Rain vs racing in Austin GP

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With FP1 being the only session that could be successfully completed, relentless heavy downpours and thunder have led to cancellation of the second free practice session.

Problematic weather in Austin was forecasted for the entire weekend along with showers, but before the Friday Free Practice, nature took a different turn. The Free Practice session 1 was successful – Nico Rosberg topped the time sheets, however thunder, lightning and heavy rain clouded the possibilities for the second session to get underway.

Initially the session was delayed but after no chances of conditions getting better, marshals were unable to work due to the proximity of lightening. An hour later, after intense discussions between Bernie Ecclestone, Charlie Whiting and other stewards, it was decided that P2 will be cancelled, as the medical helicopter operations cannot be carried out at least for the next two hours. An option of practice in the dusk seemed unlikely due to early sunset in Austin, Texas.

With the second practice session cancelled, questions also arise about the third practice session and qualifying sessions for Saturday. There is a prediction for more thunder showers, and there are speculations of the qualifying getting postponed to Sunday morning. However, that remains unconfirmed, and the press conference went on as usual.

A bigger worry remains for the following race weekend with the ‘potentially catastrophic’ hurricane Patricia looming over Mexico. Given the altitude of Mexico city the havoc of the cyclone is likely to stay away from it and major damage should be around the coastlines. Nevertheless, with hurricanes being the most unpredictable events of nature, speculations are rife about the weather situations clouding the success or even questioning the possibility of Formula 1’s return to Mexico after 23 years.

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