“Massive threat” to race from typhoon Phanfone

2014 Japanese Grand Prix pre-race analysis

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Adrian Sutil, Sauber, Suzuka, 2014It’s already race day at Suzuka and despite growing fears over the threat from typhoon Phanfone the scheduled start time of the Japanese Grand Prix remains unchanged.

The decision the FIA has had to make about whether to bring the start time of the race forwards is an unenviable one. The situation has evolved since the beginning of the week but has tended to involve a high degree of uncertainty about the extent of the storm’s effect on the local area.

The complexities of rescheduling live broadcast coverage, when satellite feeds will have been booked far in advance, will inevitably have discouraged a move to an earlier start time.

But with heavy rain and high winds forecast to worsen throughout the day, starting the race early may have increased the chance of it going ahead without serious disruption, and make it easier for teams to ensure they are ready to travel to the Russian Grand Prix in seven days’ time. Even after qualifying Fernando Alonso was still raising this as a possibility.

The FIA’s official weather forecaster UBIMET is warning of a “massive threat” to the race from the storm, but the governing body is gambling against that by sticking to the scheduled 3pm start time. With rain forecast throughout the day, and sunset falling at 5:30pm, it potentially leaves a very narrow window in which the Japanese Grand Prix can go ahead.

“The rain will largely be persistent – possibly with an occasional drier interlude – but also it will become heavy at times, this more likely after midday,” Ubimet advises. “At the scheduled time a wet race seems to be a likely scenario.”

There are plenty of recent examples of how Japan’s severe rainfall can make racing impossible. Last year’s six-hour World Endurance Championship round at Fuji was stopped after 16 laps, all spent behind the Safety Car. Following that the FIA-run series introduced a new rule stating that points would not be awarded for any race in which the leader had not completed at least two laps of green-flag running.

Formula One does not have the same rule, and it will only take two laps behind the Safety Car for the race to be worth half-points. Three-quarter distance must be completed for full points to be awarded, but under F1 rules all of it can take place behind the Safety Car.

Therefore race control will be aware that if they send the field off behind the Safety Car on Sunday with no serious hope of getting any green-flag running, they could be opening F1 up to ridicule by awarding points for a race in which no racing takes place.

But this is very much a worst-case scenario. It remains possible the conditions will be suitable for at least some racing to take place.

As all the running so far this weekend has taken place on a dry track, a wet race will be a nerve-shredding test of the drivers’ skills on one of F1’s least forgiving tracks.

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The race

Start, Suzuka, 2012A standing start is unlikely in very wet conditions due to visibility concerns. However if we do get one Suzuka’s long, 545m run to turn one is often a scene of drama.

Last year Romain Grosjean blasted into the lead from fourth on the grid. The year before that Fernando Alonso tripped over Kimi Raikkonen and badly damaged his championship hopes.

And as for what happens when two championship contenders share the front row at Suzuka, no one is likely to forget what happened in 1990. Not that either Mercedes driver has a particular motive or incentive to shove the other off the track in quite as blatant a fashion as that.

In the event of a dry race Pirelli expect teams to prefer a two-stop strategy with a bias towards the medium tyre. However no teams bothered to save any new sets of medium tyres for the race, apart from Mercedes who didn’t need to use them, indicating they expect to be using the as-yet-untouched wet and intermediate tyres.

Red Bull are staking their chances of victory on a set-up geared towards wet weather conditions. “On face value, sixth and ninth aren’t exactly stellar grid positions but, with the decision on set-up that we made for tomorrow’s race due to the inevitability of rain at some point, hopefully that will pay dividends tomorrow,” said team principal Christian Horner. “We will see in 24 hours.”

With Mercedes not going down the same route and Williams having previously struggled in wet conditions, that points towards a race which should be a closer contest than qualifying was. Providing, of course, that it’s wet – and not too wet.

Qualifying times in full


Q2 (vs Q1)

Q3 (vs Q2)
1Nico RosbergMercedes1’33.6711’32.950 (-0.721)1’32.506 (-0.444)
2Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’33.6111’32.982 (-0.629)1’32.703 (-0.279)
3Valtteri BottasWilliams1’34.3011’33.443 (-0.858)1’33.128 (-0.315)
4Felipe MassaWilliams1’34.4831’33.551 (-0.932)1’33.527 (-0.024)
5Fernando AlonsoFerrari1’34.4971’33.675 (-0.822)1’33.740 (+0.065)
6Daniel RicciardoRed Bull1’35.5931’34.466 (-1.127)1’34.075 (-0.391)
7Kevin MagnussenMcLaren1’34.9301’34.229 (-0.701)1’34.242 (+0.013)
8Jenson ButtonMcLaren1’35.1501’34.648 (-0.502)1’34.317 (-0.331)
9Sebastian VettelRed Bull1’35.5171’34.784 (-0.733)1’34.432 (-0.352)
10Kimi RaikkonenFerrari1’34.9841’34.771 (-0.213)1’34.548 (-0.223)
11Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso1’35.1551’34.984 (-0.171)
12Sergio PerezForce India1’35.4391’35.089 (-0.350)
13Daniil KvyatToro Rosso1’35.2101’35.092 (-0.118)
14Nico HulkenbergForce India1’35.0001’35.099 (+0.099)
15Adrian SutilSauber1’35.7361’35.364 (-0.372)
16Esteban GutierrezSauber1’35.3081’35.681 (+0.373)
17Pastor MaldonadoLotus1’35.917
18Romain GrosjeanLotus1’35.984
19Marcus EricssonCaterham1’36.813
20Jules BianchiMarussia1’36.943
21Kamui KobayashiCaterham1’37.015
22Max ChiltonMarussia1’37.481

Sector times

DriverSector 1Sector 2Sector 3
Nico Rosberg32.914 (1)41.484 (1)18.038 (1)
Lewis Hamilton32.985 (2)41.647 (2)18.061 (4)
Valtteri Bottas33.227 (3)41.741 (3)18.059 (3)
Felipe Massa33.386 (4)41.975 (4)18.057 (2)
Fernando Alonso33.467 (5)42.031 (5)18.120 (5)
Daniel Ricciardo33.517 (6)42.209 (7)18.306 (13)
Kevin Magnussen33.585 (7)42.367 (10)18.192 (6)
Jenson Button33.739 (9)42.171 (6)18.257 (9)
Sebastian Vettel33.716 (8)42.423 (11)18.293 (11)
Kimi Raikkonen34.016 (12)42.279 (8)18.253 (8)
Jean-Eric Vergne33.859 (10)42.700 (14)18.338 (15)
Sergio Perez34.234 (14)42.610 (12)18.245 (7)
Daniil Kvyat33.931 (11)42.837 (16)18.324 (14)
Nico Hulkenberg34.168 (13)42.331 (9)18.294 (12)
Adrian Sutil34.256 (15)42.668 (13)18.440 (16)
Esteban Gutierrez34.294 (16)42.747 (15)18.267 (10)
Pastor Maldonado34.311 (17)42.976 (17)18.630 (18)
Romain Grosjean34.332 (18)43.032 (18)18.615 (17)
Marcus Ericsson34.593 (19)43.459 (21)18.706 (20)
Jules Bianchi34.856 (20)43.379 (19)18.708 (21)
Kamui Kobayashi34.868 (21)43.382 (20)18.636 (19)
Max Chilton34.944 (22)43.593 (22)18.716 (22)

Speed trap

PosDriverCarEngineSpeed (kph/mph)Gap
1Valtteri BottasWilliamsMercedes315.1 (195.8)
2Felipe MassaWilliamsMercedes312.9 (194.4)-2.2
3Nico RosbergMercedesMercedes312.5 (194.2)-2.6
4Lewis HamiltonMercedesMercedes312.5 (194.2)-2.6
5Fernando AlonsoFerrariFerrari309.8 (192.5)-5.3
6Sergio PerezForce IndiaMercedes309.2 (192.1)-5.9
7Nico HulkenbergForce IndiaMercedes309.1 (192.1)-6.0
8Kimi RaikkonenFerrariFerrari306.6 (190.5)-8.5
9Romain GrosjeanLotusRenault304.3 (189.1)-10.8
10Jenson ButtonMcLarenMercedes304.3 (189.1)-10.8
11Marcus EricssonCaterhamRenault304.3 (189.1)-10.8
12Daniil KvyatToro RossoRenault303.7 (188.7)-11.4
13Kevin MagnussenMcLarenMercedes303.6 (188.6)-11.5
14Jean-Eric VergneToro RossoRenault303.5 (188.6)-11.6
15Pastor MaldonadoLotusRenault303.2 (188.4)-11.9
16Kamui KobayashiCaterhamRenault303.0 (188.3)-12.1
17Sebastian VettelRed BullRenault302.8 (188.2)-12.3
18Jules BianchiMarussiaFerrari302.2 (187.8)-12.9
19Esteban GutierrezSauberFerrari301.3 (187.2)-13.8
20Daniel RicciardoRed BullRenault300.9 (187.0)-14.2
21Adrian SutilSauberFerrari300.7 (186.8)-14.4
22Max ChiltonMarussiaFerrari296.7 (184.4)-18.4

Over to you

Should the race start time have been moved forwards? And who do you think will win?

Share your views on the Japanese Grand Prix in the comments.

2014 Japanese Grand Prix

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    88 comments on ““Massive threat” to race from typhoon Phanfone”

    1. If it does rain hard tomorrow, I look forward to Alonso’s screams to Charlie Whiting over radio:

      1. That sounds a bit sore when I read that back. I don’t dislike Alonso, just he brings up some classic high-pitched-voice radio when it rains.

        1. I actually think the first one saying that would be Hamilton, as he is in the lead of the championship and has the most to lose at this stage.

          1. I’m not convinced of that. Given that Hamilton starts the race behind Rosberg, and the likelihood of a safety car start, an abandoned race with half points awarded would see Hamilton lose the lead in the championship.

            1. That’s where 1990 comes in, and Hamilton the lifelong Senna fan.
              Lewis needs to act fast as he only has two laps, behind the safety car, to shove Nico off the track…

            2. In which instance he will be immediately disqualified from the race for causing a collision under a safety car period. That may still appear desirable if Nico would otherwise gain 7 points over Hamilton, but I can’t imagine the FIA being nice and letting him off…

              I’m going to assume you were joking, though. ;)

            3. By my math, that would put Rosberg 0.5 points in the lead (12.5 points for ROS, 9 for HAM).

              … that’s almost pointless.

      2. But that is exactly what Hamilton said some races ago. And it was a light shower.

      3. You do realize that Alonso is by far the best driver in the wet no questions asked,
        and he has nothing to loose this year ,so he will want the race to go ahead in wet conditions and try and snatch a podium or even a win.

        1. once again – please back this up?

        2. Alonso has stated Button is the best in the wet, and the numbers back that up.

        3. Button rocks in “changeable” conditions. See Canada 2011. Ordinarily, I would give Hamilton the edge over Alonso, partly because he’s starting farther up the grid, and partly because on some tracks, it’s hard to tell the difference between Hamilton in the dry or wet.

          However, both he and Alonso tend to get sloppy at Suzuka, so if it’s a heavy rain, Vettel may actually get ahead of both of them.

    2. Steph (@stephanief1990)
      4th October 2014, 17:24

      I know changing times is a pain but given that the threat is quite large and it is a *typhoon* I do think it’s daft that they’ve not put the race on earlier, even by just an hour. If it does chuck it down and there’s either a huge shunt or the cars are stuck constantly behind the safety car then this decision will make the sport look a joke.

      1. @stephanief1990 I do agree. Even with all of the TV commitments and so forth safety is paramount and if the weather is going to be as bad as expected, it will clearly be unsafe. Suzuka is a track with a lot of undulation, a crossover, and a sequence of insanely fast corners. It isn’t an easy track to drive in the dry let alone in the wet. Moving it forward wouldn’t affect the European TV schedule too much, it just means that everybody needs to get up a bit earlier. I would like some prior warning at around about now though so I can wake up knowing that I haven’t missed the race.

        1. Yes, and let’s not forget of the people at the track watching. How is it that they don’t come into consideration? They have put in a considerable more to be there those watching on tv, and their oppurtunity to see a proper race should rate high in the concerns of the FIA.

      2. I agree, but history shows that the FIA / FOM can be amazingly bad at making sensible decisions, and also don’t seem to understand that their decisions can make the sport look like a joke, using the 2005 US Grand Prix as an example.

      3. Starting the race an hour earlier makes sense since it starts then at the same time as qualifying today and most TV stations start their coverage well before the race start anyway so it wouldn’t have been much of an issue.

        But I wasn’t expecting anything that makes sense coming from the FIA anyway …

        1. Yes but, that would through so many of the FIA’s media commitments out that the FIA would have some troubles there and would be pressured not to. But I fully agree that they should start the GP 1 hour earlier to avoid typhoon Phanfone. But common sense was never the FIA’s strong point so I can’t and don’t see that this GP will be any different.

      4. Agree with, Steph, Craig, Les and Patrick.

    3. It has been years since we saw a full wet race, but we know Charlie will send in the SC as soon as there’s too much water for the intermediates.

    4. Looking at the photo of the start of last year’s race, the shadows are already quite long at 3pm. If sunset really is at 5.30, and if there is heavy cloud, it’s going to get rather dim – rain or no rain – isn’t it?

      1. Very good point

      2. That’s actually 2012 not last year because Grosjean was leading into the first corner last year and you can spot Schumacher in the background and Hamilton in one McLaren but unless the starting time was changed in recent years that doesn’t affect your point.

      3. @timothykatz Indeed. But in South Korea four years ago after a significant amount of rain they kept racing for a while after sundown, as I recall.

    5. First Fan Boost then Phanfone, what is next Fanfare?

      1. @dutchtreat, yes, we had an announcement yesterday with much Fanfare.

    6. OK. I can expect to win Alonso…which like 2010 Korean GP!

    7. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
      4th October 2014, 17:36

      I think the chances of a full points race approaches zero, because every new weather report is painting a progressively worse picture of tomorrow. It might be a bit of token act and no solace for thousands of drenched Japanese fans, but a two lap safety car parade would at least reward the considerable commitment on display during qualifying with half points. Even then there could still be safety concerns though, and I fear a potentially inevitable cancellation.

      1. “because every new weather report is painting a progressively worse picture of tomorrow”

        The forecasts have actually been improving rather than getting worse.

        The initial one’s suggested the Typhoon would hit the track early Sunday, Now it looks like it won’t get to the track until very late Sunday/early Monday morning. It also looks like the wind gusts during the race will be lower than originally expected & that it won’t be the persistent torrential rain that was originally expected.

        The worst of the weather now looks like it will hit the circuit a couple hours after the race has finished.

        1. I suspect the wind will be more of a factor than the rain at this point… last track I saw had the typhoon curving to run parallel to Japan, but the question is how much will that compress the rain/wind bands. If the storm turns a bit more out into the Pacific, it could even theoretically be a dry race.

    8. Debating wether to wake up at 5am on my only day off work in ages, just to watch a couple of laps behind the safety car and half points awarded for nothing.

      1. Don’t risk it, its on BBC any way so iplayer it and have a deserved lay in.

    9. ColdFly F1 (@)
      4th October 2014, 17:53

      why not race earlier – tape all the coverage, and send over the satellite link as scheduled at 3pm.
      I doubt that many fans will read on the the internet who won, as it is night time in Europe.

      PS – and another benefit, they can stop the action (pause replay) when they show us all the other angles off the start. Then we do not miss the racing action of lap 1 & 2.

      1. @coldfly

        I thought this exact same thing!
        It won’t be ‘live’, but besides those already on-track, it’ll still be the first viewing of the events (assuming the teams delay Tweets/don’t spoil what’s going on)

      2. To do that & not have results spoiled for some would require every broadcaster to do the same & for nobody either from inside F1, The media or Fans who see it live to discuss it at all.

        You also must consider those using a second screen for timing or additional video content. Its hard to sync everything up for non-live viewing which is why broadcasters don’t bother with the extra content for non-live broadcasts.

        Kinda on this topic, Back in the 90s ESPN would ‘pause’ the live action when they went to Ad-breaks so that viewers missed nothing because of the Ad-breaks. It proved highly unpopular, Especially amongst those who were using the live timing services (Which didn’t ‘pause’ when the race coverage did) which were just starting to appear online at the time.
        From memory they tried it for just 2-3 races but then dropped the feature after the negative feedback from fans.

        1. It’s not ideal but it’s a better situation than having the race not start at all due to heavy rain. I have a feeling we’re going to see something similar to the 6 Hours of Fuji last year. Just a handful of laps behind the safety car and then (rather unfairly) awarding half-points.

      3. I like this idea! I live in western Canada so I already PVR every race, except Canada and US.

        1. I was starting to think I was about the only western canadian who even watched the sport, let alone on this site lol. I PVR all of them including Canada and US just so I can rewatch them

      4. @coldfly Because it would be illegal, because the TV networks are paying obscene money for these ‘live’ events. It would basically result in several court battles.

        Remember, these decisions are based on contractual obligations and legal advise, not common sense.

        1. There may be clauses in those contracts that allow for some movement on safety grounds.

        2. Not necessarily. FOM could invoke “Act of God” clause, and say that they made a best-effort to satisfy their contract.

          However, for the race to move, it requires cooperation of Japanese broadcasters (Assuming it’s still true that the Japanese grand prix is filmed by the Japanese, unlike the rest of the series), the FIA and the FOM.

          For that matter, if the winds are too high to fly the medivac helicopter, I’m not sure they can start the race anyway– a couple years ago, they had to delay a session (in Austin, maybe?) because the helicopter was late getting to the track.

        3. ColdFly F1 (@)
          5th October 2014, 10:14

          @optimaximal, (in retrospect) better a court battle than what happened now.

          Also Sutil indicated after the race that the race could/should have been held earlier, but he added “We weren’t asked about out (SIC) opinion”

    10. I think its easy to sit on the outside & think that moving the start time is a no brainier but there is a lot that needs to be considered.

      TV Broadcast’s are an issue because as it says in the article broadcasters will have booked the timeslots & satellite uplink time already for the 3pm start & for many rescheduling could be a pain which may lead to many broadcasters possibly not getting any live coverage.
      Its fine for the UK as Sky have a dedicated F1 channel so can change the schedule easily, They also send the broadcast via fiber so don’t have to worry about satellite time. BBC have the news on BBC1 through the night so thats not that big a problem, But they do rely on satellite uplink to get the broadcast back to the UK so rescheduling that would be the biggest thing for them.

      There’s also the fans at the track as those coming in may well have booked train tickets & stuff around getting there for the 3pm start time so bringing the start forward may end up with many fans not able to get to the track in time.
      This is especially important to consider as most fans rely on public transport to get to & from Suzuka. One of the reasons you get so many fans staying behind after the race here is because they arrive/leave the circuit based on public transport times.

      A lesser issue perhaps is the teams race preparation procedures, Getting these cars & equipment ready for the start takes times. You have to pre-heat the oils & go through a list of procedures to ensure the car is ready & any change to that could potential cause some problems.

      As far as I am aware there is nothing in any of the regulations that specifically discusses this sort of scenario as everything is geared towards delays & not having to think about bringing start times forward as this is something that isn’t usually needed.

      1. They won’t move the start time, far too late now, I expect not much racing tomorrow.

        Heavy rain is the main problem as looks like strong winds will not arrive at Suzuka until after the race.

      2. @gt-racer The BBC coverage, like the Sky coverage, starts 1 hour before the race start so they are already live on air from Suzuka one hour ahead anyway. I suspect this is the case for most of the major broadcasters so it would be a loss of pre-race shows which is a lesser evil than potentially losing the race (actually I find a large amount of the pre-race material from BBC and Sky is quite bad anyway and certainly not worth getting up early for when the races start as early as this one!).

        1. We have a half hour pre race show in the states but the race starts at 2am so im sure nbc sports could cut off a half hour of epl replays to start on time

      3. @gt-racer, you make some valid points, but I still can’t shake the feeling that FIA and FOM are in cover-their-backs mode here. If they change nothing, they can blame the typhoon for a race cancellation; if they move the start forward, perhaps they fear people (and broadcasters) wil claim their money back.

        Nevertheless, I feel moving the start forward one hour is the sensible thing to do. At that time of day, broadcaster should be able to find an extra hour of broadcasting, fans should be able to make it to the circuit, and Europe should still be able to wake up on time for the start.

    11. FIA making horrible decisions at the behest of FOM. If the race has to start behind safety car I’m going straight back to bed because the weather is only going to get worse with a hurricane approaching.

    12. So to sum it up. Bernie keeps the obscene amount of money he charges to put on the show. Broadcasters, advertisers, track owners/promoters, teams and fans are going to get a couple laps behind the safety car. Travel to next week’s race will be a mess.

      Bernie wins and everyone else loses. Nothing unusual to see here folks, move along please. :)

    13. Just seen a forecast for 45 mph winds at 3pm…

      Can’t see them even safety car-ing it in that.

    14. The race will start on time, It will be wet & windy but drivable & they will get the race in be it on time or laps.

      The worst of the weather isn’t due until after the race anyway & even the threat of rain is decreasing now so just like in 2004 the worry will be totally unwarranted.

      1. “If conditions are such that a helicopter could not take off from the circuit or land at the hospital, due to fog for example, then the race cannot go ahead.” — From the FIA website.

    15. Formula One does not have the same rule, and it will only take two laps behind the Safety Car for the race to be worth half-points. Three-quarter distance must be completed for full points to be awarded, but under F1 rules all of it can take place behind the Safety Car.

      Therefore race control will be aware that if they send the field off behind the Safety Car on Sunday with no serious hope of getting any green-flag running, they could be opening F1 up to ridicule by awarding points for a race in which no racing takes place.

      Well, I’ve been geting used to F1 opening up to ridicule for awarding meaningless points…

      1. Maybe Bernie will suggest taking the points off this one and adding them to Brazil, so we get two double-point races…

        1. Ah, yes, the Double double-point derby.

    16. I am not going to be too happy if:

      I wake up at 6am and find that the race was brought forward by three hours.

      The race starts at 7am according to plan, but it is too wet and we spend ten minutes behind the safety car and that is it.

      There is a race, and somebody crashes very heavily at Degner or 130R whilst a deluge is happening.

    17. Why on earth is there a one week gap between Japan and Russia and three weeks then to the US Grand Prix?! Why not make it to two weeks each and there would be no problems

      1. That’s far too simple and logical for F1… plus I guess they were not expecting a typhoon.

      2. Because Bernie

      3. Russia is straight after Japan because the plan is to ship all the cargo (and team personnel) across Asia direct to Sochi. If there’s a two-week gap, it either has to return home first, then get shipped back out again *or* it goes to Sochi and sits stewing for two weeks.

        Both are magnitudes more expensive than what is currently planned.

      4. Why on Earth is there Russian GP when Russia is killing people in Ukraine and occuping Ukraine? Russian GP will be first for me in 10+ years that I won’t watch. #boycottRussianGP !

        1. @f1lauri
          Why is there a race in UK when the youth of this country are revolting against joblessness and economic disaster?
          Why is there a grand prix in USA when the US is torturing people ithout any trial in Guantanobay.?
          Why is there a grand prix in China when they are squashing Pro-Democracy movement in Hongkong and in a suspended state of war against ost of its neighbours over east China Sea?
          Why is there a grand prix in Malaysia when the government is racially motivated to supress all other religions other than Islam?
          And don’t even get me started on the European Union!!!!
          I think you should take a step back and understand that the entire world is in conflict. Don’t discriminate just because certain countries don’t fit your theories of ideology. Culture is different in different part of the world and one should learn to accept the laws, emotions, and views of the different countries just are one accepts their own.
          F1 is a sport which brings different nations together. Strive for that unity rather than making drama filled statements which politicizes the sport.
          Before you judge my religious and political affiliations, know that I am an atheist from Canada.

    18. Jack (@jackisthestig)
      4th October 2014, 20:01

      If the worst comes to the worst people can always shelter under Nigel Mansell’s moustache, IT’S BACK!

      1. Yeah!

        This was, to me, the best and most important news this week. Not the driver´s market change, not the weather, but the stache. Heaily underreported in the media, even on this site.

        All hail the stache!

    19. So move the race up or risk a(nother) PR fallout from a SC race. Yep, just what F1 and the FIA need right now. After banning FRIC, and team radio in-season; inconsistent (or lack of) penalties; now the possibility of a SC-led race, exacty what they need.

    20. “Therefore race control will be aware that if they send the field off behind the Safety Car on Sunday with no serious hope of getting any green-flag running, they could be opening F1 up to ridicule by awarding points for a race in which no racing takes place.”

      But what is better, no running so nobody gets a point, or people get the points based on the qualifying result? I really can’t decide on that. They seriously should have put the race start earlier on Sunday, if not on Saturday.

    21. Matthew Collins
      4th October 2014, 22:04

      If they had started an hour earlier, regarding transmissions etc, I’m guessing most broadcasters have a good chunk of pre-show that could get cut. Could the rest not have just show it delayed ‘as-live’?

      If they believe the threat of typhoon is really that high, perhaps they feel an earlier start won’t make any difference at all to the conditions and it’s going to be bad/impossible regardless.

      1. If they had started an hour earlier, regarding transmissions etc, I’m guessing most broadcasters have a good chunk of pre-show that could get cut.

        Good question.

        OK everyone, what part of the world are you in and how long is the pre-race build-up?

        1. NBCSN in america. Let me see….. About…… 30 seconds.

          1. 30 minutes, not 30 seconds.

        2. Austria (ORF) and Germany (RTL), 75 minutes Pre-race each, Sky has 90 minutes.

          However, I stopped watching pre/post-race-show about 15 years ago, the internet and it´s sites and forums is just so much better than TV.

        3. Canada and there is 5 mins of pre-race show. Not going to work here.

        4. UK, one and a half hours on Sky. But expect you already know that.

        5. Australia, usually the pre race interviews etc start on Channel 10 half an hour before the race, so today it would be 4:30pm, race start at 5:00pm

        6. India, one hour on Star Sports

    22. I think this is a bad idea, we will watch the cars in the box all of the time

    23. Anyone over their now near Suzuka that can update us. Isit 100% rain? Surely their is a chance is it dry?

    24. I just hope it won’t be a race behind the SC !

    25. So is it typhooning at Suzuka or what right now?

    26. and is the start time changing or?

    27. Formula-I (@)
      5th October 2014, 1:04

      What about night Suzuka race?? I see Williams tweet that the Japanese fans still in the stands at 6 pm, and there some light on it

    28. Yes, we need a live blog of the weather now. Current reports seem to show the high winds holding off until late night or Monday, but rain steady all day Sunday, i.e., today in Japan. I can’t tell the intensity from reports, but lashing rain for several hours before the start will create the kind of deep puddling a rivers that have stopped other races. If the ground is saturated, water will just flow across the circuit. I would hate to see the race decided on Q3 results, given the championship battle we have on now, and some stupid 4 lap parade behind the SC would be a farce.

    29. Before we get the inevitable complaints about the Safety Car being out for most of the afternoon, I would like to add the main reason it is seen much more during periods of wet weather: Parc Ferme between qualifying and race.

      In the old days, if you qualified in the dry and come Sunday it was wet, you had the option to soften suspension settings, raise the floor and add wing. That option doesn’t exist any more. Cars are almost always in dry-spec and at a much higher risk of aquaplaning. That is why the safety car is out until the track is merely damp instead of wet.

      Got a feeling that today might be a rerun of Fuji 2007. Lots of Safety Car, but just maybe we’ll have enough free running to have some controversy.

      1. It would be nice if wet tyres are allowed instead of the quail tyre then suspension and wing options would be open too. Most teams should be able to do that, take a partial lap to confirm the set-up and then go to the grid ready to race in the wet conditions.

    30. Here’s a link to japan’s meteorology website with data from a location close to Suzuka:

      From some radar images I saw, it seems that there’ll be heavy rain that would end before the end of the race, so I think the race will start in the wet but get dry at some point.

      Wind is another question entirely, it could easily get too windy for a helicopter, but right now wind is at 0.5m/s

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