Japanese Grand Prix – The FIA and Formula 1 say they are paying close attention to Typhoon Hagibis as it makes its way to Suzuka.
The FIA have addressed the issue of the incoming typhoon to Japan by saying they are monitoring the situation. Typhoon Hagibis is a Category 5 storm, with gusts of wind at over 100mph and is expected to bring over 100mm of rain with it on Saturday.
It is forecast to make landfall in Japan on Saturday, but the exact timing of this is unsure – some forecasters say it will be early in the day, others say it will be quite late on Saturday. As a result, it’s not yet known whether the Formula 1 schedule for Saturday will be affected.
A statement from the FIA on Thursday said: “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 One Japanese Grand Prix.”
“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.”
A likely scenario is that qualifying will be held on Sunday morning instead of on Saturday, as happened in similar circumstances in both 2004 & 2010. There’s also the possibility, although less likely, that qualifying could be brought forward in an attempt to preempt the typhoon.
Japanese F4, part of the support package this weekend, has already been called off, in an attempt to give the Formula 1 schedule some more wiggle room: “We continued discussions with FIA, Formula 1 and JAF on the timetable of the entire event including FIA-F4, but the impact of the typhoon on the condition of the support race paddock In order to prioritize the Formula 1 time schedule amidst the possibility of time schedule changes, we decided to cancel all driving for FIA-F4.”
The Rugby World Cup, also in Japan this weekend, has already made the move to cancel some of its fixtures. England vs. France in Pool C has been called off, as well as New Zealand vs. Italy in Pool B. Ireland’s Pool A game against Samoa is still scheduled, as its located in the north of the country and may escape the worst of the typhoon.