Formula One is keeping a close eye on the weather at Suzuka as a typhoon is forecast as heading towards Japan. Heavy rain and strong winds are predicted to hit the circuit on Saturday and there are concerns about disruptions to the GP schedule....
Formula One is keeping a close eye on the weather at Suzuka as a typhoon is forecast as heading towards Japan. Heavy rain and strong winds are predicted to hit the circuit on Saturday and there are concerns about disruptions to the GP schedule. The conditions could continue into race day and as Suzuka is a high-speed track there are some safety issues.
BAR's Takuma Sato said that a recent typhoon made the Suzuka circuit unusable. However, if the rain is less than torrential there shouldn't be a problem. "We experienced a few weeks ago that we were hit by a big typhoon and all of turn one and turn two was completely flooded," he commented in Thursday's press conference.
"We don't want to see that, because if it happens we have to stop the race completely and that would be sad. But if it is just normal rain, we should be able to have a good race here because we had a few years here when there have been wet races but it is always very exciting in Suzuka and there are none of the big dangerous places, as far as I remember, at this circuit in the wet."
The main problems on a wet track are the spray from other cars and the risk of aquaplaning. "Normally the spray is a big problem for the drivers and if it rains very, very heavily it is the same at every track. The aquaplaning level is the thing that stops us from running and then the visibility is the next thing, so when we are running as a group it should be okay," said Jaguar's Mark Webber. "It's tricky for all of us, but yeah, it should be fine."
Williams' Juan Pablo Montoya believes that if the conditions are bad enough, a decision will be taken by the teams and the FIA whether to go out on track or not. "If the typhoon comes I would be surprised if we go out, to be honest," he said. "The winds are pretty fast, if you get 40mph winds I don't think you would want to go through 130R in the wet."
"If everyone decides not to go out then it's reasonable, but if two or three cars go out and nothing happens then I would go out and do the same, what can you do? It would be crazy if it happens, but I believe if it gets to the point that it is dangerous to drive the FIA will stop it."
On Wednesday night the south coast of Honshu, Japan's main island, was hit by an earthquake that measured 5.7 on the Richter Scale. The quake was centred about 20 miles northeast of Tokyo but there were no reported injuries.