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FIA Race Director explains plan if rain washes out Styrian Grand Prix qualifying

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The forecast for Saturday in Spielberg, home to Austria’s Red Bull Ring, makes for difficult reading, with persistent – and at times heavy – rain expected throughout the day. That means final practice and qualifying for the Styrian GP could be affected – so what is the back-up plan?

The weather was beautifully warm throughout the opening Austrian Grand Prix weekend and in the build up to the second race at the Red Bull Ring, with temperatures peaking at 30C on Friday.

READ MORE: Friday Pace Analysis - Verstappen was fastest, but do Red Bull really have the speed for victory?

But bad weather has set in on Saturday, with conditions predicted to be so treacherous, the organisers have put multiple plans in place to react if an alternative approach to setting the grid is required.

“The latest forecast is not looking great, there’s an 80% chance of rain in FP3 at the moment and likelihood of very heavy showers throughout,” said FIA Race Director Michael Masi (watch his full interview in the video above).

“There’s lots of options to put it simply. If a worst-case scenario was to come about, we’ve already had a look and qualifying could take place on Sunday morning.

READ MORE: Verstappen heads Bottas and Perez in FP2 at the Red Bull Ring as Ricciardo crashes

Highlights from Styrian Grand Prix FP2

“If we had a complete washout on Saturday, free practice three and qualifying didn’t take place and hypthetically qualifying couldn’t happen on Sunday morning because of weather, we would revert back to free practice two times.

“Or there’s the third iteration, which is free practice three can happen but we can’t have qualifying in the afternoon or qualifying Sunday morning and the grid would highly likely be set on the free practice three times.”

If the grid for Sunday’s race – which is set to be warm and dry - were to be defined on FP2 times, Max Verstappen would start on pole position, ahead of Valtteri Bottas, with Racing Point’s Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll locking out the second row.

Reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton would start sixth, with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel down in 16th and Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo last after he crashed in FP2.

Styria 2020

Practice 2 results

PositionTeam NameTime
1VER1:03.660
2BOT+0.043s
3PER+0.217s
4STR+0.581s
5SAI+0.673s
View Full Results
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