Race start, Suzuka, 2022

Japanese Grand Prix halted after two laps in heavy rain

2022 Japanese Grand Prix

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The Japanese Grand Prix has been red-flagged and suspended after just two laps of running as heavy rain fell.

The rain began falling long before the race got underway. It built steadily in the run-up to the start, leading all drivers to take intermediate rubber.

However when the field got away on a standing start it quickly became clear the visibility conditions were very poor.

Halfway around the first lap, Carlos Sainz Jnr spun into a barrier and retired. Shortly after Alexander Albon came to a stop with a car problem.

The Safety Car was deployed in order to allow recovery of the two cars. However with the rain intensifying the decision was taken to red-flag the race.

Soon after the cars reassembled in the pits, race control announced a restart would be given at 2:50pm local time. However as the rain continued this was abandoned, and no new restart time has yet been confirmed.

As the race has begun, F1’s rules state it must finish within three hours of the start.

While returning to the pits ahead of the suspension several drivers complained recovery vehicles including a crane were present at the side of the track.

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2022 Japanese Grand Prix

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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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16 comments on “Japanese Grand Prix halted after two laps in heavy rain”

  1. Ridiculous. We got to the point where cars are so oversensitive and badly designed that we can’t race in the rain. What do we have these ridiculous wide tires for – to cause more spray? Cars need to change substantially from these clumsy monsters.

    1. +1
      F1 is far too fascinated in being the fastest in the dry – and it comes at the cost of actually working at all in any other conditions.

      1. +1
        Has been going on for decades, design cars optimized for the dry, complain when it’s too wet, further optimize for the dry, complain that it’s undrivable.Of course the original plank didn’t help, and the weird Nurburg GP that went on for too long… Still, could have been designed around better.

    2. And as usual they were fine on inters. Race should have kept going, have the sc gather the whole field only then get the crane out, lap around for a few laps and keep racing. Instead they made sure the race was not going to be red flagged on half points but instead chose to race to the time limit so the party wouldn’t be spoiled.

  2. Time to call mythbusters to look into if wet weather racing and full wets are real or not.

  3. I drove in torrential rain the other day, with some flooding on parts of the road, and managed to get to my destination.

    Pretty pathetic that ‘the pinnacle of motorsport’ struggles in almost identical conditions.

    1. @sonnycrockett And how fast were you going in those conditions? Did your vehicle have enclosed bodywork so that spray from the tyres was reduced?

      1. As fast as I could safely go in the conditions.

        That’s what racing drivers also do, I believe?

  4. So, the cars at the most advanced racing category in the planet are unable to race in the rain, anymore.
    What a joke.

  5. This is mostly caused by the ridiculous rules that were introduced to prevent set up changes prior to the race, leaving teams to guess the best set up. Let them raise the ride height, adjust the wings, soften the suspension.

    Then the cars will be able to run in the rain more effectively. Drivers can always drive slower to be safer, but the cars need to be able to run without aquaplaning at 100kph. The teams must be able to make the required set up changes for the rain.

    This annoys me, more because we know it can be safe enough to race in the rain than anything else. It always was.

    The FIA is slowly turning the pinnacle of Motorsport and technical brilliance , where drivers and cars simply amaze spectators into a limp, over complicated, spec series where there are so many obscure rules preventing proper competition that they can’t even enforce them themselves.

    1. Sorry, end of first sentence should read ‘leaving teams to guess the best set up the day before, when conditions are often totally different’

    2. This is mostly caused by the ridiculous rules that were introduced to prevent set up changes prior to the race, leaving teams to guess the best set up. Let them raise the ride height, adjust the wings, soften the suspension.

      That’s only a small part of it.
      Wider tyres, wider and longer cars, under-car downforce sucking more water up off the track, too much aero…. Visibilty is their biggest problem these days, folllowed closely by aquaplaning.

      Setup can’t cover off any of those things.

      The teams all wanting (and getting) certain things put into the technical regs are what has lead to this. It’s not all on the FIA.

  6. Ric screwed by the team again, why

  7. I’m very annoyed by these constant delaying decisions in order to not race on full wets (for more than 2 laps).

    What I wonder is: are these full wet tyres so terrible that they’re 5 sec slower than intermediates even in wet conditions as it seemed, or is it just that they’re never used in conditions where they shine? Because in the good old days of a few years ago, when full wets were used, I remember that switching to intermediates as the conditions were improving was a risk, but it could pay off by being several sec a lap quicker.

    1. they’re never used in conditions where they shine

      Any time the track is that wet, drivers immediately complain that they can’t see.
      Despite F1 continuing to push the technical regs in the direction of lifting more and more water off the ground…

  8. Congrats to Max and Rbr (GoatNewey) untouchable this year well deserved.

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