Charlie Whiting, Formula 1’s Race Director, has revealed that the delays in practice at the Shanghai International Circuit are being caused by the inability for the medical helicopter to land at the main airport in downtown Shanghai.
The first session was twice red flagged due to conditions at the airport making it impossible for the medical helicopter to land, even though the conditions trackside were much better, but Formula 1 rules mandate the helicopter is available for use whilst sessions are underway.
“At the moment, it can’t land at the hospital, which is about 38km away unfortunately,” revealed Whiting on Friday. “It looks reasonable here I know and there are helicopters flying here but they can’t actually land at the airport, which is downtown Shanghai unfortunately.
“We are getting news from the airport, which is also affected by the low cloud, so we are getting news from the airport every 10 minutes. So we are just keeping up with that.”
Whiting has also revealed that due to sessions having set times, should the second session not get underway, it will be lost.
“[If there is no change] there will be no practice, we have a fixed end to the session, so if it’s not clear by half-past-three there won’t be a P2,” said Whiting.