Formula 1 has three contingency plans to determine the grid for the Styrian Grand Prix if Saturday’s running is curtailed by wet weather.

Heavy rain and thunderstorms are forecast across Saturday, leading teams and F1 to plan in the event of final practice and qualifying being washed out.

The first Formula 3 race of the weekend at the Red Bull Ring was heavily-affected by wet weather and was red-flagged due to a number of incidents amid the worsening conditions.

F1 race director Michael Masi the championship’s first port of call would be to postpone qualifying to Sunday morning if it cannot run on Saturday due to the weather conditions.

“Earlier in the day it looked like Sunday morning was not going to be great either,” Masi said after Friday practice concluded. “That looks to have cleared up. But tomorrow [Saturday] is not looking great at all.

“If a worst case scenario was to come about, we’ve already had a look, and qualifying could take place on Sunday morning. So that’s a great option there.”

The weather is forecast to improve by Sunday, but if track conditions were still too wet to stage qualifying, then the grid could be formed from the second practice session that took place on Friday afternoon.

“If we had a complete wash-out on Saturday, so free practice three didn’t take place and qualifying, didn’t take place, and hypothetically qualifying couldn’t happen on Sunday morning because of weather, we would revert back to the free practice two times from today,” Masi explained.

If results from practice two did end up setting the grid, then Red Bull’s Max Verstappen would start from pole position with championship leader Valtteri Bottas alongside.

His Mercedes teammate and reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton would be restricted to sixth place on the grid following his struggles in FP2.

F1 has one final option on the table, where times could be taken from final practice to form the grid in the event that FP3 was able to go ahead as planned on Saturday morning.

“Or there’s the third iteration, which is that free practice three can happen tomorrow morning, but we can’t have qualifying in the afternoon or qualifying Sunday morning, and the grid would be highly likely to be set on the free practice three times.”

 

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