The scheduled third practice session for this weekend's Japanese Grand Prix has been abandoned after low cloud failed to lift within the one-hour time slot allocated.

Successive delays were announced after the cloud rolled in and prevented the medical helicopter from taking off, but cars were eventually allowed out on track after half of the 60-minute session had been lost. Conditions remained dubious, however, and, with drivers reporting limited visibility at various corners, the stewards again decided to fly the red flag.

Despite hopes that the cloud would lift and allow any addition to the five minutes track time achieved, the weather proved stubborn, leading to the eventual abandonment of the session.

There are now two hours before qualifying is due to take place but, should the conditions persist, there is the possibility that that too could be canned. As happened at Suzuka in 2004 - when a typhoon threatened to pass over the circuit - the timed session could be moved to Sunday morning.



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