Formula 1 officials say they are “closely monitoring” Typhoon Hagibis and its potential impact on the Japanese GP, with changes to the weekend’s timetable a possibility.
The super typhoon is set to hit Japan’s east coast on Saturday and two Rugby World Cup matches on that day – England vs France and New Zealand vs Italy – have been cancelled as the country braces itself for extreme winds and heavy rain.
Final practice and qualifying for the Japanese GP are due to take place on Saturday in Suzuka, and F1 says it is trying to “minimise disruption” to the schedule amid concerns about the storm.
A decision on whether P3 and qualy will go ahead as planned will be made on Friday evening.
“The FIA, Formula 1, Suzuka Circuit and the Japanese Automobile Federation are closely monitoring Typhoon Hagibis and its potential impact on the 2019 FIA Formula 1 Japanese Grand Prix,” an F1 statement read.
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“Every effort is being made to minimise disruption to the Formula 1 timetable, however the safety of the fans, competitors and everyone at the Suzuka Circuit remains the top priority.
“All parties will continue to monitor the situation and provide further updates in due course.”
No provision has yet been set in the event of the typhoon causing disruption, but one potential alteration to the F1 timetable would be moving qualifying to Sunday morning before the race.
Qualifying has been postponed until the Sunday twice before in Japan due to typhoons, in 2004 and 2010.
Suzuka is further south than Tokyo and Toyota – where the cancelled Rugby World Cup matches were due to take place – but current forecasts predict poor weather on Saturday before an improvement on Sunday.
Sky F1’s current Japanese GP schedule
Thursday, October 106am: Drivers’ Press Conference9am: Welcome to the Weekend
Friday, October 111.45am: Japanese GP Practice One build-up2am: Japanese GP Practice One5.45am: Japanese GP Practice Two build-up (simulcast on Sky Sports Main Event)6am: Japanese GP Practice Two (simulcast on Sky Sports Main Event)8.30am: Japanese GP Story So Far (simulcast on Sky Sports Main Event)
Saturday, October 123.45am: Japanese GP Practice Three build-up (simulcast on Sky Sports Main Event)4am: Japanese GP Practice Three (simulcast on Sky Sports Main Event)5.10am: Japanese GP Paddock Walkabout (simulcast on Sky Sports Main Event)6am: Japanese GP Qualifying build-up (simulcast on Sky Sports Main Event)7am: Japanese GP Qualifying (simulcast on Sky Sports Main Event)8.30am: The F1 Show (simulcast on Sky Sports Main Event)10am, 1.30pm & 5pm: Japanese GP Qualifying highlights