Japanese GP red flagged due to torrential rain

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The Japanese Grand Prix has been red flagged after just one lap behind the safety car due to torrential rain at Suzuka today.

The race started under the safety car at Suzuka due to the heavy rainfall, onset by Typhoon Phanfone, but the FIA stewards soon deemed the conditions to be too bad to allow them to continue behind Bernd Maylander.

It was confirmed last week that Typhoon Phanfone was circulating in the Pacific, and would be making its way towards Japan across the course of the race weekend at Suzuka.

However, it has now hit at the worst possible moment, causing the race to be suspended despite the FIA trying to get an earlier start time. FIA race director Charlie Whiting made his concerns clear to the race promoters, Honda, but the Japanese manufacturer refused to move the time the flag dropped.

This post will be updated accordingly with news of a possible restart. For more updates, be sure to follow @F1onNBCSports on Twitter.

UPDATES

0205 ET – The race has been red flagged, with all of the drivers heading back to the pit lane in the order they were running. The only difference to the grid is that Marcus Ericsson is now last after spinning off behind the safety car.

0215 – The race will resume at 0225 thanks to a slight break in the rain. They will restart under the safety car on lap three.

0222 – Apparently this break in the weather will last for another 20 to 30 minutes, after which it will intensify once again. We’re going to get some running, but hopes of reaching the full distance of 53 laps are slim.

0225 – Race restarted under the safety car. Fernando Alonso is out due to an electrical problem on his Ferrari.

0232 – Valtteri Bottas is told that the predicted rain will come later than expected, and the drivers could reach lap 40 to warrant full points being awarded.