The FIA has confirmed to the teams that there is no possibility of the Japanese GP being run on Saturday in an attempt to avoid the typhoon that is expected on Sunday.
However, the option remains to bring the 3pm start forward in order to create a bigger window in which to get the race completed. Today, even with good weather, it was dark by 5.30pm.
Race promoter Honda is the driving force behind the decision not to move to a Saturday afternoon slot after morning qualifying – an option that the FIA was open to. Sources confirm that Honda does not want to have to refund fans with Sunday tickets.
However Charlie Whiting confirmed that that path had not been taken at the regular Friday driver’s briefing, which is also attended by team managers.
An earlier start still might not avoid the heavy rain which is expected to fall all day Sunday, and there remains a chance that it is too wet for the cars to take to the track at all. If they do one possible scenario is a lengthy stint behind the safety car.
A race only has to run for two laps for half points to be awarded, and has to run to 75% for full points to be awarded.
In other words it would require only two laps behind the safety car in the course of the day, with no actual racing, for the driver on pole to do enough to earn 12.5 points. It will be fascinating to see how that might impact the Hamilton v Rosberg contest…
The worst weather is expected to hit in late afternoon and evening, just as the teams are packing up for Sochi.