Torrential Rain Postpones Suzuka Qualifying to Sunday

Bad news for the 24 F1 drivers on Saturday, as the predicted heavy rain that poured over the Suzuka circuit through the course of today made it impossible for them to go ahead with the planned qualifying session.

The first downpours started from the late hours of Friday, but it was only earlier today that the weather got stormy. After evaluating the situation carefully several times, the F1 stewards and Japanese organizers decided that it would be unsafe to let the drivers go out on the track.

After several attempts to start the qualifying session – the safety car was deployed a few times on the circuit to evaluate the track conditions – the FIA confirmed at 3.18 PM local time that the one-hour qualy action will be shifted to early Sunday.

According to the official data provided by the F1 website, the first track inspection on Sunday will take place at 9.30 AM, with qualifying to start half an hour later. That means the drivers will only have 5 hours to get ready from the moment the qualifying session ends to the official race start.

This is not the first time such a situation occurred in Japan, as the Suzuka-based event has previously been heavily affected by rain. The last time qualifying and race took place in the same day was 6 years ago, in 2004, when Michael Schumacher secured pole position on Sunday – due to the same torrential rain on Saturday – and went on to also win the race a few hours later.
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