The remembrance of past tragedy is the convincing factor behind the cancellation of all practice and qualifying races which was set to take place on Saturday at the Japanese Formula One Grand Prix. The entire city is preparing for when the category five storm, super typhoon Hagibis makes landfall on Saturday and the organizers of the event are not taking any chances during the stormy weather. Since the strong winds are expected to have subsided by Sunday, the qualifying rounds which were scheduled for Saturday will now take place on Sunday. Even though the organizers are putting everyone’s safety as their number one priority, they remain adamant that the Grand Prix won’t be cancelled and only postponed.
Closing Down the Circuit
Due to the extreme weather expected to occur on Saturday, they have decided to close the Suzuka circuit where racing was supposed to take place, for the day to avoid all public and media to enter the premises. For safety reasons, they want the track to be empty when the storm sets in. Thus all final practice sessions will take place on Friday, and the qualifying session will start only on Sunday. There is however also no certainty that the program will be able to continue on Sunday since the typhoon is ranked in the same strength category as a Category Five hurricane and it is bound that some structural damage might occur. Thus they are prepared to possibly also only start with the qualifying sessions on Monday too.
A Lesson from the Past
The sad memory of the death of Jules Bianchi, the race car driver from France, who has to succumb due to his severe injuries sustained during an accident in 2014 as Suzuka, is still lingering in the organizer’s minds. He was involved in a crash due to heavy rain and thus abysmal visibility while racing. Racing won’t be allowed in weather conditions which might create a repeat of the situation.
Cancellation on the Rise
The typhoon making landfall on Saturday is also effecting the 2019 Rugby World Cup Tournament currently taking place in the country. In the World Cup, the option of postponing isn’t written into the rule books and cancellations were due to occur. Two matches have already been cancelled, and more might follow as Sunday’s games might be in jeopardy if the structure has suffered damage, making it unsafe to continue with the matches. The heavy rains and the rising swell of the oceans are also affecting train services and more than 1 000 flights to the country has already been cancelled for Saturday. Wind speeds of over 200 kilometres per hour are expected. Typhoon Hagibis is making landfall merely a month after Typhoon Fax hit the eastern parts of Japan. During the previous typhoon, the country suffered the loss of one life, while large areas experienced massive damage to buildings and other structures as well as power outages.