Sport

F1 drivers, Japanese Grand Prix organizers keeping eye on super-typhoon

F1 drivers, Japanese Grand Prix organizers keeping eye on super-typhoon”

Lewis Hamilton thinks Formula 1 has the prospect of an "awesome" Japanese Grand Prix because he has "no idea" which of Mercedes, Ferrari or Red Bull will be quickest.

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

The storm is forecast to strike the Tokyo area, about 400km north of Suzuka, on the weekend.

A contingency plan is in place to move the battle for pole position to Sunday morning before the race, but F1 bosses are not expected to finalise their scheduling until late on Friday evening.

The Suzuka circuit, which is set to host Sunday's race, is about 300 kilometres south west of Tokyo. Meanwhile, the race will not be staged on Monday if the cars are unable to run on Sunday.

The victor of the past seven Japanese Grand Prixs have subsequently gone on to win the driver's title that year - Sebastian Vettel [2012 and 2013], Lewis Hamilton [2014, 2015, 2017 and 2018] and Nico Rosberg [2016]. "I am sure they are preparing, are aware that it is coming, and have procedures in place".

Charles Leclerc has claimed four pole positions in a row for Ferrari but only won twice, suffering from the team's strategy in Singapore before being a victim to the VSC period that handed Hamilton the win in Russian Federation. "The only thing I can say is probably in the qualifying, Ferrari will be very strong again as we've seen, but in the race maybe, quite similar pace". There is a forecast, but how many times have forecasts changed?

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"However, we know that we need to extract absolutely everything from our vehicle and the tyres if we want to be able to challenge for a win".

A statement from the FIA read: "Every effort is being made to minimise disruption to the Formula One timetable".

Rain or shine, Suzuka has the ingredients to be a classic - a rejuvenated Red Bull team pressing the top two, plus a circuit renowned for exciting racing with sweeping bends and dramatic elevation changes. "All parties will continue to monitor the situation and provide further updates in due course".

However, a wild weekend of weather is promised at Suzuka which could mean disrupted practice, chaotic qualifying and a wet race punctuated by safety cars.

The review, last held four years ago, is due to include 46 naval vessels, including a helicopter carrier, destroyers and submarines, and 40 aircraft.

But Red Bull, too, should bring the fight this weekend despite their disappointing form since the summer break, as the style of Suzuka's figure-of-eight circuit should complement the vehicle - they have featured on the podium in each of the last three visits to Japan. It is a different challenge so I like that.

"I've only been to Suzuka once but it's a track I loved". It doesn't make a difference to me.



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