Formula 1 actively looking for wet weather racing solution

Date published: November 3 2021 - Henry Valantine

Formula 1 Turkish GP start. October 2021.

Ross Brawn has said Formula 1 are studying the new generation of cars to work out how to improve wet weather racing.

Visibility when following other cars in the wet has been a significant issue for the drivers in recent seasons, with the rained-off ‘race’ at Spa earlier in the year exemplifying how blinded drivers can be in extreme wet conditions.

But with the sweeping changes to the cars coming for next season, the way the aerodynamics are formed could lead to the cars reacting differently to wet conditions, with a hope for improvement in visibility for those following cars in front.

Having had experience of different categories, Brawn explained how a double World Champion added his input into how wet running changes depending on what you’re driving.

Kimi Raikkonen pit stop. Turkey October 2021

“In terms of rain there’s been some quite interesting work starting to be done now on the spray and the visibility,” said Brawn, per Motorsport.com.

“Pat Symonds [F1’s chief technical officer] and some of the FIA people spoke to some of the drivers in the last couple of races about their experiences at Spa, and their general experiences, particularly drivers who have raced other cars.

Fernando [Alonso] was quite interesting because he said the ability to race in the rain is much better in a sportscar than it is in an F1 car.

“And in some aspects, you’d think it might be quite challenging with a windscreen and the wipers and all the rest of it, but he said the way the spray comes off the car is different.”

Pirelli boss Mario Isola admitted after a wet end to the Russian Grand Prix that they are likely adding to the issue with their current tyres, given a near-50% increase in how much water they displace compared to previous tyre constructions.

Having done extensive testing on their new compounds, including specific wet-weather days, and F1’s managing director of motorsports added that the sport is looking into how visibility can be improved from next year.

 

“We’re going to study the spray of the new cars,” Brawn said. “We have some thoughts that it might be a little bit improved. But it’s definitely something we’re going to look, to see how we change things.

“The two big issues in wet racing are visibility and aquaplaning. The aquaplaning is a challenge for tyres, and beyond a certain point you can’t resolve it.

“But the visibility is maybe something we can improve, and has now entered into our list of things that we’re looking at, and seeing if we can have an influence on and make an improvement.”