October 23, 2015

F1 Friday Practices: USGP 2015

The F1 Circus has made it to Austin, TX, site of the 2015 United States Grand Prix, and... well, so far things are NOT going to any sort of plan any sane person could have hoped for.

See, it's kinda raining down cats and dogs and hippopotami and blue whales and any other type of creature you care to name.  In the runup to Practice 1 it poured a good deal, but it stopped just before the session began.  The circuit was wet enough for the Full Wet tires to begin with, but long before the session ended everybody was on Intermediates.  The usual suspects did the usual things, nobody broke anything, and all was okay.  But in the gap between P1 and P2, Very Bad Things occurred.

Just as the Legendary Announce Team came on the air for P2, heavy rain and high winds hit COTA (and much of Texas in general).  As it hasn't rained in Texas since 2003, the water isn't soaking in.  Flash Flood Warnings have been released, and apparently Austin could get up to a FOOT of rain by Sunday night.  P2 had actually been delayed before TV coverage began because of the rain and, more importantly, lightning.  The track workers and camera crews were unable to take their positions around the circuit, most of which are protected... by steel and aluminum structures.  Zap.  After about maybe an hour or so the FIA announced that the medical helicopter wouldn't be able to fly for at least another two hours, at which point the sun would be rapidly setting.  Even without the storms, things would have been sketchy for P2 anyway, so the session was scrubbed altogether.  Good call, that... here's an amateur video of what it was like on the front straight.  The weather forecast for Saturday is for rain and more rain... indeed, it's quite possible that it'll be worse conditions than today.  If Quals gets cancelled, the FIA has three choices: 1) run Quals on Sunday; 2) have P1's times set the grid; 3) set the grid via the Driver's Championship standings.  #1 has practically no chance of happening, there's every chance the rain will still be coming down.  #3 is probably the most likely, as #2 seems too random to me.  But all of this is of secondary consideration, really, because of this:

Hurricane Patricia officially made landfall in Mexico just as I started writing up this post (around 7pm Pond Central Time).  While the wind speed was merely 165mph (down from the 200+ mph measured a couple of hours earlier), it was still a Category 5 hurricane, and heading dead for Guadalajara, the second largest city in Mexico and the hometown of Force India's Sergio Perez.  There's some five million people in the Guadalajara metro area.  Patricia is being reported as the most powerful hurricane to hit North America in recorded history... and it can't be helping the weather in Texas.  And ohbytheway, it's about 340 miles from Mexico City, home of next week's GP of Mexico.  Given what could possibly occur, there's already talk about that race being affected.  Let's just cross our fingers and hope for the best, both for the race and more importantly for the people about to be hit by a massive hurricane.

Hopefully, we'll have info tomorrow!

Posted by: Wonderduck at 07:36 PM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
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1 Unfortunately, at the rate it seems to be moving it'll be over Texas on Sunday. I think we can write this one off.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at October 24, 2015 01:08 AM (+rSRq)

2 Well, the current forecast for Sunday at WeatherUnderground is as follows:

Rain showers early with overcast skies later in the day. High 69F. Winds NNW at 10 to 20 mph. Chance of rain 50%.

The whole of the afternoon is supposed to be dry, with the rain going away by 8am or so.  Except Saturday is supposed to be deluge-style rain, with 3"-5" of the wet stuff coming down in a constant fall. 

Will we get the race in?  I'm betting yes, but it's gonna be a mess for the fans.

Posted by: Wonderduck at October 24, 2015 02:30 AM (a12rG)

3 I read that Patricia got close to the theoretical maximum strength for a cyclone storm system. Hooboy...

Posted by: GreyDuck at October 24, 2015 09:27 AM (rKFiU)

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