F1 officials closely monitoring Typhoon Hagibis amid potential disruption
Formula 1 says it will try and minimise disruption to its weekend schedule where possible at the Japanese Grand Prix, ahead of the expected arrival of Typhoon Hagibis on Saturday.
Japan’s eastern coast is bracing for the arrival of the violent storm on Saturday, with relentless and intense heavy rain set to strike the country, along with extreme winds.
Suzuka is located in the Mie Prefecture, a couple of miles inland of the eastern coast, towards the Pacific Ocean.
The Rugby World Cup is also taking place in Japan and two of Saturday’s matches have been cancelled.
England and France were due to face off in Yokohoma, while New Zealand and Italy were due to take each other on in Nagoya, which is around 50km from Suzuka.
The exact path of the storm remains difficult to predict at this stage and more recent updates have suggested that the typhoon could swing further east, ensuring the eye misses the mainland, or skims capital city Tokyo.
However the breadth of the storm means that vast swathes of Japan are bracing for torrential quantities of rain, along with potentially damaging winds gusting at 150mph, on Saturday.
Current forecasts indicate that Suzuka could receive upwards of 300mm of rain on Saturday, with the worst of the wet weather expected through the afternoon.
On Thursday morning the FIA and Formula 1 issued a joint statement, confirming that in conjunction with the circuit and the Japanese Automobile Federation they are “closely monitoring Typhoon Hagibis and its potential impact on the 2019 FIA Formula 1 Japanese Grand Prix.
“Every effort is being made to minimise disruption to the Formula 1 timetable, however the safety of the fans, competitors and everyone at the Suzuka Circuit remains the top priority.
“All parties will continue to monitor the situation and provide further updates in due course.”
No provision has yet been set in the event of the typhoon causing disruption on Saturday.
When Saturday running has been affected in the past qualifying has been moved to Sunday morning, with this most recently happening at the 2015 United States Grand Prix.
Saturday's current timetable has FP3 at 12:00 local time, qualifying at 15:00, with sunset at 17:23.