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LIVE COMMENTARY: 2008 JAPANESE GRAND PRIX - JAPANESE GRAND PRIX WEATHER
   GO TO LIVE INDEX ALL TIMES GMT  
As it happened: Japanese Grand Prix Weather
By Geoff Creighton and Emlyn Hughes
The live commentary has ended. No further updates will be posted.
Mon 15:00 Nestled in the foothills of Mount Fuji, the Fuji International Speedway is prepared and ready for action as the Formula One circus descends on it for round 16 of the 2008 FIA Formula One World Championship - the Fuji Television Japanese Grand Prix.

The 2.835 mile circuit is located in the Shizuoka Prefecture, just a couple of miles to the north of the town of Gotemba, with the summit of Mount Fuji 10 miles to the west.


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The weather is set to play its part this week, with a surprise in store for many when comparing with the wet weekend at this circuit in 2007. Heavy downpours are due in the early part of the week, but much drier weather is expected as we move into the event itself.

The first downpour of the week occurred on Sunday, while the teams were arriving and beginning to unpack their crates full of the equipment that is so necessary to put on the show.

Another lengthy deluge is expected on Tuesday afternoon and evening with heavy rain, as the remnants of tropical depression Higos cross Japan. The ex-tropical depression has now fizzled out, and will not be a factor in Japan's weather for the race weekend.

The trend is for an improvement in the weather from Wednesday onwards. Wednesday and Thursday should be largely dry - possibly even with some sunshine. Friday will start off dry and reasonably bright with partly cloudy skies, but during the day cloud will increase, with rain expected sometime in the afternoon as the temperature reaches 19 degrees Celsius. The rain will continue through the evening and become heavy for a time, gradually sliding away eastwards in the early hours of Saturday morning.

With the track surface having been washed cleaned by Friday night's rain, we move into two very good weather days at Fuji with no rain expected.

Saturday is set to be mainly cloudy with the sun breaking through briefly now and again. The temperature will reach 21 Celsius with a solid cloud base keeping temperatures up.

Raceday looks very good indeed, and for the last week has been predicted to be dry with plenty of sunshine and partly cloudy skies - just like the 1977 event following on from a wet 1976 race. The bright conditions will translate to a slight drop in air temperature, especially as the Fuji circuit is situated approximately 570 metres above sea level. The mercury will peak at only 16 degrees Celsius, meaning tyre temperature will again become a crucial factor during the 67-lap race.

Some slight changes are expected in the forecasts for Friday, but confidence is currently high regarding the weather for Saturday and Sunday. As ever, autosport.com Live will continue to monitor the forecasts, and publish an update if the current predictions change.

Wed 07:10 Weather prospects remain very good, ahead of the 16th round of the 2008 FIA Formula One World Championship, being held at the Fuji Speedway in Japan this weekend.

The initial forecast, published on Monday, called for some downpours early in the week, with a trend towards dry on-track running during Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

So far, those predictions are being carried through, with Tuesday evening's rain falling well into the night, clearing away early on Wednesday morning. Cloudy skies have continued this afternoon, with a much better day in store on Thursday. The sport's traditional pre-event media day will take place tomorrow, with plenty of sunshine and occasional cloud cover overhead.

Friday will dawn dry and reasonably bright, with some early morning sunshine. During the two sessions of practice, the level of cloud cover is expected to increase, resulting in overcast conditions towards the end of the afternoon, with a maximum temperature of 21 degrees Celsius. Later in the evening, the Friday rain that we mentioned earlier this week is forecast to arrive. This band of rain will be heavy at times, clearing away during the early hours of Saturday morning. In stark contrast to last year's event, there is no further rain expected for the remainder of the weekend.

The third and final session of practice on Saturday morning should take place on a dry racetrack. Clearly, this is dependent on the length of time it takes for the circuit to dry out, following the overnight rain. All being well, the drying process will be complete by the time the drivers begin the 60-minute session. From there on, practice and qualifying will see partly cloudy skies and a few brief sunny spells, with the air temperature again reaching 21 degrees.

Sunday is set to be dry but cool, with a maximum temperature down on Friday and Saturday by some margin. 16 degrees Celsius in the air will make for a more comfortable ride in the cockpit for the drivers, in comparison with the conditions conditions faced two weeks ago in Singapore, but equally the low temperature could cause issues with tyre temperature.

Of course, if there are any subsequent changes to the Fuji weather forecast, you will be able to read about them first, here on autosport.com Live. On Friday the action begins early, with our coverage commencing at 00:30 GMT. Join us then.

Green TyresThu 11:00 Thursday at the Fuji Speedway saw dry and sunny conditions as the teams and drivers carried out their traditional pre-weekend activities. The drivers walked around the circuit alongside their engineers under blue skies, peppered with white clouds, and the great Mount Fuji was clearly visible in the distance beyond the circuit.

The cars were all outfitted with their green-striped tyres as they were trundled down the pit lane for scrutineering in the FIA garage. The entire allocation of rubber has been decorated in support of the FIA's 'Make Cars Green' environmental campaign, with the sets of Soft compound tyres having one white groove and the remainder green - something that may prove a challenge to distinguish from the television pictures.

Bridgestone to run 'green' tyre at Fuji

Another interesting sight in the pit lane was the Honda team practicing pit stops using a traffic light system - similar in appearance to the Ferrari device that the Italian team has decided to shelve for the remainder of the season. Honda's front and rear jacks have been outfitted with a button on the handle, cabled to the overhead gantry, allowing the jack operators to control the state of the lights.

Honda LightsAlthough it is unclear at the moment if Honda intend to use the device in the race, the fact they were using it for pit stop practice today does suggest they are pressing ahead with the introduction of the technology, despite Ferrari's recent troubles with the system.

Ferrari revert to 'lollipop' system

The weather forecasts for Friday continue to point towards a dry opening day of practice. Cloud cover will build a little as the day progresses and the temperatures are set to peak at 22 Celsius.

Light rain showers are expected overnight into Saturday as a band of rain moves across the Shizuoka prefecture. Weather models indicate that this rain will fizzle out on Saturday morning, but there remains a chance of the circuit being damp for practice as the last of the rain moves out of the region. As Saturday is the only stage of the weekend in with a chance of rain, we will take a further look at the updated forecasts after the conclusion of Friday's running.

Sunday's forecast remains as it was at the start of the week - a dry day with notably cool temperatures of 16 Celsius.

Join us for live coverage of the Friday practice sessions from 00:30 GMT.

Fri 08:25 Following the end of Formula One practice, mainly cloudy skies have dominated the area around Gotemba and the Fuji Speedway.

Later this evening, a band of showers is forecast to move in and cross the Shizuoka prefecture from the west. Over the last 36 hours, the GFS weather model has struggled to plot the course of tonight's rain, giving out forecasts for the circuit ranging between no rain and a deluge for several hours.

However, we expect showers to cross the region later tonight, and it remains to be seen how intense these showers are. The band of showers is expected to clear away to the east early tomorrow morning, before the start of the third and final practice session. The possibility remains that Saturday's practice will begin with some dampness around - but drying all the while.

No further rain is forecast once tonight's showers blow through, leaving the Speedway to host a dry qualifying session and raceday on Sunday. The maximum temperature on Saturday is tipped to reach 20 degrees Celsius - a shade down on Friday's mark.

If the showers do hit the circuit later tonight, we will publish a further update prior to our coverage of Saturday practice and qualifying, which begins at 01:30 GMT.

Fri 21:09 Further to the Friday afternoon update, light showers passed over the Fuji Speedway in the evening. The first batch of showers moved through quickly, leaving a largely dry night across the area.

However, the picture has developed out west as the original band of showers has split into two. As dawn breaks this morning there is heavy overcast cloud cover over the circuit, with the second batch of showers due to move into the area imminently, having stalled slightly once hitting the western fringes of Japan last night.

In summary, a band of showers is now heading towards the circuit, but is losing intensity as it moves east. Light rain showers are possible for the next few hours, with just under five hours remaining before the start of the third and final practice session.

We will continue to monitor the status of this rain as the morning develops, and publish a further update if necessary. Otherwise, please join us from 01:30 GMT for Saturday's coverage of final practice and qualifying for the 2008 Japanese Grand Prix.

Sat 00:43 We are less than 80 minutes away from the start of the third practice session at Fuji, but the main news of the morning is the weather.

The autosport.com news team in the pits tell us that the track is damp from early morning rain, and that light spots of moisture are in the air. The air and track temperatures are at 20 Celsius.

Obviously conditions are grey and overcast this morning, with showers now remaining possible throughout the morning session.

Join us in just under an hour for live text coverage of the Saturday action in Fuji.

Sat 07:21 Sunday summary: Dry race but overcast.

Mount FujiFor many days, the Japanese Grand Prix has been forecast as a dry event, so an over-examination on the weather is not necessary ahead of tomorrow's race.

Dry conditions will prevail from now on, with temperatures dipping to 12 degrees Celsius overnight.

Sunday morning will dawn dry and quite bright, with some early morning sunshine. As the morning progresses, the cloud cover will build, and it will be overcast in the early afternoon during the race itself.

Temperatures will be cool tomorrow, with a maximum of just 16 degrees in the air, giving low track temperatures under the cloudy skies.

Join us from 00:30 GMT on Sunday as we build up towards the 16th round of the championship, with live text commentary of the race itself as Ferrari and McLaren continue their battle for the 2008 Formula One World Championship.

Sun 00:45 Our pre-race coverage is now underway. Join us for the latest weather updates, news and interviews as we build up to the Japanese Grand Prix:

Raceday at Fuji Speedway

  INFOBOX
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  LIVE COVERAGE NAVIGATOR
Monday 06 Oct Start GMT
 Japanese Grand Prix Weather 15:00
Friday 10 Oct
 Friday Practice 00:30
Saturday 11 Oct
 Final Practice and Qualifying 01:30
Sunday 12 Oct
 Raceday at Fuji Speedway 00:30
  ABOUT
Emlyn Hughes and Geoff Creighton are autosport.com's live commentary team. The dynamic duo have developed an inimitable style and a reputation for fast, accurate and insightful commentary. With unrivaled access to events unfolding at the circuit, they bring you the very latest, as it happens.

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