Qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix has been delayed indefinitely, as conditions have been deemed too dangerous to continue following a crash for Romain Grosjean in the opening minutes of the opening qualifying session.
The weather had gradually improved between Free Practice 3 – which had been shortened dramatically by a rain delay – and the minutes before qualifying began. However, a fresh downpour began just as the green flag waved for Q1, which created further surface water on the track.
Haas driver Grosjean was caught out by the particularly slippery condition of the recently resurfaced pit straight, aquaplaning off at close to 300 kilometres per hour on the approach to the first chicane.
His accident caused an immediate red flag less than five minutes into the session, after which race direction elected not to resume qualifying until the standing water cleared from the straight on which Grosjean had crashed.
“The weather is swirling around and we can’t get a good idea of what might happen,” said FIA race director Charlie Whiting. “The safety car driver still feels there might be aquaplaning on the straight – and we don’t want that.”
Safety car Bernd Maylander has been circulating the track every fifteen minutes since the suspension of qualifying to assess the situation, but as yet no approximate time has been announced for the resumption of the session.