Binotto said that the pair may get another chance later in the season.The pair are potential candidates for a seat in F1 next season with both Haas and Alfa Romeo yet to decide on their driver line-ups.
World champion Lewis Hamilton enters the weekend with a 44-point lead over team-mate Valtteri Bottas and has the chance to equal Michael Schumacher’s all-time record of 91 Grand Prix victories on Sunday.The world champion’s Mercedes team have had two personnel test positive for coronavirus at the Grand Prix, with a further four isolating as close contacts.
Team boss Toto Wolff said: “It is not a good situation but I guess it is something that will follow us for quite a while.”I think we have it under control from having back-up back in (the factory in) Brackley and in that respect we should be in control of the situation.”
Formula 1 race director Michael Masi says “back-up plans” are being formulated in order to ensure that the cars can run at the Nurburgring on Saturday.
On a damp and foggy day Friday’s action at the Eifel Grand Prix was lost because the medical helicopter could not leave the track and land safely at the designated hospitals in the Koblenz area.
FP1 did not start on time, and bulletins were issued at 30-minute intervals until it was announced that the session would not start. The same pattern was repeated in FP2, and the day ended with no cars taking to the track.
At some venues cars can run without medical helicopter cover if what are known as “receiving” hospitals can be reached by road within a 20 minute window, but that is not the case at the Nurburgring, so today the FIA had no option but to cancel track running.
Better weather conditions are expected tomorrow, but the FIA is hoping to ensure that poor visibility won’t wipe out the day’s action.
“We’re hoping that the fog will lift,” said Masi. “We’ve seen it coming in and out all day, so we’ve been operating on the 30-minute interval with updates, working with local air traffic control, with the helicopter pilot, for the medical helicopter.
“The weather and dampness is fine. It’s just the medical helicopter is not able to fly to the receiving hospitals due to fog, so even though we have the broadcast helicopter that’s flying only around the circuit, to go from here to any of the hospitals, should something happen, it’s not possible.
“And therefore from a safety perspective, we would not start the session.”