Suzuka storms raise safety fears

Typhoon threats in Japan have added to safety concerns over Suzuka, one of the most challenging 'old fashioned' circuits left on the Formula 1 calendar

Suzuka storms raise safety fears

Weather predictions for the Japanese Grand Prix weekend point to rain at key stages. Home hero Takuma Sato said: "It all depends what type of rain we have. If it is huge rain - we were once hit by a typhoon here and Turn 1 and Turn 2 were completely flooded - we'd obviously have to stop the race. But if it's just normal rain we would be able to race. We've had full wet races here and Suzuka is always very exciting."

Jaguar's Mark Webber said: "Spray is the biggest problem when you are running together as a group, and it's tricky for all of us, the same everywhere, but aquaplaning is the thing that actually stops us running."

Webber added that he was due to make an inspection of Suzuka on behalf of the Grand Prix Drivers Association (GPDA) this afternoon, Thursday.

"It's a track that's very quick in places and, generally, if a driver makes a mistake he should be okay, but if it's a car failure it could be a problem," Webber said. "The 130R corner has been revised since Allan McNish crashed there in 2002, but we need to keep looking at the place. I'm having a walk round on behalf of the GPDA - we take it in turns. This track is one of those where, if you have an accident, you can go in pretty hard. The run-off areas perhaps need a little fudging around but generally the FIA is doing a good job (with safety)."

The Japanese Grand Prix was stopped and restarted 10 years ago due to heavy rain, when Martin Brundle's McLaren aquaplaned off the circuit in an accident that resulted in an injury to a course marshal.

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