Mercedes F1 principal Ross Brawn says Formula 1 may have to accept that there is nothing it can do to prevent a repeat of the Japanese Grand Prix qualifying postponement, if such bad weather ever hits an event again.
For the first time since the 2004 Japanese Grand Prix, when a typhoon battered Suzuka, F1 had to postpone a scheduled qualifying session to take place on Sunday. Although there have been suggestions that the sport could look into finding a way to improve wet-weather tire performance to allow cars to run in much worse conditions than is currently possible, Brawn thinks that ultimately no design tweaks would have allowed track action at Suzuka on Saturday.
"It is hard to imagine how we could cope more effectively with these circumstances," said Brawn. "We have two types of tire, and the deep groove wet is the best we can do. And with a car that weighs less than 700kg, with the size of tires we have, there is a limit to what we can do. You saw the safety car going around today and that struggled. So I don't think anything else could be done.
"The decision [to postpone qualifying] was right and I don't think there is anything we can do to change these cars under these circumstances."
Michael Schumacher backed Brawn's suggestion that no matter what is done, there will be times when events have to be delayed or canceled.
"With our cars, it is impossible to drive in conditions like this," explained Schumacher. "I spoke with Bernd Maylander, who drives the safety car, and even with that car it was very difficult. Even though the SLS has fantastic systems to stabilize the car it is tricky – so with us it is impossible.
"That is it, unfortunately. It is similar to IndyCar as they have to cancel events and delay it, and some sports are like this, unfortunately."
Williams technical director Sam Michael reckoned, however, that a return of "monsoon" tires in F1 would help cars run in worse conditions that they can currently cope with.
"Although change and things that are different makes the sport interesting, it is not good watching on television people floating boats down a pit lane," said Michael "It is funny for about 30 seconds – but not for an hour.
"To come up with something would not be that difficult. You would change the sporting regulations and have a tire available, a proper monsoon tire with 10-12mm tire thread. It would be five or 10 seconds slower in normal wet conditions, and you would run them only in conditions like today. The FIA would also have to say you have to run monsoon tires in this session or until further notice.
"In a single-tire supplier series you can do that. You couldn't do it before. If this was Sunday, the race would have been canceled and you would be into a Monday race. The cost of having a set of monsoon tires would be minimal and you wouldn't even have to mount them, as you would only use them once every three years or something. But at least there would be something there to run with."
Although weather conditions are expected to be much better for Sunday, there is still a chance of the track being wet for qualifying – something Brawn thinks could produce a mixed-up grid.
"It is probably still going to be wet in the morning when we start qualifying, so we anticipate drying conditions through qualifying and that will mean that you have to be out at the right time on the right tires," he said.
When asked what he believed would happen if qualifying could not take place on Sunday, Brawn said: "I think it is then done on numerical order, which we would not complain about! And Michael will be glad that he picked number three rather than four this year."