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Monday, February 26, 2024

F1 approaching rain “like NASCAR” could be a “disgrace”

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The perils of racing single-seaters within the rain had been highlighted final month by the fatal accident of Formula Regional racer Dilano van ‘t Hoff at Spa, with the dearth of visibility within the rain a significant factor within the multi-car collision that claimed the Dutchman’s life.

Rain additionally derailed the Belgian Grand Prix’s Saturday dash, which was shortened to 11 laps following 5 formation laps behind the protection automobile in an try and clear standing water and cut back spray.

Nonetheless, Alpine’s Pierre Gasly, who finished third, still found conditions unsafe to race because he “couldn’t see a thing” even with simply two vehicles forward of him.

In line with Pink Bull driver Verstappen, who received each the dash and Sunday’s largely dry grand prix, there’ll at all times be visibility issues in moist climate circumstances, even when the FIA efficiently implements the wheel covers or so-called spray guards it has been testing at Silverstone.

“It’s extremely tough to resolve these items. You’ll at all times undergo from it, and you’ll at all times have spray,” Verstappen mentioned after Saturday’s dash.

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“Wheel covers on a Components 1 automobile will not make a giant distinction. The security automobile additionally gave an excessive amount of spray in direction of me. On the motorway you even have the identical drawback.”

When requested by Autosport if anything might be finished to ensure F1 can proceed racing within the moist, he replied: “After I used to drive Components 3 and was within the midfield typically, I could not see something both.

“It is at all times been like that. Simply ask the older drivers in F1 too, they did not see something both.

Max Verstappen, Pink Bull Racing RB19, Oscar Piastri, McLaren MCL60, Carlos Sainz, Ferrari SF-23

Photograph by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

“In fact, sure accidents occur which have a foul end result after which individuals naturally begin to speak about it extra. However in the event you take a look at it that method, you possibly can’t actually race within the rain any extra as a result of there’ll at all times be issues with visibility.

“That may a disgrace. Then it turns into like NASCAR, they do not drive within the rain both,” Verstappen referred to NASCAR’s reluctance to race within the rain on high-speed ovals, though it has began experimenting with moist climate oval tyres so it might race in damp circumstances on a number of the shorter ovals.

The American collection additionally races on street programs in moist circumstances, albeit at a lot decrease speeds than F1 vehicles.

Mercedes chief Toto Wolff agreed with Verstappen that there’s solely a lot that wheel covers can obtain to enhance visibility however thinks various kinds of tarmac that change how water is dispersed might be price wanting into.

“I believe it is a function that all of us suppose is nice for security and for racing, the nearer you possibly can observe additionally below the rain is Positive. 

“However on the opposite aspect, there’s the physics and if there’s rain on the observe and you’ve got a ground and the diffuser, and tyres that simply hold creating giant spray, I am undecided we’re ever going to eliminate it.

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“You possibly can take a look at the tarmacs of sure tracks, how that may be optimised, and I do not suppose we have tackled that but.

“However undoubtedly, we all know what the target is, that we are able to race nearer within the rain while on the similar time acknowledging that it is by no means going to be nice.”

Extra reporting by Jonathan Noble

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