Subscribe

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Autosport Plus

Discover premium content
Subscribe

F1 2024 Japanese Grand Prix - what is the weather forecast and will rain affect the race?

The Japanese Grand Prix returns to the Suzuka Circuit for the fourth race of the season. The event - which is normally held later in the year - is notorious for wet conditions that can make for an interesting race.

The Safety Car on track

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

The Japanese GP is being hosted in April, the earliest the event has ever been held after consistently being hosted later in the season. The race has been brought forward to be more logistically efficient along with the Chinese GP which takes place in two weeks' time.

The event coincides with Japan’s cherry blossom season and is also expected to see some significant changes to the usual weather conditions. Temperatures are expected to be cooler for the grand prix in April, with the average maximum temperatures of around 15°C compared to the averages of late September/early October which are usually 22-24°C when the race normally takes place.

Bringing the race forward also decreases the risk of rainfall, with MeteoMotorsport saying that the risk has dropped from 41% to 33%. Although the chances of rain have decreased, the Suzuka circuit is still one of the wettest destinations on the 2024 calendar.

An earlier race ensures that the Japanese GP is being held before the Kansai region’s rainy season, which takes place from the start of June to around mid-July. There has also never been a recorded typhoon this early in the year, further reducing the risk of bad weather affecting the race.

The Kansai region has not witnessed a tropical cyclone this early in the year since records began in 1951, however during that time the area has seen 38 approaching or nearby in the month of October, when the race is usually held. The earliest tropical cyclone in Japan was Typhoon Thelma, which made landfall on 25 April 1956.

Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool

What is the weather forecast for the 2024 Japanese Grand Prix?

Practice - Friday, 5 April

Maximum temperature: 17°C
Minimum temperature: 9°C
Chance of rain: 30%

Friday is set to start off chilly and mostly cloudy but should see the only potential sunshine of the whole weekend. FP1 should remain dry, however, it will get progressively more overcast over the course of the afternoon, with a slight chance of rain for the afternoon FP2 session.

A light northerly breeze of around 10kph is expected during the afternoon practice with a 30% chance of a potential light shower during the hour.

FP1 will see highs of 17°C with temperatures increasing to 15°C for FP2.

Qualifying - Saturday, 6 April

Maximum temperature: 19°C
Minimum temperature: 10°C
Chance of rain: 30%

Saturday is expected to be overcast with a potential chance of light rain but is likely to be dry. A slight north-westerly breeze of 10kph is once again expected.

FP3 will see highs of 17°C with temperatures increasing to 19°C for qualifying.

Race - Sunday, 7 April

Maximum temperature: 21°C
Minimum temperature: 12°C
Chance of rain: 40%

There is a slight chance of rain in the morning of race day, but this is expected to improve during the course of the day.

The race will start at 2pm local time (6am UK time), with Japanese forecaster Weather News predicting sunny spells before becoming overcast as the event progresses.

Race temperatures are expected to be around 21°C.

Has the Japanese Grand Prix ever been affected by a typhoon?

Michael Schumacher , Benetton B194 leads Damon Hill, Williams FW16

Michael Schumacher , Benetton B194 leads Damon Hill, Williams FW16

Photo by: Sutton Images

The Japanese Grand Prix has been affected by multiple typhoons since it was first held in 1968. The 1994 grand prix was indirectly impacted by the back end of Typhoon Zelda, which saw heavy rainfall at the start of the race causing nine cars to crash out in the first 15 laps. The race was red-flagged after Martin Brundle’s McLaren aquaplaned at the Dunlop corner, resulting in the car hitting a marshal who was attending to the Footwork of Gianni Morbidelli, breaking his leg.

Due to the 1994 regulations, the red flag split the race into two parts and the times from both sessions were added together to decide the result. This was the last time in F1 history where the final classification had been set by aggregate time, with Damon Hill in the Williams taking the chequered flag by 10.1 seconds. At the time of the red flag, Michael Schumacher in the Benetton had been leading the race by 6.8s but with Hill’s lead at the end of the race, aggregate time meant he had taken the win by 3.3s. This meant that the British driver was just one point behind the German in the driver’s championship with just one race left to go in the season.

Typhoon Phanfone affected the 2014 grand prix with an extremely wet race which resulted in multiple red flags. The race was set to run for 53 laps but was brought to an early end on the 46th lap after Jules Bianchi lost control of his Marussia a few laps before and crashed into a tractor crane, which was on the track to tend to the Sauber of Adrian Sutil who had spun off on the 42nd lap.

The impact resulted in Bianchi sustaining severe head injuries, which he later died from in 2015. The Frenchman’s death prompted an investigation by the FIA and eventually led to the introduction of the virtual safety car and the cockpit halo, to prevent a similar accident in the future.

Typhoon Hagibis forced the 2019 Saturday qualifying session to be moved to Sunday due to forecasted poor weather. It was the third time that a qualifying session at the Japanese GP was moved due to the heavy rain. This includes the 2004 race which was impacted by Typhoon Ma-on and the 2010 grand prix, which was delayed three times due to the weather before it was moved to Sunday.

Multiple Japanese GPs have been affected by the rain including the memorable qualifying session for the 2005 race, where deteriorating wet conditions resulted in many of the championship front runners qualifying towards the bottom of the grid. The race eventually saw Kimi Raikkonen take the win after qualifying 17th.

Be part of the Autosport community

Join the conversation
Previous article Verstappen’s Melbourne F1 brake failure more than just finger trouble
Next article RB F1 team to give Ricciardo new chassis in China

Top Comments

There are no comments at the moment. Would you like to write one?

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Autosport Plus

Discover premium content
Subscribe