Drivers urge F1 to make Friday call on typhoon

Date published: October 11 2019

Sebastian Vettel wants the real chequered flag to matter again after the glitch in Japan.

The F1 drivers have urged the sport’s bosses to make a call on Saturday’s action in Japan on Friday already as Typhoon Hagibis continues on its course towards Japan.

The typhoon, a category 5 super storm, is expected to make landfall on Saturday with high winds and heavy rains.

Formula 1 have said it will decide on Friday afternoon as to whether or not to postpone Saturday qualifying until Sunday morning.

Sebastian Vettel says a decision must be made an early as possible on Friday for the safety of the fans.

“Currently it’s a hundred percent [predicted to rain heavily] so it’s quite clear,” he told MotorsportWeek.com, “but I think we will see what happens throughout the weekend.

“It’s the same thing if we have a lot of rain in other places then obviously there’s the red flag and maybe the light might never switch to green.

“So obviously it would make sense if by tomorrow [Friday] night, I believe, if there’s more evidence to give a proposal or take an action for Saturday.

“[I’m] thinking especially not for us – for us it’s nice and easy and cosy in the garage, we’re sheltered – but for all the people around the track in the grandstands et cetera, I think it’s not so nice if you sit there and 80kph of wind blasting in your face and the rain comes sideways.

“Of course there is our safety which is important but also if it’s as they say, like 150kph winds, a typhoon and people trying to come to the track, you don’t want anything bad to happen. So I think that for everyone the earlier they can tell us the better it is. But it’s not an easy decision.”

Grand Prix Drivers Association director Romain Grosjean has every confidence that F1 bosses will make the right call.

He told Autosport: “There’s supposed to be gusts of wind at 120km/h on Saturday and if that is the case, I don’t think it’s safe to be on track or in the grandstands or anywhere.

“I don’t think there’s any point in discussing it. I believe they are going to take the best decision.

“Obviously, a typhoon can change direction and so on, but so far it looks like it’s getting quite close to here.

“I do a lot of kitesurfing so I look at my apps and you can see the wind and where it’s going to be.

“The decision will need to be made on Friday night for all the spectators that are coming.”

That’s a sentiment echoed by Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo.

“Come Friday, at some point, they should make a decision,” he said. “Not wait until Saturday.

“I think they will get enough of an understanding about what is going to happen, so I think Friday night is early enough.

“If that is the case, then Sake bombs Friday night and sleep in Saturday…but I don’t like Sake!”

As for Lewis Hamilton, the five-time World Champion reckons the race organisers will already have contingency plans in place should the typhoon continue on its course.

“I think they do the utmost they can,” he told Reuters. “I’m sure they already have procedures in place to move it (qualifying) to the Sunday morning.”

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