After a disrupted opening FP1 session in Shanghai, Formula teams were unable to do any running at all in the afternoon stanza as low-lying mist grounded the medical helicopter on day one of the Chinese Grand Prix weekend.
Unlike in FP1, when the 20 drivers combined for just 124 laps in between red flags stoppages, FP2 was never started, with race control monitoring conditions and hoping for a window in which to open proceedings.
FIA race director Charlie Whiting explained, “The helicopter can’t land at the hospital. It looks reasonable at the circuit but they can’t land in downtown Shanghai. We get news from the airport every 10 minutes.”
“If it doesn’t clear there will be no practice, we have a fixed end and if it does not clear by then there will be no P2.”
Sadly for teams, drivers and fans, it did not clear, meaning the medical helicopter was unable to operate – which is mandatory for every F1 session on safety grounds.
As a result teams and drivers head into Saturday having done no set-up work, or any qualifying and race simulation work they’d usually do on a Friday, which means an extremely busy FP3 session and a unpredictable qualifying will be on the cards.