Typhoon threatens to disrupt Japanese F1 Grand Prix this Sunday

A typhoon off the coast of Japan could threaten the Formula One Grand Prix, scheduled to take place at the Suzuka circuit this Sunday.

Typhoon Phanfone, classed a category four storm, is lurking south of Japan over the western Pacific Ocean on Thursday, forecaster UBIMET said.

It was forecast to move north-west on Friday, packing maximum average winds of up to 240 kilometers per hour.

Although the storm is expected to pass south of Suzuka come Sunday, rain from the typhoon’s northern edge could still drench the circuit on race morning.

“There are still big uncertainties for the storm track in the coming days,” UBIMET said in a statement.

“The current forecast track for typhoon Phanfone keeps the eye of the storm to the southeast of Japan on Sunday but with associated rainbands extending north toward Suzuka during the morning.

“Once it starts, the rain is likely to be prolonged and become increasingly heavy.

“At this time, nothing too severe is expected before Monday,” the agency said.

Suzuka has experienced extreme weather in the past.

Photos: Reuters

Saturday qualifying was postponed to Sunday morning in 2004 and 2010 because of excessive rain, with team mechanics famously racing paper boats down the pit-lane in the latter event.

At the moment, it is unclear if the race will be brought forward.

But it is unlikely to be delayed if Sunday becomes a no-go as there is just a week’s gap to the maiden Russian Grand Prix in Sochi - the next race on the calendar. - Reuters

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