Typhoon-hit Ja­pan GP qual­i­fy­ing moved to Sun­day

The Korea Times - - SPORTS -

SUZUKA, Ja­pan (AFP) — The Ja­panese Grand Prix’s en­tire Satur­day track pro­gram, in­clud­ing qual­i­fy­ing, has been can­celed as Typhoon Hag­ibis bears down on the Suzuka cir­cuit, race or­ga­niz­ers an­nounced Fri­day.

Qual­i­fy­ing will be resched­uled to 10 a.m. Sun­day, with the race tak­ing place at 2:10 p.m. as orig­i­nally planned, pro­vid­ing the weather im­proves.

The Suzuka cir­cuit will be closed, with no pub­lic or media al­lowed in for safety rea­sons as Hag­ibis, pack­ing heavy rain and winds in ex­cess of 200 kilo­me­ters per hour is ex­pected to make land­fall on Satur­day.

“As a re­sult of the pre­dicted im­pact of Typhoon Hag­ibis on the For­mula One Ja­panese Grand Prix, Mo­bil­ity­land and the Ja­panese Au­to­mo­bile Fed­er­a­tion have de­cided to can­cel all ac­tiv­i­ties sched­uled to take place on Satur­day,” said a state­ment by the mo­tor­sport’s gov­ern­ing body FIA.

“The FIA and For­mula One sup­port this de­ci­sion in the in­ter­est of safety for the spec­ta­tors, com­peti­tors and ev­ery­one at the Suzuka Cir­cuit,” it con­tin­ued.

The de­ci­sion means the teams and drivers will just have Fri­day’s two prac­tice ses­sions in which to pre­pare for Sun­day morn­ing’s qual­i­fy­ing ses­sion be­cause Satur­day’s third ses­sion will not be resched­uled.

If qual­i­fy­ing is not pos­si­ble on Sun­day morn­ing be­cause of con­tin­u­ing bad weather, then the grid will be de­cided based on Fri­day’s sec­ond free prac­tice times, the FIA later con­firmed in a fur­ther state­ment.

“Should this even­tu­al­ity come to pass, the stew­ards will ex­er­cise their au­thor­ity… and di­rect that the grid for the Ja­panese Grand Prix will be es­tab­lished based on the sec­ond prac­tice ses­sion clas­si­fi­ca­tion, with any penal­ties ap­plied as nec­es­sary,” said the FIA state­ment.

For­mula One qual­i­fy­ing in Ja­pan was also moved to Sun­day in 2004 and in 2010 due to poor weather.

The typhoon has al­ready claimed ca­su­al­ties at the Rugby World Cup in Ja­pan, with Satur­day’s Eng­landFrance clash in Yoko­hama and the New Zealand-Italy match in Toy­ota City can­celed.

The volatile na­ture of Hag­ibis — with Ja­pan’s weather bureau warn­ing of “bru­tal winds and vi­o­lent seas” as well as record-break­ing rain — means even Sun­day’s race could be un­der threat, though the cur­rent fore­cast is for clearer weather.

A post­pone­ment of the grand prix to Mon­day is im­pos­si­ble, the FIA said.

The lat­est fore­cast pre­dicts Hag­ibis to make land­fall near Tokyo on Satur­day with the Suzuka cir­cuit, which lies near the Hon­shu coast about 300 kilo­me­ters south­west of the cap­i­tal, be­ing bat­tered on the fringes.

AP-Yon­hap

Red Bull driver Max Ver­stap­pen of the Nether­lands gets on his car for the first prac­tice ses­sion for the Ja­panese For­mula One Grand Prix at Suzuka Cir­cuit in Suzuka, Ja­pan, Fri­day.

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