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Suzuka could see first wet F1 race of 2024

There is a strong chance this weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix will be the first wet grand prix of the 2024 season based on current forecasts.

Local meteorological forecasts for the circuit, set in the coastal city of Suzuka in the Mie prefecture, suggest a 50-50 chance of rain for Sunday’s grand prix.

If that comes to pass, this weekend will see the first wet race of the new Formula 1 season and the first since last year’s Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort.

The Japanese Grand Prix has moved to April this year, making it the first time this event has ever been held outside of its traditional Autumn calendar slot.

The result is that conditions for this year’s event are expected to be much cooler than 2023, when ambient temperatures were just under 30 degrees Celsius for the race. Instead, temperatures across the weekend are expected to sit between 11C at their coolest and 18C at their highest. This weekend is expected to be the coolest Japanese Grand Prix event for many years.

Friday’s first day of practice should be dry but cool. The risk will increase for qualifying day on Saturday, where around a 30% chance of rain is expected with skies likely to be overcast across the day.

But that risk of rain will increase for race day with early projections of a 50% chance of rain over race day. If the heavens do open, it could well be the second wet Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka in the last three seasons after the 2022 race was hit with heavy rain.

Drivers and fans will likely be hoping that any rain is not as heavy as that 2022 race, however. The event was infamously red-flagged due to the extreme conditions and suspended for around two hours before resuming and eventually ending after 28 laps – just over half distance. The race was the slowest grand prix in history, with a winning average speed of just 53.58kph.

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