In case you haven't caught up with the news lately, Typhoon Hagibis spared the country as it veered away from our area of responsibility. However, its new path is bringing it straight into Japan. Bad timing too as this weekend will be the running of the Japanese Grand Prix at the Suzuka Circuit.
As a result, the FIA (Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile), the governing body of Formula 1 and other major racing leagues, have decided to cancel the grand prix's Saturday qualifying session. The typhoon forced a lot of major changes to the race weekend in Japan, and it's pending any major changes to the weather as well.
Despite the call to cancel all track events on Saturday, two free practice sessions will still push through today, Friday. In fact, the first free practice session just finished with Valtteri Bottas topping the time sheets with team mate Lewis Hamilton just a tenth of a second behind. At the time of writing, track conditions are still reported to be safe with the first free practice being run in the dry.
So why did the FIA decide to forgo the Saturday sessions? Typhoon Hagibis is said to be a big storm, and the organization is erring on the side of caution. Also remember that Suzuka was where Jules Bianchi suffered a horrific accident that left him in a comatose state for months and, eventually, his death.
With no track time on Saturday, drivers will have to do double duties on Sunday. In the morning, they'll have to do their qualifying runs for an hour. After that, it's straight to race day after all ceremonies have taken place. By two o'clock on that day, the five red lights will drop to mark the start of the race. All in all, the drivers will be on track from sunrise to sunset.
Not only will Sunday be a test of pace, but it will also be a test of endurance. Who will come out on top? It's anyone's race but it should be an exciting one.