Japanese Grand Prix Qualifying Delayed Until Sunday Morning, May Still Be Canceled

Photo: Charles Coates (Getty)

As Typhoon Hagibis approaches Japan, Formula One officials have decided to start taking action to, hopefully, reduce any unnecessary danger to fans and drivers attending the Japanese Grand Prix. All Saturday action has been canceled, and qualifying has been moved to Sunday morning before the race.

But nothing is set in stone here. An official statement from F1 currently has qualifying set for 10 a.m, local time (9 p.m. ET), with the race beginning at 2:10 PM local time (1:10 a.m. ET). That’s about as late as the race could go; sunset at the track takes place around 5:30 p.m.

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There is also a mandated four-hour time period in which a Grand Prix can be held. Those four hours include all postponements or red flag periods that may take place—so the race can’t be delayed indefinitely. There’s a small possibility that the race could be delayed an hour, but F1 officials seem to believe that it is unlikely.

It’s entirely possible that the Sunday morning qualifying session could also be canceled if conditions get shitty enough, Motorsport.com reports. Weather forecasts predict that much of the worst of the weather will be over by race time, but that high winds and heavy rain could last through the early hours of Sunday. And it’s not like qualifying can be delayed much further than it already is without really impacting the start of the race.

If that happens, then the results of Friday’s second practice session will determine the starting grid. That would see Valtteri Bottas starting on pole position with teammate Lewis Hamilton next to him. You can view the full FP2 results here.

As of right now, it seems highly likely that the Grand Prix will proceed, even if most F1 track time ends up being scrapped—but, as with any catastrophic weather events, there are no guarantees. The best places to stay up to date are F1's Twitter account, the F1 Media Twitter account, and F1's website.

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Elizabeth Blackstock

Staff writer. Motorsport fanatic. Proud owner of a 2013 Mazda 2.