12 October 2019
I find myself in the rather strange situation of having some time during a Grand Prix, allowing me to write a blog item. This is because of Typhoon Hagibis, which is currently beating at the window of the hotel where we stay in Shiroko, a nice enough little town on the coast, a few miles from Suzuka.
We are not allowed to go to the circuit today. If all goes well, the typhoon will pass by in the course of the day and then tomorrow the race will go ahead as planned.
There is a huge amount of work going on up at the track where the Formula One television crews have been busy all night tearing down their TV centre, which is a large tent which cannot survive big storms, and installing all the important machinery into the pit garages that were previously being used by FOM and by the FIA. The whole things must then be knitted together again but this way, they can guarantee that they will have a TV facility in fully operational order on Sunday, no matter how bad the storm.
The rest of the paddock is battened down and everyone is now sitting around in hotels, waiting to see what happens. I had jet-lag and so spent much of the night working and decided to tak a little walk around town, with an umbrella. It was a bit blowy but not at all Mary Poppins weather. And I dropped in at 7-Eleven, which was functioning as normal and so I have supplies to keep me hale and hearty, with enough Crunky chocolate and pot noodly things to get me through. It is a bit of a hit-or-miss concept as you cannot actually read anything on the labels so one can only guess what will finally emerge when hot water is added.
In a while I think I will take another tour around town to see what restaurants are open, as the hotel does not boast such luxury... Oh well. I could write a long screed about what a daft idea it is to host Grands Prix in the typhoon season, but I am not sure it wll make much of a difference. What is extraordinary is that we have now done this quite a few times and F1 is a lucky sport because the bad storm days always seem to be on the Saturday rather than on a Sunday, which means that the races can go ahead in conditions where such things are possible.
One day, however, that luck has got to run out and the typhoon will spin into the area on race day - which will certainly disrupt matters. F1 is way too big and infinitely organised to simply delay the event a day. Freight has to be on the move and chartered planes have to be ordered months ahead. So one day it is all going to go wrong... Unless, of course, they do something sensible and shift the race to a new date...