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GP Week : Issue 230
There was a false start to the Russian Grand Prix weekend after opening practice had to be delayed by half an hour after a circuit worker dropped a line of diesel fuel around the circuit. The fuel was dumped on the circuit on Thursday night as a circuit worker toured the track, unaware his truck was depositing line fuel onto the track surface. It was only noticed when track workers inspected the circuit on Friday morning, with clean-up work beginning in the early morning. However, such was the extent of the fuel dropped on the circuit that work was still under way as opening practice was scheduled to begin. Workers had been forced to flood the circuit in an effort to wash the diesel off the circuit before laying cement dust on the effected parts of the circuit - which proved to be most of it. Even once cleaned the circuit remained incredibly slippery, making teams reluctant to venture out. It was only in the final 15 minutes of the session – which was shortened to just 60 minutes in the end – that teams began to venture out. When they did many opted for intermediate or wet weather tyres, despite much of the circuit being dry as some parts remained wet from the clean-up. Times were therefore largely irrelevant, though Nico Hulkenberg might disagree given the Force India went fastest, and with the second session all but washed out the German’s time proved the best of the day. “It's always frustrating when you have a big work plan and you can't go out,” Hulkenberg said after the opening day’s running. “It has not been the most adventurous day in the car.” “The spillage of diesel on the track this morning and the wet afternoon session leave all the teams with limited knowledge ahead of what is expected to be a dry weekend,” added Force India’s chief operating officer Otmaz Szafnauer. “On days like today we also have to make good use of our simulation tools because it's a circuit for which we have minimal information with only one previous event here.” 28 GPWEEK.com // 28 GPWEEK.com // F1 >>> RUSSIA PARTNERS: Slip sliding away