Usually on a Saturday of a race weekend, the talk is about lap times, strategy, flying laps and it follows the normal Grand Prix timetable of the third free practice session, followed by the Qs, one, two and three. Next up comes the press conference and other media work. However, today in Japan was somewhat different and it was all down to a typhoon that went by the name of Hagibis, which ironically enough means “speed.” What it meant for Formula 1 was a day with no track activity, with the circuit closed to fans, media and most of the team personnel, only a handful of whom were allowed in to monitor the situation from a safety point of view.
At the track. After free practice had ended yesterday, the Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow crew set about dismantling anything that the wrath of Hagibis might destroy as it passed through. The whole paddock was involved and even the seating in the fanzone area in the amusement park at the track was dismantled, while the team hospitality units were all lashed down to avoid anything blowing away.
In the garage. Inside the garages, the cars and equipment were all safely stowed and the pit stop gantry was dismantled and put inside the garage, while the panelling in front and behind the garages was removed, the shutters pulled down of course and sandbags were positioned at the base of the doors to prevent the heavy rainfall finding its way in. The pit perches were also wrapped up and tied down with straps.
In the hotel. Despite the lack of track action, this wasn’t a day off for the Scuderia Ferrari personnel. The drivers spent the day doing various forms of fitness training as well as having meetings with the engineers to prepare for what will definitely be a far busier than usual Sunday, for the team and indeed for the cars themselves. The engineers worked on various possible scenarios for tomorrow’s qualifying and the race, in a hotel meeting room set up as a proper race HQ. It’s an early start tomorrow, as teams are allowed into the paddock as from 5am. Track actions started with qualifying at 10 (3CET) and then the Japanese Grand Prix itself starts, as scheduled at 14.10 (7.10 CET).