F1 researching wet weather racing solutions after Spa rain chaos

The Formula 1 organisation and the FIA are actively engaged in a project to improve the prospects of racing in the rain in the future.

Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB16B

The initiative is a reaction to this year's Belgian GP, where visibility was so poor that the race could not be run under green flag conditions, and was aborted after a brief period behind the safety car.

F1's chief technical officer Pat Symonds, one of the men responsible for helping to define the 2022 aerodynamic package, is studying the impact of next year's rules on how much spray the cars will produce.

F1 managing director Ross Brawn indicated that the study is also looking at how the enclosed bodywork of the World Endurance Championship's Le Mans prototypes reduces spray.

"In terms of rain there's been some quite interesting work starting to be done now on the spray and the visibility," said Brawn.

"Pat Symonds 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."

Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri AT02

Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri AT02

Photo by: Erik Junius

Brawn indicated that there's an initial belief that the 2022 package will produce less spray.

"We're going to study the spray of the new cars," he said.

"We have some thoughts that it might be a little bit improved. But it's definitely something we're going to look [into], 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."

Related video

Previous article Williams will start F1 2022 “on the back foot” by skipping Abu Dhabi test
Next article How Mercedes revived an old F1 suspension 'trick' to boost speed