Chinese Grand Prix: Hamilton calls for race weekend changes after Shanghai cancellation

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton
Hamilton did not register a time during a quickly curtailed first practice
Chinese Grand Prix on the BBC
Dates: 7-9 April Venue: Shanghai International Circuit
Coverage: Practice and qualifying on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra; race on BBC Radio 5 live. Live text commentary, leaderboard and imagery on BBC Sport website and app

Lewis Hamilton has called for a rethink of Formula 1's procedures in bad weather following a farcical day of practice at the Chinese Grand Prix.

Cars ran for just 15 minutes of three hours' scheduled practice because the medical helicopter could not operate.

Hamilton, who crossed the track to sign caps for fans in the grandstands, wrote on Twitter: "So sorry for all you watching on TV or at the track.

"We must find a solution to deal with the weather issue."

The three-time champion has proposed running practice on Saturday in Shanghai and switching qualifying to Sunday morning before the race in the afternoon.

And the Mercedes driver added that the problems could become an opportunity for F1's new owners, an American media conglomerate which bought the sport in January and removed long-time boss Bernie Ecclestone as chief executive.

"Seriously, though, this could actually be a blessing in disguise. A chance for new bosses to be proactive and creative," he wrote.

Of the two remaining days of the meeting, Saturday is forecast to have the best weather, with rain due overnight before Sunday.

Lewis Hamilton
Hamilton threw signed caps into the crowd after a frustrating day for the fans

The idea of moving the race to Saturday was discussed briefly by teams with Charlie Whiting, the F1 director of governing body the FIA, after second practice but was quickly dismissed.

Insiders said the weather forecast for Sunday "looks significantly better" than Friday's.

The issue on Friday was that the medical helicopter could not land at the designated hospital, which is more than 30 miles away from the Shanghai International Circuit.

Conditions at the track were poor, with low cloud, smog and mist, but helicopters could fly in its vicinity.

It is a fundamental safety requirement in F1 that the medical helicopter must be able to operate before cars are allowed to take to the track.

Four-time champion Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari, who is leading the championship after winning the first race of the season in Australia two weeks ago, said: "It was boring. It was a shame, especially of the people who came to watch. But what can we do?"

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