Despite the intensity of the rain that fell on Suzuka before the lights went out, the race started as planned at 2:00 p.m. (local time), but the Race Direction raised the red flag before to complete the first two laps due to the poor conditions of the Japanese track.
It was necessary to wait about two hours before the Japanese GP resumed with 40 minutes remaining on the stopwatch for the maximum period of three hours stipulated by the regulations to be fulfilled, which finally allowed 28 laps of the 53 scheduled to be completed. .
Despite not reaching 75% of the scheduled distance, 100% of the points were distributed due to a gap in the regulations. However, the delays that prevented the completion of the Japanese Grand Prix race have caused many to wonder what changes could be made for the events that take place in the wet.
McLaren driver Ricciardo said there could be more flexibility in start times for races in the rain, to allow Race Direction to seek an optimal window in the weather forecast.
“We want to race,” Daniel Ricciardo told a question from Motorsport.com about fans’ disappointment over rain delays.
“Where I would like and think we can do better is… I know it’s easy to say now, but we knew that rain was going to come. It’s like 2014.”
“Even if the start is moved up an hour, maybe we can do 20 laps at the start and you can still complete the race later.”
“That’s where, again, we’re going to try to learn something from what’s happened here. I know there’s television and everything, that plays into that as well.”
“But in the end, what we want is to complete the race,” added the Australian driver.
Bringing up the start time of races due to the weather is common in American categories, such as IndyCar and NASCAR, but it is not done in Formula 1.
Suzuka was the third race of 2022 to see significant weather delays. Rain in Monaco and Singapore also forced the start of both races to be postponed, with neither being completed in full.
The drivers believe the red flag was the right decision after seeing extremely poor visibility on the first lap. Carlos Sainz and Pierre Gasly were the protagonists of two different incidents, and the latter was also “shocked” after passing very close to a crane that was in the middle of the track with a red flag.
“Part of me was scared, part of me enjoyed it,” Ricciardo said of the start of the race.
“It was nice to gain a few positions. As soon as we got into Turn 1 I was like, ‘wow, there’s a lot of water.’
“But then I was glad the race resumed. I honestly thought it wouldn’t,” concluded the Australian driver who will not be on the F1 grid next season.