F1's cars/tyres now worse for wet weather visibility, say champions

Previous world champions Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel say Formula 1’s current high downforce levels and wider tyres are the main cause of wet-weather visibility problems.

F1's cars/tyres now worse for wet weather visibility, say champions

With F1 still analysing exactly what went wrong at the Belgian Grand Prix last weekend as it failed to run any racing laps, there have been some comparisons with how the series managed to pull off events in the past in even worse conditions.

One of the most difficult wet races was the 2007 Japanese Grand Prix at Fuji, which took place in atrocious rain.

PLUS: The biggest losers from Spa's non-race

However, despite 19 laps behind the safety car, the race eventually got going and ran through to the chequered flag despite some incidents – including the famous collision between Mark Webber and Vettel.

Comparing the Fuji 2007 event with last weekend, Vettel denied that F1 had become too obsessed with safety and was no longer willing to take risks like it had previously.

Instead, he says that evolution of aerodynamics and tyres has resulted in cars throwing up far more spray in the wet than they have in the past. And it was the consequence of poor visibility that ultimately meant the Belgian GP could not run.

“I think the appetite for risk is the same as it was back then,” explained Vettel. “I think we're happy to race providing it safe.

“I think the cars have changed. I think there's significantly more ground effect with the cars that we have now, and more downforce. We seem to suck more water off the ground.

“And then the tyres have changed as well. I think the extreme wet tyres that we had, I remember those days made it easier for us to race in very, very wet conditions with a lot of water on the track.”

Fernando Alonso, Alpine A521

Fernando Alonso, Alpine A521

Photo by: Charles Coates / Motorsport Images

Alonso agreed with Vettel’s conclusions, and reckoned that the current generation of Pirelli wet weather rubber have very different characteristics from those used in the past.

"Tyres is the biggest thing that changed over the years,” said the Spaniard.

Read Also:

“I think the cars, for whatever reason, or the new aerodynamic rules, they have more spray when you are running behind people, and our tyres are wider now than what they were in 2007.

“Probably the extreme tyres were a little bit stronger back then. Maybe the size of the tyre was helping for the aquaplaning.

“Plus there is the nature of the circuit. I think Spa being at that high speed, with these long straights, the spray was holding there for a long time.

“So I think the conditions were not suitable to race. It was [only] a matter of time that a big accident could happen. And I think the FIA wanted to avoid that. That was the right call.

“Giving the points, this is a different thing. I totally disagree with that. But the conditions to not race, I totally agree.”

Additional reporting by Luke Smith

shares
comments

Related video

Russell knows where he'll drive for F1 2022, was informed before Spa

Previous article

Russell knows where he'll drive for F1 2022, was informed before Spa

Next article

F1 drivers call for fans to minimise flare usage at Dutch GP

F1 drivers call for fans to minimise flare usage at Dutch GP
Load comments
The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog Plus

The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog

A podium finisher in its first outing but then never again, the BRM P201 was a classic case of an opportunity squandered by disorganisation and complacency, says STUART CODLING

Formula 1
Sep 18, 2021
The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from Plus

The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from

OPINION: The headlines were dominated by the Italian Grand Prix crash between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, who had the halo to thank for avoiding potentially serious injury. But two days earlier, Formula 1 had a lucky escape with a Monza pitlane incident that could also have had grave consequences

Formula 1
Sep 17, 2021
How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum Plus

How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum

With two sprint races under its belt, Formula 1 must now consider its options for them going forward. While they've helped deliver exciting racing on Sundays, the sprints themselves have been somewhat lacking - creating yet another conundrum for F1 to solve...

Formula 1
Sep 16, 2021
Who should Alfa Romeo sign for 2022's F1 season? Plus

Who should Alfa Romeo sign for 2022's F1 season?

OPINION: With Valtteri Bottas already signed up for 2022, all eyes are on the race for the second seat at Alfa Romeo next year. Antonio Giovinazzi is the current incumbent, but faces a tough competition from appealing short and long-term prospects

Formula 1
Sep 15, 2021
The "forced break" that was key to Ricciardo's Monza excellence Plus

The "forced break" that was key to Ricciardo's Monza excellence

OPINION: Daniel Ricciardo has long been considered one of Formula 1’s elite drivers. But his struggles at McLaren since switching from Renault for 2021 have been painful to watch at times. Yet he’s recovered to banish those memories with a famous Monza win – built on a critically important foundation

Formula 1
Sep 14, 2021
How Verstappen is ruining his F1 title battle with Hamilton Plus

How Verstappen is ruining his F1 title battle with Hamilton

OPINION: The Italian GP clash between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen followed a running theme in the 2021 Formula 1 title fight. Their close-quarters battles have often resulted in contact - and although Hamilton has shown a willingness to back off, Verstappen must learn to temper his aggression

Formula 1
Sep 14, 2021
Italian Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Italian Grand Prix Driver Ratings

Two drivers produced maximum-score performances as, for the second year in a row, Monza threw up an unpredictable result that left several others ruing what might have been

Formula 1
Sep 13, 2021
Why Ricciardo was set for Monza F1 triumph even without Verstappen/Hamilton crash Plus

Why Ricciardo was set for Monza F1 triumph even without Verstappen/Hamilton crash

The clash between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton was the major flashpoint the 2021 Italian Grand Prix will be remembered for. Yet by this point, race leader Daniel Ricciardo had already done the hard work that would put him in position to end his and McLaren's lengthy win droughts, on a memorable afternoon in Monza

Formula 1
Sep 13, 2021