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Saturday, May 25, 2024

Visibility points in moist Spa F1 dash ‘as unhealthy as ever’

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Heavy showers, which had all however prevented operating in Friday’s single free follow session, continued to wreak havoc on the Spa-Francorchamps circuit, with the beginning for Saturday afternoon’s sprint delayed by 35 minutes.

Ultimately the race acquired beneath method after 5 formation laps to filter a few of the standing water and attempt to cut back the spray that restricted visibility, a subject that has been put again on the agenda because the deadly accident of Method Regional driver Dilano van ‘t Hoff in a Spa race held in related situations.

Drivers have been appreciative of race management’s efforts to do all the things it might to carry out for improved observe situations and clear water off the racing floor, whereas nonetheless getting a shortened 11-lap race in.

However many felt that whereas the observe itself was able to race on, the visibility issues attributable to spray have been nonetheless as unhealthy as they’ve ever been.

“I used to be in fourth gear down the straight, not even full throttle, and I could not see George [Russell]’s gentle in entrance of me,” AlphaTauri’s Daniel Ricciardo mentioned when requested by Autosport to relay how unhealthy the problem was.

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“Ultimately, clearly I am glad we acquired the race achieved. Everybody I feel is secure, however visibility… it is a disgrace.

“I have been doing this for some time now, and I do not keep in mind it like this. Clearly, the previous couple of years it has been unhealthy. However 5, 10 years in the past we raced in these situations.

“We need to race, as a result of the moist can also be enjoyable. However actually, I feel the onboard captures it nicely that we actually do not see. Something above most likely fourth gear, you are identical to this [crosses fingers].”

Max Verstappen, Purple Bull Racing RB19

Picture by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

Fellow veteran Nico Hulkenberg felt the spray has solely gotten worse because the transfer to floor impact automobiles in 2022.

“I’d say these ground-effect automobiles have made it worse. I’ve by no means identified it to be that unhealthy,” mentioned the Haas driver.

“It’s quite a lot of guessing and hoping and also you’re simply searching for these flashing lights. However in some unspecified time in the future, the spray simply will get so thick that you simply simply lose the sight of that. So yeah, not nice.”

Alpine’s Esteban Ocon felt the FIA did the suitable factor by attempting to clear as a lot water because it might, however felt the spray was nonetheless “excessive” as soon as the race acquired underway, even when the observe was prepared for intermediates.

“It was fairly, fairly unhealthy however joyful that the FIA took the time to essentially attempt to clear the water as a lot as doable,” Ocon added.

“However sure, even after we restarted it was higher, nevertheless it was nonetheless fairly excessive.

“I feel there must be a restart level in some unspecified time in the future however the rolling begin and the way in which it unfold out the sphere was the suitable choice, so I feel the FIA did a great job.”

GPDA director George Russell felt the shortage of visibility is a much bigger problem at Spa than at different circuits and proposed an answer to attempt to clear extra water.

“I feel they did a great job beneath the circumstances. It’s totally difficult, extremely harmful situations. You’re doing 300 km/h on the straight and you may’t see 50 metres in entrance of you.

“It appears notably unhealthy on this circuit. I do not know if it is the humidity or the bushes or what, however the spray simply would not appear to disperse and it is such as you’re driving right into a cloud.

“I felt like these 4 laps beneath the security automotive did not actually give us rather a lot. Possibly an answer for the long run is that if they permit us to do 2-3-4 laps at full racing velocity after which deliver the security automotive out to neutralise the pack, and go once more, as a result of after two laps of racing issues have been significantly better.” 

Extra reporting by Adam Cooper

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