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As it happened: Chinese Grand Prix Weather
By Emlyn Hughes
The live commentary has ended. No further updates will be posted.
Mon 15:00 Formula 1 is heading to China for the third round of the 2009 campaign and an early visit to the Shanghai International Circuit. This year's calendar sees the Chinese race take place in April, rather than the customary late-season that slot the event has held since its inception in 2004.

From a weather point of view, the change in date means we can expect some slightly different conditions. In particular, things have been a bit chilly in Shanghai for the last few weeks and the continuing trend of cool temperatures is set to be the dominant weather factor for this weekend.

Current predictions suggest the best weather will be on Saturday for qualifying, but temperatures will only be around 18 Celsius. This will no doubt lead to concerns that the drivers will struggle to build heat into their tyres - particularly with the harder rubber option.

The track action is likely to take place under mainly cloudy conditions, but with some sunny spells - particularly on Saturday.

Rain threatened during last year's race, but never arrived, and at the moment the chance of rain affecting the track action this time around is low.

The next rain currently predicted at the circuit location is on Sunday night and into Monday morning - after the race. However, the timing of this rain will have to be monitored, just in case it does arrive a little early.

This summary from accurately reflects the current thinking of the GFS weather model, and is the likely weather picture for the event based on the long-range predictions.

AUTOSPORT Live will continue to monitor the weather forecasts and will provide an update as the weekend approaches.

ShanghaiWed 12:30 The Chinese Grand Prix is set for fair weather this weekend, while all around Formula 1 the discussions and debates rage following the recent FIA International Court of Appeal decision in Paris.

At the Shanghai International Circuit, the teams are wrapping up a busy day of routine logistics and preparation work ahead of the race meeting.

Dry conditions have been forecast for some time, with eastern China experiencing a cool but dry spell of weather. However, on Sunday evening, a deepening low pressure system will bring heavy rain with storms, affecting travellers who plan to leave the Shanghai area late on Sunday.

Thursday will be dry with some sunny spells and occasional cloud cover, but when the sun is masked it will feel chilly at just 15 degrees Celsius. Friday and Saturday will be a repeat performance with pleasant, dry weather and increasing periods of sunshine. As we move through the weekend, maximum temperatures will rise - 18 degrees on Friday and up to 21 degrees on Saturday.

One factor that will cause slight concern to the teams and race engineers over the weekend will be the wind. A brisk breeze of up to 20 mph is expected on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The wind direction is expected to change as well - coming from the north-west on Friday, veering round to a southerly on Saturday and Sunday. This will create set-up issues for the drivers and also accounts for the rise in temperature later in the weekend, as we see warmer air move into the Shanghai area.

Race day is expected to become a little more cloudy, as the low moves in from the west, but the grand prix will be dry - although breezy - with a maximum temperature of 22 degrees Celsius.

Join us on AUTOSPORT Live for full coverage of the Chinese Grand Prix weekend. We will begin with the first practice sessions at 01:45 GMT on Friday.

ShanghaiFri 09:14 The first day of practice in Shanghai saw the cars take to the circuit under largely clear skies and cool air and track temperatures, with Jenson Button leading the charge in his Brawn Mercedes, throwing down the gauntlet to the rest of the field.

The weather was almost perfect for the drivers: cool air temperatures to keep the cockpit temperatures down and excellent visibility with no clouds to be seen - although a bit too cool for the harder tyre option, particularly in the morning.

Tomorrow, things will change slightly, and there is possibly a sting in the tail on Sunday ...

Saturday will be another dry day at the circuit. But, with a large low pressure system building in central China and slowly heading east towards the coast, cloud cover will roll in from time to time. Sunny intervals and occasional cloudy spells are on the menu, with temperatures rising slightly to around 20 degrees Celsius. Practice three and qualifying will therefore take place on a dry track.

On Monday, when the Chinese forecast was first issued, we mentioned the possibility of the low moving in late on Sunday, soon after the grand prix.

All week the weather models have been projecting the timing of the rain, and as new data arrives those forecasts are continually updated. Over recent days, the trend has seen a slight acceleration of the low towards the east coast, meaning the cloud and subsequent rain is now predicted to arrive at the circuit slightly earlier than originally forecast.

The latest prediction for Sunday, at the time of writing, is that the day is set to begin with overcast conditions and rain could occur before the race is complete. Once any rain starts, it will be on for hours, leading to a very wet Sunday evening with as much as 30 millimetres of rainfall predicted.

AUTOSPORT Live will obviously continue to monitor the progress of this low pressure system, and we will publish a further update after qualifying on Saturday.

But before then, we still have qualifying to sort out. Will the Brawn GP cars occupy the front row of the grid as they did in Australia? Join us from 02:45 GMT on Saturday as we continue the story of the 2009 Chinese Grand Prix.

Sat 09:50 Sunday summary: Rain threatens grand prix

China delivered another near-perfect weather day on Saturday, with an abundance of sunshine and temperatures climbing to 25 degrees as Sebastian Vettel surprised everyone with a great, late lap to claim the second pole position of his career.

Our weather forecast throughout the week has focused on dry conditions, but possibly some rain arriving on Sunday. The latest weather models - released shortly before qualifying - indicate that this is increasingly likely.

A low pressure system is currently positioned over north and central China, as shown by the recent satellite image. The swathe of cloud and rain is slowly edging east towards the coast. Conditions will stay dry for the rest of today and overnight, but with cloud cover increasing by dawn.

Tomorrow, we start with a mixture of cloudy periods and some bright-spells - but these will be short-lived. Throughout the morning, cloud will build from the west, turning the sky overcast by early afternoon. Light showers are expected from mid-afternoon.

Rainfall projection

The image above shows the total rainfall prediction between 06:00 and 12:00 GMT tomorrow. The Chinese Grand Prix begins at 07:00.

Up to nine millimetres of rainfall is expected at the circuit during this period, from light showers and drizzle as the weather moves in, to more persistent rainfall later in the day.

Track conditions in any showers that do arrive are likely to be similar to those seen in the 2006 and 2007 Formula 1 grands prix, rather than the downpour that the Moto GP riders experienced in 2005.

Temperatures will stay reasonably warm with a maximum of 23 degrees Celsius, thanks to the cloud cover and the air stream continuing from a warmer source, but this may be insignificant if the rain does fall. The strong wind predicted for tomorrow will also cause the drivers problems with the overall balance of their cars.

We will publish an update if there are any changes to the forecast before the race tomorrow. Otherwise, please join us for our race coverage from 05:30 GMT as we look forward to the 2009 Chinese Grand Prix.

Monday 13 Apr Start GMT
 Chinese Grand Prix Weather 15:00
Friday 17 Apr
 Friday Morning Practice 01:45
 Friday Afternoon Practice 05:45
Saturday 18 Apr
 Saturday Practice 02:45
 Qualifying 05:45
Sunday 19 Apr
 Race day at Shanghai International Circuit 05:30
Emlyn Hughes and Geoff Creighton are'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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