Formula 1 is preparing for the possibility of no track-running on Saturday at the Styrian Grand Prix with torrential rain forecast.

Current weather forecasts predict heavy rain showers and thunderstorms throughout Saturday in the area the Red Bull Ring is located, which could lead to a potential qualifying wash-out at the second race of the revised 2020 F1 season.

F1 is aiming to conduct final practice and qualifying as planned on Saturday and the first fall back option would be to stage qualifying on Sunday morning if it cannot take place as originally scheduled.

The forecast is set to change dramatically following the hot and sunny weather seen on Friday, while dry and cooler conditions are expected on Sunday.

In the event that conditions have not improved in time to stage qualifying on Sunday morning, then the grid for the Styrian Grand Prix would be decided by the order from the second practice session which takes place this afternoon in Spielberg.

With an added importance potentially being placed on FP2, teams are likely to focus on their qualifying pace and set quick laps.

“The weather doesn’t look great in the mountains - you can have a day like this and then the next day it’s torrential rain, rainshowers,” Mercedes F1 team principal Toto Wolff said.

“So we’re probably up a notch on everything and if FP2 is being considered as qualifying – you never know – we could have a wet session tomorrow and that could be exciting.”

Sergio Perez led the way in opening practice for Racing Point as he edged out Red Bull's Max Verstappen

Outcomes and potential scenarios were discussed in the team managers’ meeting at the Red Bull Ring on Thursday, before F1 race director Michael Masi issued a formal document on Friday morning.

“We have gathered info from the race director already giving a kind of pre-warning that there is a risk no session is happening tomorrow because of thunderstorms or heavy rain,” said McLaren’s Andreas Seidl.

“It is still open if there is qualifying on Sunday morning or if that’s not possible because the weather could be bad then FP2 would count.”

The last time all of Saturday’s action was abandoned came at last year’s Japanese Grand Prix, with the impact of Typhoon Hagibis forcing the cancellation of all on-track running. Qualifying took place on Sunday morning at Suzuka.

 

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