2-times World Champion Max Verstappen discussed concerns about visibility under the rain, admitting the problem is unlikely to be ever solved despite efforts from the FIA.
Wet races continue to stand as a security issue for Formula 1. While full wet tyres exist for racing with heavy rain, the main problem remains the spray caused by cars in front that drastically limits the visibility for the cars behind, resulting in most of the drivers complaining about being able to see close to nothing.
However, according to Red Bull driver Max Verstappen, the issue is unlikely to ever be completely solved. The Dutchman recollected how visibility has long been an issue for the sport, as he told Motorsport.com: “When I used to drive Formula 3 and was in the midfield sometimes, I couldn’t see anything either. It’s always been like that. Just ask the older drivers in F1 too, they didn’t see anything either.
“Of course, certain accidents happen that have a bad outcome and then people naturally start to talk about it more. But if you look at it that way, you can’t really race in the rain any more because there will always be problems with visibility. That would be a shame. Then it becomes like NASCAR, they don’t drive in the rain either.”
Spray guards as the solution?
Verstappen then also went on to discuss the solution tried by the FIA with spray guards as he remains sceptical on the effectiveness of wheel covers: “It’s very difficult to solve these things. You will always suffer from it, and you will always have spray. Wheel covers on a Formula 1 car won’t make a big difference. The safety car also gave too much spray towards me. On the motorway, you actually have the same problem.”
The FIA has been active on the matter and took the track after the British GP with Mercedes ‘ Mick Schumacher and McLaren’s Oscar Piastri to try wheel covers, also known as spray guards. The test was a step in the right direction but further development is required, as explained to Motorsport.com by Mercedes trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin: “They’re not ready to be moved into production and regulation at the moment. So there’s definitely work to do. They do improve the spray that you get from the tyres, but you still get a lot coming from the diffuser in the way that the rear wing’s pulling it up, that’s all very powerful.
“But interesting first steps, and we’re providing the car and some bits to do that development. It’s FIA’s project to decide where that goes next, and what happens in the future.”
Headline Image: Red Bull Content Pool
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