Japanese F1 qualifying pushed back to Sunday; race to go on
SUZUKA, Japan (AP) — Organizers of the Formula One Japanese Grand Prix have canceled Saturday's qualifying session because of the powerful typhoon that is heading for Japan's main island this weekend.
They also say they plan to go ahead with the race as scheduled on Sunday afternoon.
Typhoon Hagibis is expected to hit western and eastern Japan between Saturday and Sunday, the Japan Meteorological Agency said. It has urged people to take precautions with the storm approaching.
"As a result of the predicted impact of Typhoon Hagibis on the Formula One Japanese Grand Prix 2019, Mobilityland and the Japanese Automobile Federation (JAF) have decided to cancel all activities scheduled to take place on Saturday, 12 October," race organizers said in a statement.
As a result, qualifying will move to Sunday morning, when the weather is set to have cleared, with the race taking place at 2 p.m. local time, as planned. Saturday's third practice session will not be rescheduled.
The Japanese Grand Prix weekend has been affected by extreme weather before, most recently in 2014 when heavy rain fell during the race. Meanwhile, in 2004 and in 2010, qualifying was postponed and held on Sunday morning because of bad weather.
The Pacific side of western and eastern Japan may see torrential rains from Friday until the typhoon passes, and the agency warned of floods caused by the high waves and tides.
The decision means the teams and drivers will have just two practice sessions on Friday.