The United States Grand Prix weekend is poised to be a wet one thanks to the biggest rain event to hit Texas in many months.
That is the summation of Formula 1’s official weather forecaster, UBIMET, which issued its prediction for the coming race weekend at the Circuit of The Americas on Wednesday.
Austin has not been hit by any prolonged showers since August, but that looks set to change this weekend as all three days of on-track action are forecast to be affected by rain.
Here is a breakdown of the weather forecast courtesy of UBIMET:
Friday 23 October – FP1 and FP2
“At the start of the Formula-1-weekend on Friday, heavy, partly thundery rain is expected throughout the day in Greater Austin.
“‘During both sessions, Practice 1 and Practice 2, the racers will see quite damp and wet conditions on the track’, predicts Formula 1 Chief Meteorologist Steffen Dietz.
“Due to the compact clouds and the rain, temperatures won’t change too much during the day. After 22 degrees in the morning they will rise up to 25 degrees in the afternoon.
Saturday 24 October – FP3 and Qualifying
“On Saturday, a strong frontal system will arrive in Austin and cater for very unsettled weather. Overcast skies and partly heavy rain with high precipitation rates will affect the track, particularly before noon.
“‘During the afternoon some further, but weaker showers are still expected, so the starting grid could easily be jumbled by the rain too,’ says Dietz.
“Again, a maximum value of 24 degrees is reached in the afternoon.”
Sunday 25 October – Race
“Sunday will see again abundant clouds with probably some isolated showers. However, their intensity should not be comparable to the amounts of the two previous days at all.
“In any case, the race could see one of these showers hitting the track. Temperatures will slightly drop after the frontal passage, reaching highs of 22 degrees at most.
“The moderate-to-fresh northerly winds will lead to not-so-comfortable conditions for the spectators.”
The US GP at COTA has only been affected by adverse weather conditions once in its previous three editions, when fog caused the beginning of FP1 for the 2013 race to be delayed as the medical helicopter could not take off.
There have been numerous occasions where rain has struck during the US GP before. Here’s three of them for your viewing pleasure:
Michael Schumacher scored a crucial win in wet conditions during the 2003 race:
Gilles Villeneuve won a highly wet 1979 race at Watkins Glen:
James Hunt won in the wet at Watkins Glen in 1977: