UPDATE: The NBC Sports Network will air qualifying coverage at 12:30 a.m. Sunday morning. The race will air live at 2 a.m. ET.
Qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix has been postponed until Sunday morning after wet weather prevented the completion of all three sessions.
The teams did manage to get out for Q1 after a thirty minute delay, but many of the drivers struggled in the wet conditions. Lewis Hamilton, Mark Webber, Pastor Maldonado, Felipe Massa, Giedo van der Garde and Esteban Gutierrez all went off, with the latter three drivers having to pit for repairs.
At the end of Q1, the FIA decided to delay the session once again to assess the conditions, only for the rain to intensify making the completion of qualifying impossible.
The results from Q1 will remain, leaving sixteen drivers competing in the rest of qualifying. As teams are under parc ferme conditions, they will not be able to make changes to their cars.
Q2 will get underway at 1100 local time (2000 EST), with the race starting six hours later.
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SMP Racing has publicly unveiled its new BR1 LMP1 car that will enter the FIA World Endurance Championship from 2018.
SMP Racing opted to pull out of racing full-time in the WEC for 2017 in order to focus on its preparations for an LMP1 entry the following year, with the decision being taken long in advance of Porsche’s exit announcement.
Officials from the Russian-backed SMP Racing, as well as drivers including recent IndyCar racer Mikhail Aleshin (sporting a broken arm in a sling), Vitaly Petrov and Sergey Sirotkin were all on hand to unveil the car on Friday in the Bahrain International Circuit paddock ahead of this weekend’s WEC finale.
The BR Engineering BR1 features a Dallara chassis and an AER engine, and has completed over 2,000 km in private testing, with further running set to be completed in the coming weeks.
SMP Racing plans to field two cars in the WEC’s LMP1 class next year, and is keen to get as many Russian drivers as possible in the seats from its wide pool of talent.
Even with Porsche’s departure from LMP1, the class is set to feature a bigger field thanks to the increased number of privateers moving up, with Toyota set to remain the sole manufacturer in the class.