OCTOBER 3, 2014

Typhoon delay could affect Russia GP

F1 authorities have ruled out running the Japanese grand prix on Saturday, it has emerged from Suzuka.

Bernie Ecclestone's contracts with broadcasters promise a Sunday race, and Honda-owned Suzuka is also concerned it would have to refund tickets bought for Sunday.

However, some now fear the much talked about Phanfone will become a 'Super-Typhoon' that will wreak havoc at the tail end of this weekend's F1 event.

Sources believe torrential rain on Sunday is now close to guaranteed, moving F1 meteorologist Clemens Teutsch to surmise that moving the race start from the scheduled 3pm is a possibility to "at least buy a little more time".

But he is not overly worried the race will have to be cancelled altogether.

"I don't think that is particularly likely," he told Welt newspaper. "The real problems will not begin until after the race."

Indeed, this is the fear perhaps now most pressing on the minds of F1 teams and authorities' logistical staff.

"The next race in Sochi is just seven days later," Teutsch noted.

He explained that UBIMET, F1's on-site weather experts, predict that Phanfone will spend the next few hours building to typhoon strength.

"This means average wind speeds of 240 kilometres per hour, and wind gusts of up to 300kph.

"Already at 150kph, aircraft cannot fly," he said.

With time already tight between back-to-back races in Europe, the short turnaround between flyaways in distant lands like Japan and Russia is obviously even more exposed to a typhoon-like delay.

"The biggest problem," agreed Pirelli's Paul Hembery at Suzuka on Friday, "could be getting out of here."