F1 China: Second Practice Cancelled as Helicopter Grounded

Credit: Clive Mason/Getty Images

The second practice of the Chinese Grand Prix was called off due to persistent poor visibility that meant the helicopter was unable to land at the designated hospital should a medical emergency occur.

Low cloud, smog and rain also affected first practice but completely grounded the emergency helicopter for the second session. As stipulated in the safety regulations, cars are not permitted to run when the helicopter is unable to fly. The rules also state that if the time allotted for the testing session passes then it cannot be rescheduled.

Max Verstappen was fastest during the first practice, which consisted of no more than ten minutes running on a damp track.

Saturday’s forecast is looking better, with dry conditions and 20°c expected. But Sunday, race day, could potentially be plagued by downpours and cooler temperatures. With this only being the second race of the season, and with the lack of practice available beforehand, drivers could be experiencing the Pirelli compounds in proper wet conditions for the first time during the race.

The threat of rain on Sunday had prompted teams to call upon the FIA to bring the race forward by 24 hours and instead stage the event on Saturday. But their requests were refused, stating the weekend will continue as planned.

Instead, the paddock will have to take advantage of the final practice session on Saturday morning in the hope that the time allotted is enough to gather sufficient set-up data.