A typhoon off the coast of Japan could threaten the Japanese Formula One Grand Prix scheduled to take place at the Suzuka circuit this Sunday, the sport's official weather forecaster warned.

Typhoon Phanfone, classed a category four storm, is lurking south of Japan over the Western Pacific ocean on Thursday, forecaster UBIMET said, but was forecast to move north-west on Friday, packing maximum average winds of up to 240 kilometres per hour.

Although the storm is expected to pass south of Suzuka on Sunday day, rain from the typhoon's northern edge could drench the circuit, steadily increasing in intensity, on the morning of the race which is scheduled to start at 1500 local time.

"There are still big uncertainties for the storm track in the coming days," UBIMET said in a statement.

"The current forecast track for typhoon Phanfone keeps the eye of the storm to the southeast of Japan on Sunday but with associated rainbands extending north towards Suzuka during the morning.

"Once it starts the rain is likely to be prolonged and become increasingly heavy. At this time, nothing too severe is expected before Monday."

Source: Reuters