Typhoon Hagibis has the potential to reach ‘violent’ the most destructive category on Japan’s Meteorological Agency’s scale, and it’s on its way to Japan this weekend, just in time for this year’s Formula 1 Japanese Grand Prix.
The super-typhoon is currently gusting at around 240 kmh and it’s likely to peak at nearer 300 kmh later today.
Although Hagibis likely to weaken before it reaches land, according to the JMA it’s still likely to be the strongest typhoon to hit Japan this year when it arrives on Saturday.
And the big news for Formula 1 is that Suzuka – site of the Japanese Grand Prix for the past 33 years – is directly in the projected path of typhoon Hagibis.
If the worse of the weather were to hit Suzuka on Saturday, it’s not unheard of for qualifying to be delayed, taking place instead on Sunday morning ahead of the Grand Prix, when the impact of typhoon Hagibis is likely to have lessened.
Qualifying for both the 2004 and 2010 Japanese Grand Prix were moved to Sunday in the face of torrential weather conditions that made flying laps impossible on Saturday.
‘But Michael. What if the bad weather prevents qualifying altogether?? ‘ I hear you cry. Fear not – Article 36.2 of F1’s sporting regulations sets out a system for deciding the grid order based on if and when cars attempt flying laps, failing that when they left the pits, and should that not be possible then the starting order will be determined by numerical order.
This would mean Daniel Ricciardo of Renault starts on pole with McLaren’s Lando Norris alongside him on the front row.
Championship leader Lewis Hamilton would line up 15th, twelve places behind rival Sebastian Vettel who would start third.
Sadly for Williams even with this completely arbitrary method of deciding grid order, Robert Kubica would again start the Japanese Grand Prix from the back row, with team-mate George Russell two places ahead of him in 17th.
When it’s not going for you, it’s not going for you, right??
As anyone who watched the last wet F1 race at Hockenheim earlier in the season will remember, once there’s a sprinkling of rain absolutely anything is possible (just ask Daniil Kvyat) and so there might be the possibility of a point or two in the offing for one of the Williams duo with some composure behind the wheel, bold strategy and a hint of luck.