Typhoon threatening to rain on Japanese Grand Prix


Organisers and weather forecasters have expressed their concerns that Typhoon Phanfone could cause havoc during this weekend’s Japanese Formula 1 Grand Prix at Suzuka.

Heavy rains lashed the Mie Prefecture of the country’s Kansai region on Thursday, with Sky Sports News Weather expecting wet conditions for Saturday’s qualifying session and heavy rain for the race on Sunday.

Classified as a category four typhoon, Phanfone is expected to make land fall 160 km/h from the track on race day, before striking mainland Japan on Monday, bringing with it torrential rains and winds of up to 240 km/h.

Speaking to BBC Sport, Formula 1 chief meteorologist, Steffen Dietz, said that FIA race director, Charlie Whiting, will meet with F1 boss Bernie Eccelstone about possibly staging the race earlier than the scheduled 15h00, which could have an effect on international television transmission times.

"There are still big uncertainties for the storm track in the coming days," Dietz told the broadcaster.

"The current forecast track for typhoon Phanfone keeps the eye of the storm to the southeast of Japan on Sunday, but with associated rain-bands extending north towards Suzuka during the morning. Once it starts, the rain is likely to be prolonged and become increasingly heavy".

With teams due to depart from Japan for the following week’s inaugural Russian Grand Prix in Sochi, the typhoon could also have an impact on logistics and preparation, making it impossible to stage the race on Monday.

Typhoon delays have previously halted the qualifying sessions of the 2004 and 2010 Japanese Grand Prix, which had to be re-scheduled for Sunday morning, while the 2007 event at the Fuji International Speedway was characterised by heavy mist and torrential rains.


CAPTION: Typhoon Phanfone could disrupt this weekend's Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka. IMAGE sourced from www.crash.net