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Formula 1

FIA could move F1 start times if heavy rain is forecast

Formula 1 Race Director Michael Masi has revealed the flexibility of F1 start times will be discussed, after the Russian Grand Prix's schedule was affected by the rain.

Russian GP start 2021
To news overview © Pirelli

FIA and Formula 1 Race Director Michael Masi has confirmed the sport's stakeholders will discuss whether the start times of qualifying and the race could be brought forward, following another rain-affected weekend in Sochi.

The third free practice session for the Russian Grand Prix on Saturday was cancelled due to torrential rain, whilst the Formula 2 and Formula 3 races saw multiple schedule changes throughout the weekend.

RacingNews365.com asked Masi whether F1 would consider having a similar level of flexibility with its start times, or whether it was too dependant on the TV schedule.

"Not so much TV schedule-dependent," said Masi. "I think it's something that we're going to be discussing in the coming weeks.

"We said following Spa that there's obviously a whole lot of strategic discussions that need to take place between the FIA, F1 and the 10 teams, and that's going to be one of the discussions at the Strategy Group meeting.

"It's not just a 'pluck it out' scenario, we're talking about two completely separate governance structures between the three championships."

Pushed by RacingNews365.com whether there was a commercial factor, Masi added: "Commercial, but just the governance structure before we even get to the commercial part.

"Those discussions [about F1] will happen in a proactive matter, we'll have a look at it and see where we get to.”

This year's Belgian GP was described as a "farce" by Lewis Hamilton after the official race distance was just one lap and half points were given.

Two of the three F3 races ran in Sochi, which was the title decider for the series, and Masi was clear that the events of Spa were not in his or the FIA's mind when making the decision to move the support series schedule.

"If we look at Saturday for what it was, if you look at it earlier in the day, those that were here at the time saw that there was a window that actually looked OK, which is why we brought the F2 cars into the pit lane and then obviously that diminished," said Masi.

"We always run by principle on those types of scenarios to go session by session, which is what we did. Obviously, there were limiting factors.

"With regards to the F3 race being moved to Friday, obviously the conditions looked as they did, probably the overriding factor in that scenario was that it was the last round of the championship, and we had the ability to fit it into the programme.

"So you've got to take all those factors into account, but, no, Spa certainly hasn't come into it whatsoever."

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