Due to extreme weather, qualifying for the Japanese Grand Prix has been postponed until 1000 on Sunday morning. The race will take place at the scheduled time of 1500. Jenson Button: "I spent the qualifying session talking to the mechanics and...
Due to extreme weather, qualifying for the Japanese Grand Prix has been postponed until 1000 on Sunday morning. The race will take place at the scheduled time of 1500.
"I spent the qualifying session talking to the mechanics and playing yo-yo - jumping in and out of the car, just in case the track conditions improved enough for us to run. Moving qualifying to Sunday won't really change my preparations: it just means it will be a bit closer to the race itself, and that we'll be at the track earlier on Sunday morning. But it won't be a problem to focus on both quali and the race in a single day
"It's far tougher for the mechanics: they worked tirelessly overnight and they'll have to work really hard to prep the car between quali and the race. For the drivers, it's less of a problem - it's actually quite fun to have something a bit different to do.
"The circuit is likely to be drier tomorrow. It's not supposed to be raining, just wet from overnight showers. So I feel pretty sure we'll be able to run, and that we'll have qualifying.
"This is a big shame for the fans - they've not seen us drive today, which is very disappointing for them. But there's nothing we can do in conditions like these: you're not actually driving the car, you're floating!"
"I like going out in the wet, but in order to keep the tyre temperatures up, you need to be going at a sufficient speed to be able to work the brakes properly. I was aquaplaning all the time - I couldn't get to full throttle. I couldn't even use half-throttle! They're some of the worst conditions I've ever experienced in Formula 1 - rivers flowing from one side of the track to the other.
"And with so much torque, even in fourth gear, the rear would light up, so you were trying to push gently to avoid losing heat in the tyres. It was a good call by the stewards to defer qualifying today.
"The more driving I do, the happier I am. I've done hardly any driving all weekend, so I'm really looking forward to tomorrow! I don't have any expectations: bearing in mind the limited time I've had on the track, I want to get through qualifying safely, get a good grid position and score as many points as I can.
"It's unfortunate for all the fans - but I think tomorrow will be an exceptional day."
Martin Whitmarsh, Team principal, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes:
"Obviously, today's postponement of qualifying was extremely disappointing for the thousands of loyal fans at the track and the many millions watching on TV around the world. But it's important to frame that within the limitations we inevitably encounter when faced with constant heavy rain and large areas of standing water.
"In such circumstances, it's neither safe nor sensible to consider driving a Formula 1 car in anger, and I think the stewards did an extremely sensible job to monitor the situation closely before deciding to reschedule the session for Sunday morning.
"All the drivers on the grid will face a considerable challenge to take their cars to the limit in what's expected to be a tricky damp-but-drying morning qualifying session. Sunday promises to be for a thrilling spectacle, and everybody at Vodafone McLaren Mercedes is looking forward to it tremendously."