Little running in rain-hit final practice puts qualifying session in doubt

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Jaime Alguersuari was fastest in final practice at Suzuka – but he was one of only two drivers to set a time in a very wet session.

The only other car to post a lap time was Timo Glock’s Virgin.

There are concerns that if this level of rain persists it might not be possible to hold qualifying.

McLaren sent Lewis Hamilton out during the session after hurriedly fitting new parts to his car to replace those damaged in his crash yesterday. During a late lap he said it was, “Impossible to drive out here. There are massive, massive rivers pretty much everywhere.”

Michael Schumacher drove to the pit lane exit late in the session but did not go out on the track.

Both Toro Rosso drivers were the only cars on track as the session ended. Strangely, they did a practice start on the almost flooded start/finish line, even though a rolling start would be used in similar conditions on race day.

As they hadn’t taken the chequered flag before doing the standing starts, it is not clear whether they acted in accordance with the rules.

Pos.CarDriverCarBest lapGap
117Jaime AlguersuariToro Rosso-Ferrari1’55.902
224Timo GlockVirgin-Cosworth2’07.49711.595

Combined practice times

PosDriverCarFP1FP2FP3Total laps
1Sebastian VettelRed Bull-Renault1’32.5851’31.46555
2Mark WebberRed Bull-Renault1’32.6331’31.86052
3Robert KubicaRenault1’33.1291’32.20055
4Fernando AlonsoFerrari1’34.1691’32.36257
5Felipe MassaFerrari1’33.9291’32.51960
6Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Mercedes1’34.0421’32.53347
7Vitaly PetrovRenault1’34.3731’32.70356
8Michael SchumacherMercedes1’33.7391’32.83147
9Adrian SutilForce India-Mercedes1’33.6391’32.84239
10Nico H???lkenbergWilliams-Cosworth1’33.7071’32.85150
11Nico RosbergMercedes1’33.8311’32.88035
12Kamui KobayashiSauber-Ferrari1’34.2711’33.47150
13Lewis HamiltonMcLaren-Mercedes1’33.6431’33.48117
14Rubens BarrichelloWilliams-Cosworth1’33.6771’33.56437
15Nick HeidfeldSauber-Ferrari1’33.7911’33.69756
16Sebastien BuemiToro Rosso-Ferrari1’34.9911’34.00558
17Jaime AlguersuariToro Rosso-Ferrari1’35.6841’34.0551’55.90259
18Vitantonio LiuzziForce India-Mercedes1’34.3791’34.31054
19Heikki KovalainenLotus-Cosworth1’36.9491’36.09562
20Jarno TrulliLotus-Cosworth1’37.3881’36.33356
21Lucas di GrassiVirgin-Cosworth1’36.63028
22Timo GlockVirgin-Cosworth1’37.3291’36.8342’07.49745
23Bruno SennaHRT-Cosworth1’38.8141’37.35261
24Jerome d’AmbrosioVirgin-Cosworth1’37.77823
25Sakon YamamotoHRT-Cosworth1’39.4431’37.83160

2010 Japanese Grand Prix

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Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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64 comments on “Little running in rain-hit final practice puts qualifying session in doubt”

  1. it takes balls to drive in suzuka right now… way to go jamie and timo !!!!!

    1. Nope, they are all driving way to slowly.

  2. What happens if qualifying is cancelled? Will the drivers line up in championship order, or will FP2 times be used for the grid? Or will the grid be decided by pulling names out of a hat?

    1. Couldn’t it be held on Sunday morning like in 2005?

      1. What if it’s raining again like this then? No way they would take that risk

    2. US Williams Fan
      9th October 2010, 4:25

      Good Question….. I honestly have no idea.

      In Nascar it falls on standings….. but then again Nascar will cancel qualifying if a leaf falls on to the track.

      I have never seen quali cancelled in F1…. but I’m sure that Keith could provide some insight as to how the grid would be set up in that circumstance.

      Lets hope that it clears up a bit!

      1. That must because in Nascar, they’re going extremely fast and pushing the car much harder than a F1. And also, they have alot better traction, except when there are leafs or raindrops on the asphalt, or concrete or whatever you’re using on “racetracks” in Obama-land ;)

    3. I am tuning in this morning because of the rain. Been up since yesterday 9am. On a tight deadline, so for company I have had motorsport on all night (NASCAR) and just got through FP3. And the rain, uncertainty, and potential….erm….unique eventness of the whole thing has given me a little extra dose of adrenalin. :)

      Without the rain, I may have crawled into bed with wife by now.

      If F1 due some big headlines? Japan rained off. Korea Inspection Team says……etc……

      1. Lolz Carl, I think your wife would have appreciated your warmth instead of guessing into a rain-sod Suzuka ;-)

        BTW, I woke up at 02:30 local time for FP3 but I was not disappointed to go back to my Missus :) . Two hours gone and still no good news from Japan :(

    4. FIA reserved sunday 10AM for qualifying.

      1. No-one will be able to see it because it will interfere with the tight television schedules due to the Commonwealth Games…

        1. You mean no-one in Australia will be able to see it.

        2. trulli dead09
          9th October 2010, 4:48

          These Commonwealth Games are driving me up the wall-No pre race show tomorrow for us Australians, no we have to watch Australia win the best of the rest comp….

          1. Stupid Commonwealth Games…

            Attention Channel 10 – no one cares about them!! I don’t know of ANYONE that is watching them and that includes a lot of people that will sit through every ball of a Test match when the cricket is on.

            The most attention people have paid to them are laughing at Sheila Dikshit’s name and the bad state of the facilities.

            I cancelled going to the pub to watch qualifying, go away rain

      2. And if it rains then?

    5. If qualifying starts then even if no full timed laps are completed this obscure section of the sporting regulations could come into play:

      36 The Grid

      […]

      If two or more drivers set identical times during Q1, Q2 or Q3 priority will be given to the one who set it
      first.
      If less than 26 cars are entered in the Championship appropriate amendments will be made to the above in
      accordance with Article 33.1.
      b) If more than one driver fails to set a time during Q1, Q2 or Q3 they will be arranged in the following
      order :
      i) any driver who attempted to set a qualifying time by starting a flying lap ;
      ii) any driver who failed to start a flying lap ;
      iii) any driver who failed to leave the pits during the period.

      1. What if quali doesnt start at all though? Championship order, or car number order?

        1. Champtionship order would make more sense. Car number order would have some odd effects – like putting both the Mercedes cars on the second row, Sauber on the second-last row, Ferrari on the fourth row and Renault on the sixth. They’re not really indicative of anyone’s pace. But championship order would be better because it would preserve the competition.

          That said, I reckon FP2 times would be good.

        2. The sporting regulations doesn’t seem to say either. Other people are saying car number, not sure where they’re getting that from.

          1. A guy on the BBC apparently. Although cynics say that’s because of the way Button and Hamilton have the numbers one and two.

          2. I’ve been hearing both. Its a bit silly that they haven’t included it in the regulations.

            I reckon it is WDC order though.

          3. Its a bit silly that they haven’t included it in the regulations.

            It’s not silly at all. It hasn’t been included in the regulations because we’ve never had a situation arise like this before.

          4. Ah, here we go, missed this bit in the sporting regs. It is number order:

            If more than one driver falls into a single category in b) or d) above they will be arranged on the grid in
            numerical order.

          5. That would be a good grid.

        3. Thanks Keith for the relevant §36. As stated in §36(b)i-iii. It seems an attempt must be made to qualify, no matter the conditions.

          So those who completed a flying lap will be more rewarded than those who did not attempt to drive at all. QED ;)

      2. Yes, but if loads of cars just decide to stay in the pits then how will the grid be decided between them?

        Any chance someone could attempt to paraphrase that rule? :)

        1. This is a right mess.

          1. It’s not a mess – it’s just not a situation that has ever come up before. People complain about how the FIA and the stewards make bad calls (Schumacher/Alonso in Monaco being the prime example) all the time and how amendments shouldn’t have to be made. But the truth is that the rule book can’t account for each and every scenario that can ever come up. And this is a good example: qualifying has never been cancelled before, so what is there that can be done about it? The rule book will be amended afterwards to prevent it from happening again, but that’s all that can be done for now.

      3. So, the queue we usually see at the start of Q3 will infact be the starting order of the cars,. (In case, we actually get to Q3 and no one sets a time in Q3.

  3. i think it can also happen on the sunday Morning before the race…..

    1. Yes but I was wondering how they could possibly televise it at that time with such short notice, especially now that the Commonwealth Games are on?

      1. trulli dead09
        9th October 2010, 4:51

        Yea but the thing is, I don’t know where you are from, but here in Australia by the time qualifying rolls around on Sunday morning, Delhi is still early in the morning, so maybe it won’t affect our scheduling. I don’t know about Europe though, so maybe it’ll go ahead jsut to please the European viewers.

        1. Correct. I live in India, and if quali is postponed to 10.30am tomorrow as many are speculating, then that would be 6.00am here. Commonwealth Games coverage usually begins around 8.30 – 9.00, I reckon. So I don’t think broadcast will be much of an issue

          1. I am in Australia too, but that seems promising if it will be early morning! *phew*

          2. trulli dead09
            9th October 2010, 5:07

            Yes but for all the Europeans, that means getting up very early to watch it, and as we all know, European television audiences are much more important to Bernie than the convenience of local residents of the race.

          3. Small Correction: 10.30 in Japan would be 7am in India. So it could be tight squeeze, depending on the CWG schedule

  4. US Williams Fan
    9th October 2010, 4:26

    Sunday morning would make the most sense in the event of poor weather – as long as the weather is not predicted to worsen that is.

  5. Force India via Twitter:

    “…Likely that the safety car will be sent out to inspect conditions. Qualifying may be delayed until the FIA deems it safe for cars to go out…”

    1. hi becken been a long time mate. F1 Around was really good.

      1. Oh, yeah, Zero. It WAS… thanks, mate! ;)

  6. Will Buxton via Twitter:

    “…Hearing that Charlie Whiting will make a decision on qualifying at 13:50 local time here in Suzuka….”

  7. For those of you worried about missing qualifying (UK, sorry Aussies), it’s sure to be broadcast on BBC red button and online, no worries :)

  8. The Last Pope
    9th October 2010, 4:59

    They have a grid right there with the combined practice times, that is what they would use.

    About the Torro Rosso cars, in a way its kind of simalar to what Schumacher did in monaco 2006. Is stopping in the middle of the track on purpose an offence in its self or was it in 2006 only a problem to do so because
    it caused disruption and danger to other drivers and it was cheating? In torro rosso’s case there COULD have been another driver behind them but there wasn’t and even then they wouldn’t have done it if there was and also they wern’t trying to cheat. I’m guessing they will still get a fine and a telling off though.

    1. Toro Rosso guys were actually practicing their starts, nothing wrong. All drivers do that.

      1. Not on the grid with an open track they don’t. They do it at the end of the pit lane.

    2. I got mixed up with moto gp qualifying rules. They do use practice times if qualifying is canceled, F1 obviously doesn’t.

  9. Can we decide the grid order based on friday practice if quali is canceled?

    1. Nope – as Keith posted above, the order goes like this:

      1) Drivers who attempted qualifying laps
      2) Drivers who did not leave pit lane
      3) Drivers who did not leave their pit box

      In the case of number two and number three, the cars will then be lined up in numerical order.

      1. No Quarter (@)
        9th October 2010, 5:47

        Thanks Captain Tightpants!

  10. No Quarter (@)
    9th October 2010, 5:58

    Are conditions really that bad? Or are the new generation drivers not as good as the drivers from the older era?

    I remember so many races from the 90’s when it looked even worse & this isn’t even a race but only quali.

    I think Lewis Hamilton was exaggerating a bit on his team radio when he said that the conditions are unbelievable.

    I think Fuji 2007 was even worse. Hope we have a quali, else me Saturday is spoiled :(

    1. Can you not see the track at the moment? There’s no way they can do anything in this.

      1. No Quarter (@)
        9th October 2010, 6:07

        I think 1989 Adelaide was even worse.

    2. Isn’t he number 01 or 02? I think he’s hoping for a numerical order starting grid…

  11. I think that the drivers P1 and P2 practice times should be combined to make up the grid positions if Quali is not able to be run.

  12. Ted Kravitz asking Glock, where the standing water is. Glock sums it up: well its in corner 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, more or less all over the track.

    Really only a power boat would make setting a time in that sensible.

  13. trulli dead09
    9th October 2010, 6:22

    Just watched Wurz take the safety car for a spin around the track, the water is bad in sector 1 through the Esses but it seems to ease off after that, so qualy might still start in 10 minutes

    1. trulli dead09
      9th October 2010, 6:22

      no just got delayed until #pm local time :(

  14. Even though there was no qualifying session I thoroughly enjoyed the BBC’s coverage. Lots of impromptu interviews and great to see drivers’ personalities shine.

  15. I wonder if anyone predicted Button on pole because his car is number 1 in the predictions competition?

    1. If it worsens tomorrow then the race will be canceled. Though forecasts predict it will sunshine for tomorrow!

  16. I believe what Hamilton said was: “Impossible to drive out here. WHOOAA! There are massive, massive rivers pretty much everywhere.”

  17. In Australia will the race be over in time for the bathurst 1000 to start because once that starts i will not be moving from the couch all day GO FORD !!!!!!!!!!!!

  18. If it rains on raceday then Torro Rosso have a slight advantage.

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