|The wet track saw little Friday running|
UPDATE Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton believes Formula 1 needs to find a solution in order to prevent a repeat of Friday’s aborted sessions at the Chinese Grand Prix.
The first session, which took place in drizzly conditions, was truncated due to the medical helicopter being unable to land at the designated hospital, 38km from the track, because of low-lying cloud.
The second 90-minute session did not start, because of the restrictions on the medical helicopter, and the decision was eventually made to abort running.
Hamilton used part of the stoppage to walk over to the grandstand on the pit straight and signed caps, which were distributed to some attending fans.
It was the first time an entire session was cancelled since the corresponding practice at Austin two years ago, and Hamilton believes changes need to be made.
“The track was absolutely fine and we could have run all day today with no issue if it weren't for the clouds," said Hamilton.
|Hamilton went and signed autographs with fans|
“It's not good for the fans watching on TV and even worse for all those people in the stands, who have paid money to come out here from the city or even from other countries.
“They've barely seen a car on track today, which must be tough for them.
“We need to work together with the FIA and FOM to find a solution or an alternative plan of some kind when we have circumstances like this in the future."
Brighter weather is forecast for Saturday, though gloomier conditions are anticipated for Sunday.
I'm really sorry for the fans, first of all. All the people came to see us in practice today but didn't see any running apart from a couple of laps in FP1, which is a shame. I promise we'll do all we can to make it exciting in Qualifying for them tomorrow and especially on race day. A big thank you to all those loyal fans for their support. The weather tomorrow is looking alright, fortunately. If it is wet on Saturday or Sunday it's no big drama. We have a little bit of information on the Intermediate tire – more or less the same as any other team, so we're all in the same situation. Dry conditions will be the question mark at this point, so hopefully we get some dry running in FP3 tomorrow morning.
Obviously not a great day. I've only done one lap on the 2017 wet tires so far this year and, from what I could tell on that out-lap, they feel pretty similar to last year's so I don't have any particular worries over it. But there's a bigger picture today. The track was absolutely fine and we could have run all day today with no issue if it weren't for the clouds. It's not good for the fans watching on TV and even worse for all those people in the stands, who have paid money to come out here from the city or even from other countries. They've barely seen a car on track today, which must be tough for them. We need to work together with the FIA and FOM to find a solution or an alternative plan of some kind when we have circumstances like this in the future.
James Allison, Technical Director
Missing Friday means we go into qualifying and the race not knowing as much about the tires as we'd like, for example how long they will last and what the performance difference is between the compounds – and those data are the basis for your race strategy. We'll miss the time for set-up tweaking to fine-tune the balance as well, but these days you arrive at the track with a pretty good balance so we shouldn't be hurt too badly. The nature of modern Formula 1 is that, even if it's wet in practice, we limit the amount of running because you don't want to spin off or damage the car and be on the back foot for the rest of the weekend. So most of the time when the drivers use the Wet tires it's a voyage of discovery for them – and that's where you see their ability really come to the fore. We are fortunate that, in situations like this, our two drivers have the skills to limit any disadvantage. Saturday should be the best of the three days in term of weather but Sunday is looking quite troublesome.
04/07/17 Friday here in Shanghai is an almost total bust, delivering a handful of laps in the morning and no running at all this afternoon. We're not expecting the same atmospheric conditions tomorrow, so we "should" see a return to the normal routine for practice 3.
04/07/17 Race control have confirmed that once again the medical helicopter is unable to operate in the current conditions. Therefore the start of the 2nd Chinese GCP practice session has been delayed. We would not be surprised if it is a total washout.