Max Verstappen calls for more tests to create better tyres for wet conditions

Jamie Woodhouse
Max Verstappen, Red Bull, on the full wet tyres. Japan, October 2022.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull, driving his RB18 on the full wet tyres. Japan, October 2022.

Max Verstappen would happily take on a few extra testing days to help Pirelli create better wet-weather tyres for Formula 1.

The approach Formula 1 takes to racing in the rain is certainly not a new topic for debate, although the most recent rounds in Singapore and Japan have put it centre stage in the spotlight once more.

A torrential downpour ahead of the Singapore Grand Prix start caused that race to be delayed, the track ready for intermediate tyres by the time the action got under way, while at the Japanese GP spray was making the driving conditions dangerous for the drivers.

After an opening lap which brought multiple incidents from a standing start, the race was stopped for more than two hours with 29 laps completed before the race clock ran out.

And Verstappen, who was crowned 2022 World Champion after his dominant Suzuka display, argues better rain tyres are needed for Formula 1 and he would happily help Pirelli in that quest.

“I didn’t want to take a dig out of everyone, but I think we need better rain tyres,” Verstappen told reporters post-race. “If you saw what we could do in the ’90s or early 2000s, with the amount of water on the track.

“I’m very happy to have a few test days and try all different kinds of tyres, but we need better rain tyres because I think the extremes are just slow and they can’t really carry a lot of water away.

“That’s why everyone always tries to switch very quickly to an intermediate because it’s just so much faster per lap. You could see from one to the other lap, we went from the extreme to the inter and we immediately went five seconds at least faster and that’s just too big. And that’s why nobody really wants to run that extreme.

“And when it rained like it did when the red flag came out and you would have put extreme tyres on, I think it would still be really difficult to drive. But then if you compare that to 20 years ago, that would have been perfectly fine. So there must be a solution.

“Like I said, this is not criticism because I’m very happy to help out. We should look into it. Maybe we can just organise more test days in the wet and work together, to try and find better tyres to at least have an opportunity to really drive in the wet and not always only drive like two laps on an extreme, switch to intermediate and call it a wet race – because a wet race is also normally driven with heavy rain.”

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