For the second time in the last six years, the drivers have faced a situation in Formula One, where qualifying will not take place for the Japanese Grand Prix on the scheduled day. Today's session, with more action coming from the weather than cars on the track, definitely did not disappoint and delivered an interesting outcome as promised.
It was in final practice today, where the drivers first felt the force of the weather. By the end of that particular session, only two cars managed to get onto the timesheets. The Toro Rosso of Jaime Alguersuari set a time of 1:55.902s, but suffered a spin on the track as well.
Timo Glock for Virgin Racing, was the only other driver to get a lap time in, and recorded 2:07.497s on the board. The treacherous conditions on the track, caused a loss of grip due to the small rivers starting to form and cars began to aquaplane. The 130R is a tricky corner at the best of times, but in the pouring rain it can be impossible to tackle.
The race officials first decided to abandon the qualifying session as a temporary measure. With the torrential rain failing to allow the session to get underway, everyone had to play a waiting game and hope for better conditions. They then experienced further thirty-minute delays, and kept their fingers crossed for any improvement. As a last resort had the decision been prolonged any later than it was, then darkness falling would have meant it was curtains for qualifying going ahead today.
The safety car was deployed at various stages in time, to monitor the situation and to see if the track, was any more drivable as the pouring rain continued.
Race director Charlie Whiting is the man at the top with the most important decisions to make, the fate of qualifying was lying in his hands. He announced at 3:18pm local time, that qualifying would be aborted for today, with the safety of the drivers being of paramount importance. The circuit will be checked again in the morning; before qualifying is expected to get going at 10am (02:00am GMT) The race will then look to start five hours after that.
It is likely that the current front-runners will pull out all the stops to grab the best position on the grid, namely on the front row in pole, which will go to the man who can cope the best with the change in weather, affecting the handling of the car on the track.
At this point in time the drivers do not seem daunted by the hectic day they face tomorrow, first gunning for position in qualifying and then aiming for a point scoring finish in the race.
Yesterday's leader in practice, Sebastian Vettel, supports Whiting's decision to postpone qualifying until tomorrow, although he does sympathise with the fans that came to show their support.
"I know it's not an easy decision to make, as there is a lot of pressure from the TV broadcasters and fans, but in those conditions it's not fair simply because we have no control of our cars...It's a pity, but it was absolutely the right thing to do, and we'll see what kind of qualifying we have tomorrow. We now have two things to focus on tomorrow, so I will try and get a good rest tonight".
With the Drivers' and Constructors' battles even closer at the top now, tomorrow definitely looks set to be an action packed, and exciting day for all to see.