Will there be a Suzuka cancellation?

Formula 1 drivers are preparing for a possible cancellation of qualifying on Saturday before the Japanese Grand Prix in view of the approaching Super Typhoon “Hagibis”.

“Safety has top priority, not only for us, but also for the spectators who travel to the track,” Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel said in Suzuka on Thursday:

“I don’t think it’s so comfortable to sit on the grandstands in the forecast wind and pouring rain. At the moment it looks like Saturday will be the most unpleasant day. I think after tomorrow we’ll know more about it.”

Max Verstappen also expressed doubts about the timing of qualifying saying “At the moment it doesn’t look good,”. Vettel’s teammate Charles Leclerc said it would be “difficult, if not impossible” to drive as planned. Nico Hülkenberg said: “We’ll have to wait and see how bad it gets”.

The monster storm is due to hit the Japanese main island of Honshu on Saturday, with heavy rain and dangerous wind speeds expected. A shift of qualifying to Sunday morning would not be a first, in Suzuka this measure was already taken in 2004 and 2010. There are apparently no restrictions for the race on Sunday.

Obvious are the memories of Jules Bianchi in 2014 and the conditions of which the young driver was fatally injured in Japan. TJ13 found Charlie Whiting and the FIA complicit in this disaster, and it is obvious that the current owners of the sport Liberty Media should see the possibilities of similar catastrophic events happening.

The FIA and the organisers are closely monitoring the development of the storm. Every effort should be made to keep the impact on the timetable as low as possible. “But the safety of the fans, the drivers and everyone along the track is a top priority,” the FIA said.

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