- Much of the talk on Thursday surrounded the incoming super typhoon that could disrupt Saturday’s running. Typhoon Hagibis is expected to make landfall in Japan on Thursday with wind speeds of 90 mph and heavy rain.

- A joint statement was issued by F1 and the FIA on Thursday morning confirming that they were monitoring the situation, with changes to Saturday’s timetable possible. The Rugby World Cup match between England and France on Thursday has already been cancelled as a result of the super typhoon.

- The drivers said they are now waiting on whatever call the officials at the track take, but most felt it was fairly straightforward. Charles Leclerc said it was “pretty clear” that there was ”no way we can drive” if the typhoon hits as expected, while Sebastian Vettel stressed the need to ensure fans were kept out of danger.

- Pierre Gasly said he had been at the butt of some jokes at Suzuka as his typhoon curse strikes again. The Frenchman missed out on the Super Formula title in 2017 when a typhoon caused the finale at Suzuka to be cancelled. “All the people in Honda and Red Bull are taking the piss that I always bring the typhoon here with me as well,” he said.

- The Formula 4 race weekend at Suzuka has already been cancelled, giving more breathing room for the F1 sessions should they need to be rescheduled. Qualifying would be moved to 9am on Sunday morning (1am BST) should it be unable to take place on Saturday.

- Ferrari drivers Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel both offered positive feedback after holding talks with team principal Mattia Binotto last week following the team orders debacle in Russia. Vettel said it was “pretty clear” where the team stood, while Leclerc said the incident had been overplayed. “It felt like it was a huge deal from the outside, which it definitely wasn’t, but now everything is fine,” he said.

- Ferrari is running Mission Winnow branding on its car for the first time since Monaco this weekend. The Philip Morris-owned brand first debuted with Ferrari at Suzuka last year.

- Championship leader Lewis Hamilton said he was taking no confidence or glee from how Ferrari tangled itself in Russia. “That’s not the way that I look at things,” he said. “We want them to be at their best so we can challenge them at their best, and ultimately if we can beat them at their best, then it just makes it feel better.”

- Mercedes can wrap up the constructors’ championship with four races to spare at Suzuka on Sunday by outscoring Ferrari by 14 points. Hamilton said it would be “spectacular” for the team to achieve its sixth successive constructors’ title win in Japan, but teammate Valtteri Bottas was more coy: “For sure there is the opportunity to do that, but we don’t want to think too much about it. We know the facts, and if it comes here, that’s great news; if not, there are still some races left.”

- All four Honda-powered drivers have been busy in the lead-up to this weekend’s race at the manufacturer’s home race. Max Verstappen was given the opportunity to drive the 1965 Honda RA272 car at Suzuka earlier this week along with IndyCar driver Takuma Sato. “I didn’t fit in very well, I was a bit stuck,” Verstappen said. “It was just a really cool experience.” Red Bull teammate Alexander Albon and the Toro Rosso pair of Daniil Kvyat and Pierre Gasly visited a number of Honda’s factories, including the main F1 base at Sakura.

- As well as running the updated Spec 4 Honda engine, none of the quartet will have to take a grid penalty this weekend for the first time since the summer break. They will also benefit from a fuel update brought by ExxonMobil to Suzuka, bespoke for the Spec 4 power unit.

- Nico Hulkenberg said there were no updates to offer on his F1 future as he continues to look at options for the 2020 season. The German added that he had not given much thought to a move outside of F1. “I think also for me personally, I would take some time to get clarity over what I want,” he said.

- Reigning Super Formula and Super GT champion Naoki Yamamoto (pictured top) began bedding in with the Toro Rosso team on Thursday ahead of his FP1 appearance for the team tomorrow. Yamamoto will take Pierre Gasly’s place for the opening session, marking the first representation by a Japanese driver in a grand prix weekend since Kamui Kobayashi’s final race for Caterham in Abu Dhabi 2014. Yamamoto called it a “dream” to be taking part in an F1 race weekend.

- Gasly revealed that Yamamoto got in touch with him to apologise for taking his seat for FP1. “I told him there is no big deal about it,” Gasly said. “It was already planned since the beginning of the year. I said to him to enjoy and make sure you enjoy every single lap.” Gasly and Yamamoto were teammates during the Frenchman’s one-season stint in Super Formula back in 2017.

- Sebastian Vettel has unveiled a special edition helmet design for this weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix. While it retains the white base used on his regular design, it also features a red Japanese star burst on the back and ‘Suzuka’ written in the colours of the German flag on the top.

- Daniel Ricciardo confirmed that his £10m legal battle with former manager Glenn Beavis has now been resolved. “It’s all sorted and settled,” he said. “I can’t go into details, but we both met and it’s been done, put to bed, and not in a bad way or anything like that. It actually ended a lot sweeter than it probably looked a few months ago.”

- Ricciardo and Renault reserve driver Jack Aitken got into the spirit of the Rugby World Cup by taking part in a shoot for the team in the paddock, throwing a ball around.

- Away from Suzuka, the Mexican Grand Prix picked up a gong at the Leaders Sports Awards on Wednesday, being recognised for “Best Live Experience”. Federico González Compeán, the managing director of the Mexican Grand Prix, picked up the award in London.

 

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