Advertisement

Responsive Advertisement

A Climatological Look at the 2024 F1 Calendar

2024 sees all of last year’s races retained and the return of the Chinese Grand Prix for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic. While most races retain their positions on the calendar, there are a few noticeable changes, each with varying impacts on the expected weather conditions during the race weekend.

MeteoMotorsport has analysed the climatology of each race venue on its scheduled race day in 2024 to see what weather conditions are statistically most likely at each Grand Prix this season and has compiled a list of five key things to look out for this season.


Temperature

Climatological daily temperature range for each Grand Prix

With Qatar shifting later in the year (details in the "Five Things to Watch" section below), Saudi Arabia and Singapore statistically claim the title of the hottest races in the season based on climatological average daily temperature data. Despite this, both events, held in the evening under floodlights, are expected to see air temperatures in the mid-to-high-20s.

Miami is likely to be the warmest daytime race, with its mid-afternoon start time in South Florida in early May likely to produce afternoon highs of around 29°C. Meanwhile, the Spanish, Hungarian, Italian, Azerbaijan, U.S., Qatar, and Abu Dhabi Grand Prix are climatologically projected to experience temperatures in the mid-to-high-20s.

Japan's shift to April (details in the "Five Things to Watch" section below) positions it towards the lower end of the daily maximum temperature range, alongside races in Zandvoort, Silverstone, and Spa-Francorchamps. The late-night race on the streets of Las Vegas in late November statistically emerges as the coldest of the year, although temperatures at last year's inaugural race (18°C at 22:00 local time) were notably warmer than average.


Precipitation

Climatological daily precipitation risk range for each Grand Prix

Austria and Brazil maintain their status as the races most likely to observe precipitation, with a 45% risk of rain on race day. Singapore closely follows with a 41% risk. Suzuka's move to April results in a reduction in precipitation risk from 41% in 2023 to 33% this year.

Notably, wet weather tyres are unlikely to be necessary at the Middle Eastern races in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, or Abu Dhabi. Likewise, the desert climate in Las Vegas in late November yields just a 5% risk of rainfall.


Five Things to Watch

1. Japan Moves To April: Cooler, Drier, and Decreased Typhoon Risk

Japanese Grand Prix, Suzuka, 5–7 April 2024

The desire to consolidate the two East Asia races (China and Japan) for logistical efficiency has led to a significant shift in the date for this year's Japanese Grand Prix. Traditionally held in a late-season autumn slot, the event is now scheduled for early April, coinciding with Japan's cherry blossom season.

This alteration in timing brings about a significant change in the expected weather conditions for the race weekend. On 7 April, the average maximum daily temperature is around 15°C, with temperatures rarely exceeding 19°C. This contrasts with the climatological average high of 22–24°C for late September and early October when the race has historically run.

The rescheduling to an earlier date also entails a decreased climatological risk of rainfall, dropping from 41% to 33%. Despite this reduction, it remains one of the climatologically wettest Formula 1 destinations on the 2024 calendar. The April slot also ensures the race occurs before the onset of the region's rainy season, which typically lasts from early June to mid-July.

Moreover, the shift to spring diminishes the likelihood of the event being affected by typhoons. The Kinki Region (where Suzuka City, Mie Prefecture is located) has not witnessed a tropical cyclone approaching or nearing it since reliable record-keeping began in 1951. This stands in stark contrast to October, with 38 tropical cyclones approaching or nearing the region.

Nationwide statistics further support this, as the earliest tropical cyclone to make landfall in Japan in the calendar year was Thelma on 25 April 1956 on Kyushu’s south coast. This makes a repeat of 2014 and 2019, which were impacted by Typhoon Phanfone and Typhoon Hagibis, respectively, highly unlikely.

From a historical perspective, during April, the prevailing wind direction is most commonly from the north or west, akin to the autumn patterns observed in recent years.


2. China Returns to the Calendar

Chinese Grand Prix, Shanghai, 19–21 April 2024

The Chinese Grand Prix returns to the Formula 1 calendar after its absence due to the COVID-19 pandemic, securing a familiar springtime April slot reminiscent of its scheduling between 2009 and 2019.

On 21 April, Shanghai experiences an average maximum daily temperature of 21°C, akin to the conditions expected at venues such as Melbourne, Montreal, and Mexico City. Temperatures rarely surpass 26°C.

The climatological risk of rain stands at 29%. Among the 11 races held in April from 2009 to 2019, three occasions (27%) experienced precipitation, while five races (45%) were predominantly or entirely sunny, and three races (27%) were characterised by overcast skies but remained dry.


3. Spain Shifts Later in June: Marginally Warmer and Drier

Spanish Grand Prix, Barcelona, 21–23 June 2024

The Spanish Grand Prix, hosted at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, undergoes a slight shift in its 2024 placement, moving to a date a few weeks later in June. Held in mid-May and preceding the Monaco Grand Prix for many years, the event transitioned to an early June date in recent years after Imola rejoined the Formula 1 calendar.

On 23 June, daily maximum temperatures in Montmel√≥ average 26°C, seldom exceeding the 30°C. This marks a few degrees higher than the historical late May or early June slot that the race traditionally occupied.

In the 2020 season, the race, originally scheduled for 10 May, faced initial cancellation due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was later rescheduled and took place on 16 August. That day, air temperatures reached 29.1°C, with track temperatures ranging between 42–50°C, leading to some tyre management issues for some competitors.


4. Azerbaijan Moves to September: Much Warmer

Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Baku, 13–15 September 2024

The race on the streets around the historic centre of Baku has traditionally found itself in various calendar slots, including April (2018–19, 2023) and June (2016–17, 2021–22). However, for the 2024 season, it takes on a new September date to accommodate alterations elsewhere in the calendar.

September temperatures in Baku are climatologically comparable to those in June and typically warmer than April. On 15 September, the average daily maximum temperature in Baku is 26°C, with the possibility of temperatures exceeding 30°C.

Despite the April scheduling, last year's Grand Prix took place amid heatwave conditions, with race day experiencing a high of 24°C, a noteworthy 5°C above the average for that time of the year. The hottest race in Baku occurred during the inaugural event (then known as the European Grand Prix) on 19 June 2016, where temperatures soared to 30–33°C during the race.


5. Qatar Pushed Back to December: Much Cooler

Qatar Grand Prix, Lusail, 29 November – 1 December 2024

Last year’s Qatar Grand Prix, held in early October, faced significant challenges due to extreme heat that persisted throughout the weekend. Numerous drivers described the race as the most demanding they had ever encountered. One driver vomited in his helmet, another claimed he "passed out" through high-speed corners, others suffered acute heatstroke and burns, and many bordered on collapsing from exhaustion post-race. The race, which ran under floodlights in the early evening, saw air temperatures rising to 31–32°C, accompanied by humidity levels reaching 71–77%. This resulted in a perceived ("feels like") temperature of around 44–46°C.

Following the race, the FIA, the sport's governing body, committed to taking action to prevent a recurrence of the adverse conditions. The 2024 race was consequently scheduled for later in the year and is slated as the penultimate race of the season on 1 December, a week before the season finale in Abu Dhabi. On 1 December in Lusail, daily maximum temperatures typically average 26°C in the early afternoon, while temperatures at the scheduled race start (20:00 local time) generally range between 19–23°C. This adjustment should result in air temperatures approximately 10°C cooler than those witnessed during the 2023 race. Although humidity levels in early December can reach 50–70%, the anticipation is that the lower ambient temperatures will mitigate the risk of a recurrence of the sweltering conditions experienced in 2023.


Climatology But Not A Forecast

This climatological analysis represents the average weather conditions over the last 30 years on the scheduled race date and does not represent a specific forecast for 2024. Real-time weather forecasts are based on an ensemble of numerical weather prediction models, which incorporate observations of air pressure, temperature, humidity, winds, and many other variables to produce the best estimate of current and future conditions in the atmosphere at a range of time horizons.

This analysis uses climatological data of the scheduled race date of the nearest available weather station to each race venue. Note that the climatological average daily temperature represents the average of the climatological daily minimum and climatological daily maximum temperatures. While most Grand Prix take place in the mid-afternoon and therefore coincide with typically the hottest part of the day, this is not always the case, especially for those races that take place at night. The stated climatological risk of precipitation is representative of the risk across the entire 24-hour period of the day (00:00 to 23:59) of the scheduled race date and therefore may not be representative of the approximate two-hour window of the race time.

For the latest Formula 1 weather forecast, visit the dedicated MeteoMotorsport F1 Weather Centre, which provides an overview of the current weather conditions, the latest six-day forecast, and real-time satellite and radar imagery of the circuit, and follow MeteoMotorsport on Twitter.