Wet start to weekend, windy race likely for F1’s Suzuka return

2022 Japanese Grand Prix weather

Posted on

| Written by

Formula 1 looks set for a wet and windy return to the Suzuka circuit when practice for the first Japanese Grand Prix for three years begins on Friday.

Japan’s round of the world championship has been at the mercy of the country’s typhoon season over the years. The last race weekend in 2019 saw all Saturday running cancelled for safety reasons due to concern over Typhoon Hagibis. Qualifying was postponed to Sunday morning – emulating the events of the 2004 and 2010 weekends where Saturday’s session was also postponed due to weather concerns.

This year, a cooler weekend than usual awaits the teams as they return to the famous figure-of-eight circuit. There is significant rain predicted for Friday afternoon when both practice sessions are due to take place, which could cause teams major headaches for the rest of the weekend and reduce opportunity to gather data for their race strategies. It’s also bad news for Pirelli, as the second practice session is due to be extended by 30 minutes for tyre testing.

Qualifying day on Saturday should, fortunately, be free from any rain. Cool temperatures under and around 20C are likely but little cloud cover is expected, making Saturday’s final practice session vital as teams could have only one hour to enjoy dry running.

Sunday could start with rain falling over the circuit in the early hours, but this is expected to stop long before pre-race ceremonies begin. Fairly overcast conditions are likely, however, while the biggest concern for drivers will be the winds which will be at their highest over the weekend during the race. With Suzuka famed for its sweeping, high-speed corners, drivers will have to keep alert to avoid losing control in the blustery conditions.

The lower temperatures will also add an interesting dynamic to the race weekend as Pirelli will bring its hardest combination of tyre compounds to Suzuka, possibly providing a challenge to teams that struggle to generate heat into their tyres, such as Mercedes. This will be the final time Pirelli’s hardest C1 compound appears in 2022.

Suzuka has often been one of the venues on the F1 calendar most likely to be affected by inclement weather conditions. It has played host to many heavily wet rounds over the years, including the 1994 Japanese Grand Prix and the tragic race in 2014 in which Marussia driver Jules Bianchi suffered ultimately fatal injuries after crashing in heavily wet conditions.

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

For more updates on the track conditions during each session keep an eye on RaceFans Live and the RaceFans Twitter account.

2022 Japanese Grand Prix

Browse all 2022 Japanese Grand Prix articles

Author information

Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

5 comments on “Wet start to weekend, windy race likely for F1’s Suzuka return”

  1. Obviously I don’t wish anyone to get hurt, and hopefully we’ve resolved the daylight issue. But I do like these chaotic conditions that really allows talent to shine.

    I wonder if these ground effect cars are better than the previous generations in blustery conditions?

    Should be a fun race regardless.

    1. @bernasaurus Friday & Saturday sessions have got brought forward, which means FP2 & more critically, qualifying starts with more time in hand before the sunset, so at least more flexibility in any possible delay case.

      1. @jerejj thanks – makes perfect sense. Especially now that European TV schedules don’t seem to have the power they used to. Rushing to get sessions done before the moon appears always seemed ridiculous.

  2. Suzuka is fantastic in the rain! A rainy race there or at Spa always delivers.

  3. Not necessarily cooler than usual for this time of year or definitely not for Saturday.

Comments are closed.