Friday’s second practice session for the United States Grand Prix was cancelled by the FIA due to deteriorating weather conditions in the Austin area.
The Circuit of the Americas was hit by a lightning storm just after lunchtime on Friday, prompting race organisers to delay the start of the session due to concerns over the safety of the trackside marshals who would be exposed to the potentiall dangerous conditions.
When the rain failed to ease, the FIA ruled that the session could not be resumed and elected to abandon it just before 3:00pm local time as the mandated medical helicopter was also unable to get airborne in the conditions.
This might not be the last of poor weather conditions this weekend. The nearby Gulf of Mexico and much of the Mexican peninsula is currently under threat from a hurricane, and the intensity of this weather front has many predicting that Saturday’s scheduled track action could be significant impacted as well.
The FIA has indicated that it will make a decision on Saturday morning as to whether it will change the timetable for FP3 and qualifying, which could include delaying the latter until Sunday morning or bringing forward both sessions to be earlier on Saturday to avoid the worst of the predicted weather.
The last time that qualifying was postponed was during the Australian Grand Prix in 2013, when part of it was moved to Sunday because of a heavy downpour midway through the session.
The 2004 and 2010 Japanese Grands Prix also had qualifying on Sunday morning to avoid the threat of typhoons.
This is the third Grand Prix in a row where Friday’s practice sessions have been significantly compromised by wet weather.
Image via XPB Images