Japanese Grand Prix 2024: Weather looming as potential disruptor

As the 2024 Japanese Grand Prix approaches, one factor is looming that could potentially disrupt the grid. No, not the planned upgrades many teams are bringing to Suzuka, nor a shocking return of Sebastian Vettel, despite the many rumors about such a move for Mercedes. Not even an emergency appendectomy, we have seen that already this season. No, something more basic threatens to shake up the field this weekend.


The week began with forecasts of rain, particularly on Sunday during the Grand Prix, and the odds of precipitation have only grown since then. According to Accuweather, there is currently a 94% chance for rain on Friday, when the first two practice sessions are held. There is also a 13% chance of thunderstorms on Friday as well. The first practice session is schedule for 11:30 a.m. local time, with the second set to begin at 3:00 p.m.

Saturday, when the third practice session is held as well as qualifying, currently looks like the best day of the weekend as there is just a 25% chance of rain according to Accuweather. The third practice session begins at 11:30 a.m. local time, followed by qualifying at 3:00 p.m.

Race day currently looks rainy as well. Accuweather forecasts currently predict “[c]onsiderable cloudiness with periods of rain in the afternoon,” and list the odds of precipitation at 90%. The Japanese Grand Prix is set to go lights out at 2:00 p.m. local time.

Rain is certainly not new for the Japanese Grand Prix, and if the race were to be held in wet conditions it would be the second time in the last three years that drivers had to deal with precipitation. The 2022 Japanese Grand Prix was marked by heavy rain, and red-flagged due to the difficult conditions. That race was suspended for around two hours before it resumed, and ended after just 28 of the 53-scheduled laps.

However, if this weekend indeed sees rain it would mark the first F1 race since last season’s Dutch Grand Prix to see wet conditions. That day saw a late-stage crash from Zhou Guanyu in wet conditions, which caused a delay in resuming the race. While Max Verstappen finished up front, there was a surprised on the podium, as Pierre Gasly was promoted to third after a penalty was imposed on Sergio Pérez. It was Gasly’s first podium with Alpine, and his only podium of the 2023 season.

Given their “challenging” start to the 2024 campaign, Alpine would love to see a similar result this weekend. Even if it has to come in the rain.

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