F1 prepping for disruption as downpour hits Sochi

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Formula 1 is bracing for a disrupted day in Sochi following the onset of heavy rain on Saturday, with qualifying at risk of being postponed to Sunday morning.

Saturday morning's downpour which had been predicted has already forced the postponement of Formula 2's scheduled round and jeopardized the timely start of Formula 1's final practice session which is due to get underway at 12:00 local time.

With qualifying timed for 15:00 local time and forecasts calling for more rain during the afternoon although less intensive, FIA race director Michael Masi detailed F1's contingency plans

"The procedure for today will be we will aim to start all sessions, get it ready operationally, then judge the conditions at the time," said Masi.

"What we have seen from the forecast is we will have this level of rain until about 13:30/14:00 local time, then it decreasing.

"The aim with FP3 will be, we’ll look at what it’s like, we’d have options, we could start it and then red flag to let the clock run down, so let’s judge what the weather is like, or if it is just going to be torrential we can abandon it and aim for qualifying

"The determining factor this afternoon will be the light, sunset is about 18:15, but with weather conditions like this light diminishes far earlier, that will be our cut-off point.

"If we can’t run qualifying today, we will re-do a programme and hold qualifying on Sunday morning."

The last time Formula 1 held a qualifying session on a Sunday was at Suzuka in Japan in 2019 following the onslaught of a typhoon that made landfall in the region.

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