F1 cancels all Saturday running due to Typhoon Hagibis

SUZUKA (Reuters) – Organisers of Japan’s Formula One Grand Prix have cancelled all practice and qualifying sessions scheduled for Saturday due to the approach of Typhoon Hagibis.

Originally scheduled to take place at 3 p.m. on Saturday (0600 GMT), the hour-long qualifying session that decides the grid order for the race will now be held at 10 a.m. (0100 GMT) on Sunday, a revised schedule issued by organisers showed.

The final practice session, which would normally take place before qualifying, will not be held. The race will go ahead as planned at 2:10 p.m. (0510 GMT) on Sunday.

Formula One’s governing body, the FIA, said it agreed with the decision taken by the race promoters and the Japanese Automobile Federation (JAF).

FIA and Formula One support this decision in the interest of safety for the spectators, competitors and everyone at theSuzuka Circuit,” it said in a statement.

The circuit would be closed to the public and the media on Saturday, it added.

Typhoon Hagibis, categorised as a ‘super-typhoon’, is predicted to be one of the most violent to hit the region in recent years and is expected to strike the Tokyo area this weekend.

It has already forced the cancellation of two rugby World Cup matches.

Formula One races at the Suzuka circuit, located about 300 kilometres to the southwest of Tokyo.

The 2014 edition of the race was held in the wet with rain from the approaching Typhoon Phanfone drenching the track. An accident during the race caused the death of driver Jules Bianchi.

Qualifying for the race in 2004 and 2010 was also postponed to Sunday due storms.

(Reporting by Abhishek Takle; editing by Peter Rutherford)

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