Saturday, October 9, 2010

Qualifying start delayed, could be postponed to Sunday

Qualifying has been postponed after terrible conditions hit the circuit during final practice and have since got worse.

The session was supposed to get underway at 14:00 local time but has now been set back by an hour. The track will now be inspected for a 15:00 start and that process will be repeated until there is a danger that the qualifying hour will end in the dark. In such circumstances it will be rescheduled for 10:00 on Sunday morning.

As 14:00 rolled round Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button both admitted they did not expect to drive today.

"I really don't think there is going to be qualifying," said Sebastien Buemi's race engineer, just before his driver went out on the circuit and spun during Saturday morning practice.

Lotus' Mike Gascoyne confirmed that the weather forecast for qualifying is for even worse conditions than in practice, where most drivers didn't bother to set a time due to rivers of water causing aquaplaning.

"I cannot even drive on the straight," complained Jaime Alguersuari.

Gascoyne told BBC Sport: "If it's like this, they'll have to look at postponing qualifying until tomorrow morning."

Suzuka qualifying was run on Sunday morning in 2004 in order to avoid the typhoon Ma-on. David Coulthard is taking a special interest in the developing events at Suzuka, having been scheduled as Red Bull's reserve driver for the Japanese weekend.

The team's usual reserve Daniel Ricciardo is in Europe for Formula Renault.

"Would I cope with the rigours of a race?" Coulthard wrote in the Daily Telegraph. "Well, I'm in semi race-trim now but physically it would be tough, I must admit."

In the very unlikely circumstances that no qualifying session is possible ahead of the race the cars will start in numerical order.

Source: ESPNF1

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