Formula One: Forecasters play down typhoon impact

SOUTH KOREA - A typhoon threatening northeast Asia could bring rain to Sunday's Korean Grand Prix but will not cause major problems, forecasters said.

Drivers have expressed fears of a repeat of the inaugural race in 2010, which was halted for about an hour and started behind a safety car because of torrential rain.

Typhoon Fitow is edging towards China's eastern coast but there are concerns its outer bands could bring wind and rain to the southwest edge of South Korea, where the race takes place at 3:00 pm (0600 GMT) on Sunday.

An official with the Mokpo Weather Service, the city closest to the coastal Yeongam circuit, told AFP on Friday: "Because of the typhoon, there is a possibility of some rain on Sunday afternoon but the wind is unlikely to be strong inland.

"The typhoon won't have any major impact on the race itself."

First practice on Friday morning took place under blue skies and temperatures of about 22 degrees Celsius (72 Fahrenheit).

Organisers say there is a 40 per cent chance of rain on Sunday.

Jenson Button, who has struggled for pace all season in his McLaren, said the inclement weather could play into his hands on race day.

"I really don't think any of us want a typhoon but it might bring in some interesting weather with a bit of rain, but wind is definitely not what we want.

"But rain could mix it up a little bit."