Formula 1 will push ahead with plans to stage qualifying for the Russian Grand Prix on Saturday afternoon, as it looks to capitalise on a weather window, Race Director Michael Masi has explained.
Heavy rain arrived in the Sochi area overnight and continued through Saturday morning, raising fears that the final practice and qualifying sessions could be delayed.
FP3 is scheduled to begin at 12:00 local time, though there are doubts as to whether any action will take place after the postponement of Formula 2's first Sprint race earlier in the morning due to the poor track conditions.
However, rain is set to ease in the afternoon, ahead of the scheduled F1 qualifying start at 15:00 local time.
"Effectively, the procedure for today will be that we will aim to start all sessions, get everything ready from an operational perspective, and then judge the conditions at the time," Masi explained.
"What we've seen from the forecast side is that we will have this level of rain until about 13:30 to 14:00 local time, then decreasing in the afternoon.
"The priority from today's perspective is obviously Formula 1 qualifying this afternoon. Formula 1 will take priority.
"We were fortunate enough in restructuring the programme to have the first Formula 3 race yesterday, pre-empting the weather that was going to happen this morning, which based on what we saw when we came out to the circuit this morning was absolutely the right decision – it was torrential at the time we would have been having the F3 race.
"Now we'll just look at the day ahead and take it step by step."
Masi added that attempts will be made to start qualifying until the light fades.
"The determining factor this afternoon will be the light," he added.
"Sunset locally is about 18:15 in the evening, but with weather conditions like this, obviously light diminishes far earlier. That will ultimately be our cut-off point.
"If qualifying isn't able to happen today, as we've seen a few times in the past, then we will hold qualifying on Sunday morning."
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