George Russell spoke of pride as his Mercedes F1 team prepare to take part in a test of wet-weather wheel arches which could change the dynamics of wet-weather racing.
In recent years there has been an increasing reluctance for Formula 1 drivers to be sent out onto the track when large amounts of water is present on a track, despite the presence of full-wet tyres which can clear 65 litres of water per second.
Additional reporting by Thomas Maher
That being said, it is visibility for drivers when racing in these conditions which is of major concern, that not only true in Formula 1 but also in junior categories, with criticism having been generated when a wet-weather race at Spa recently saw a collision claim the life of teenage racer Dilano van ‘t Hoff.
Mercedes prepare for Silverstone wet-weather wheel arch test
Mercedes driver Russell said it was the spray and poor visibility, in his opinion, which was the leading factor behind that tragic multi-car crash, but Mercedes and also reportedly McLaren are now set to play their part in trialling a potential game-changing concept for wet-weather racing.
Russell confirmed that Mercedes reserve Mick Schumacher will test the device, designed to ensure that track action can continue in very wet conditions, for Mercedes at Silverstone on July 13, where it is believed he will be joined by Lando Norris for McLaren.
The test is also set to examine how the diffuser on these ground effect F1 cars impacts the amount of spray, and Russell pointed to that area of the cars as one which he believes is adding to the problem.
Speaking to media including PlanetF1.com, Russell said: “I think this all came about following Japan last year.
“Spray and visibility, that is the biggest problem for us. If you’re driving around a track on your own, there’s no big problem with the wet tyres we’ve got.
“But 20 cars on the road, I remember the Japanese race last year, I think half of the drivers weren’t even flat out in the straights because you couldn’t see 50 meters in front of you.
“So obviously, the tragedy of what happened at the weekend in Spa, and that was in my opinion, more down to the spray and the visibility.
“And so Mercedes, we’re doing this test, we’re helping design these potential mudguards that will hopefully reduce the spray.
“It’s not going to take a short time to be able to get on top and understand exactly what the effect is and how quick we can implement something.
“But there’s so many factors at play, and even the tarmac itself is a slightly more open and aggressive tarmac, the water sits in, and with the diffusers, it sprays up all the water and makes things even worse.
“So again, I’m proud as a team we are involved in helping shape the future of the safety of the sport.”
Rain has been a consistent factor over the past five grands prix now, with the most recent outing, the British Grand Prix, having seen rain impact the final hour of practice and qualifying.