The sun shines bright on the Austrian Friday. An air temperature of 26 degrees Celsius and a blue sky were attending the first free practice session of the Styrian GP when the FIA sent a note to all the teams. Weather forecasts expect pouring rain for Saturday afternoon, right when the Formula 1 qualifying is scheduled.
The pre-warning suggests the teams to be ready for a possible shift of the session to Sunday morning if the rain would hit the Red Bull Ring too hard.
Something similar happened last year at the Japanese GP, when a hurricane struck on the Suzuka circuit.
The issue this time is the presence of junior formulas alongside the Circus. The weekend’s schedule is already as tight as possible: Formula 2’s Feature Race should take place after Formula 1’s qualifying on Saturday afternoon, so it would have to be shifted as well. But on Sunday morning Formula 3 and Formula 2 are scheduled to hit the track again for their Sprint Races.
Furthermore, never has any of the three categories tested its current cars in wet conditions, so the rain may add an extra challenge for everyone.
It wouldn’t be easy for the race director to fit in every session but drivers’ safety is the priority for modern days’ Formuls 1. We’ll have to wait and see how the clouds will behave tomorrow.