F1 considering Sunday qualifying as rainstorm hits Red Bull Ring

Qualifying for this weekend's Styrian Grand Prix could be held on Sunday morning after final practice was cancelled due to heavy rain at the Red Bull Ring.

A rainstorm at the circuit caused a Formula 3 support race to be cut short by 10 laps on Saturday morning and ruled out final practice getting underway. Qualifying is due to start at 3:00PM local, but will also be delayed if there is not a break in the weather. Another consideration is low cloud preventing the medical helicopter taking off, which was the case during the original allotted time for final practice.

If track and cloud conditions fail to improve throughout the day, the qualifying session will be moved to Sunday morning at 10:00AM, which is currently forecast to be dry. The race would then take place in its original time slot at 3:10PM on Sunday afternoon.

In the event the weather also rules out a qualifying session on Sunday morning, the grid will be set from the order of Friday's second practice session.

"There's lots of options," FIA race director Michael Masi said. "In a worst case scenario we've already had a look and qualifying could take place on Sunday morning, so that's a great option there.

"If we have a complete washout on Saturday so Free Practice 3 doesn't take place and qualifying doesn't take place, and hypothetically qualifying couldn't happen on Sunday due to weather, we would revert back to the free practice two times from Free Practice 2.

"Or there is the third iteration that Free Practice 3 can happen tomorrow morning but we can't have qualifying in the afternoon or Sunday morning and then the grid would be set on the Free Practice 3 times."

A similar situation arose at last year's Japanese Grand Prix when Typhoon Hagibis ruled out any action on the Saturday. In that instance, the FIA took the decision to tell teams and drivers to stay away from the track for safety reasons. But in Austria this weekend the teams are in place and ready to run if the track conditions improve.