Motor racing-Fog delays Mick Schumacher's F1 practice debut

NUERBURGRING, Germany, Oct 9 (Reuters) - Bad weather put Mick Schumacher’s Formula One practice debut on hold at the Eifel Grand Prix on Friday with the medical helicopter unable to take off due to fog.

Organisers delayed the start of the opening 90-minute session at a cold and damp Nuerburgring by half an hour initially and then for a further 30 minutes.

Schumacher, the Formula Two championship leader and son of seven-times world champion and former Ferrari great Michael, had been due to replace Italian Antonio Giovinazzi at Alfa Romeo for the session.

Britain’s Callum Ilott, second in the F2 championship and also a Ferrari Academy driver, had also been due to take part with the Ferrari-powered Haas team.

Schumacher and Ilott have both driven F1 cars before in test sessions.

“It is a bit challenging,” F1 race director Michael Masi told Sky Sports television. “With the fog that’s come in the medical helicopter is not able to take off and fly to the hospital.

“The distance by road is far too far should something occur, so at the moment we’ve effectively started the countdown clock for free practice one and then we’ll provide a further update to the teams every 30 minutes.

“We’ve also advised all the teams we’ll give them a 10 minute warning should we be able to open pit exit and for the session to take place.”

Masi said driver safety would not be compromised.

The Nuerburgring is making its return to the calendar for the first time since 2013 after Formula One had to rip up its original schedule and bring in some new venues due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The circuit situated in the hilly and wooded Eifel region has never before hosted a world championship grand prix this late in the year. (Reporting by Alan Baldwin in London, editing by Christian Radnedge)