A sudden storm catches out an FIA official in Sepang, Malaysia
Last year, most of the blame was on Bernie Ecclestone for the terible time organisation of the Malaysian Grand Prix. Similiar complaints were made about the Australian Grand Prix, as the sun was in the drivers’ eyes on the straights for the entire weekend. We all hoped that mistakes would be learner, and the start time for this year’s Grand Prix would avoid the weather and stay in sunlight. But, it doesn’t look likely.
Storms and heavy rain, like the one shown in the picture above, have been catching out the entire paddock for the last few days. A few hours beforehand, the conditions were near-perfect, with the drivers and crew getting to walk the track. Soon enough though, the track and paddock were deserted, as the rain hammered down, and fears about the race on Sunday grew.
Every weather forecasting service is stating that there will be thunderstorms all weekend long in Sepang. With the high temperatures remaining, there is a high probability of a storm interrupting at least one of the sessions this weekend. For the teams, the instant thought would be to prepare a wet-weather setup. But, what are the chances of the rain resulting in the race not going full distance?
I can’t give an exact figure as to the probability of this happening, but it is much higher than it should be. To give you an idea, F1Photos on Twitter are hosting a competition, to see who can guess the lap of the red flag being brought out and abandoning the race (I’d say around Lap 25).
Really, after what happened last year, it’s shocking to see how the organisers, FIA and Ecclestone would overlook this problem again. The start time is 16:00 local time, an hour earlier than last year, but still sitting right in the middle of the Sepang storm time range. Of course, these later times are to assist European viewers in watching live F1 races, but it really is pointless. I mean, there are constant repeats on the BBC red button, and BBC 3 later that night. The only way to correct this problem is to put the race at mid-day local time, and get all of the European broadcasters to show replays later for the not-so-true F1 fans who don’t get up in the middle of the night.
But, of course, this won’t happen, so we will have to wait in worry to see will the race get to full distance or not. It will rain, but it is now just a matter of how heavy. But what do you think?