McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh has praised officials for the way they handled today's aborted qualifying session for the F1 2010 Japanese Grand Prix, the sixteenth round on the calendar.

Heavy rain eventually meant it was impossible to run the session at the 3.608 mile Suzuka circuit and while there were two half-hour delays in an attempt to let conditions improve after persistent rain blighted Saturday's programme, race stewards finally decided to postpone the session until Sunday morning.

"Obviously, today's postponement of qualifying was extremely disappointing for the thousands of loyal fans at the track and the many millions watching on TV around the world. But it's important to frame that within the limitations we inevitably encounter when faced with constant heavy rain and large areas of standing water," Whitmarsh said.

"In such circumstances, it's neither safe nor sensible to consider driving a F1 car in anger, and I think the stewards did an extremely sensible job to monitor the situation closely before deciding to reschedule the session for Sunday morning.

"All the drivers on the grid will face a considerable challenge to take their cars to the limit in what's expected to be a tricky damp-but-drying morning qualifying session. Sunday promises to be for a thrilling spectacle, and everybody at McLaren is looking forward to it tremendously."

Ferrari boss Stefano Domenicali meanwhile was similarly sympathetic for the fans, as was Bridgestone's director of motorsport Hiroshi Yasukawa.

"For us, it does not change much and indeed, doing qualifying and the race on the same day is something we have experienced before, right here in Suzuka [back in 2004]," said Domenicali. "But we feel really sorry for the thousands of spectators who had braved the bad weather to pack the grandstands in order to watch what should have been an exciting qualifying session.

"There is always a great atmosphere here in Japan, with real enthusiasm for F1: even today you could see lots of families with their children, something that is always nice to see and not just in our sport."

"I would like to thank all the fans who came to Suzuka today despite the very wet weather conditions," Yasukawa added. "Even despite the weather many people enjoyed our activities on the Bridgestone stage in the fan zone where many drivers made appearances.

"We hope that everyone is rewarded with a full and exciting day of qualifying and race action tomorrow."

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