Both teams have asked the FIA for a dispensation because weather contributed to the delay. Due to ongoing storms, Osaka airport has been closed on a regular basis in recent weeks, which has led to freight being diverted to Tokyo. That has in turn led to a backlog in the customs warehouses at the capital’s airport.
Some F1 freight destined for Suzuka became caught up in those delays, and crucially for Renault and McLaren it included the oil and hydraulic fluids that they needed to run the cars.
It hadn’t made it to the track on Thursday, which meant that neither team could run through its usual pre-weekend procedures such as firing up the engines. Renault customer Red Bull was not affected, as the team uses Exxon/Mobil.
After some chasing by F1’s freight organization, the missing products finally made it to Suzuka overnight, so both teams sent their crews in early to ready the cars for FP1 and fire them up. That meant breaking the curfew, which ended at 7am.
There is no penalty as in Renault’s case it was the first of the two allowed exceptions, and for McLaren it’s the second. However rather than waste their valuable “jokers” the teams have asked the FIA stewards to consider it as a case of force majeure.