Norris: Rain visibility now one of F1's biggest safety topics

McLaren Formula 1's Lando Norris thinks a lack of visibility in the rain has become "one of the biggest topics" to address in the wake of Dilano van 't Hoff's fatal accident at Spa.

Lando Norris, McLaren MCL60

Formula Regional driver van 't Hoff was killed on Saturday on the final lap of the race after spinning on the Kemmel straight in heavy rain and being hit by a following car as he was unsighted due to severe spray.

The incident drew parallels to Anthoine Hubert's fatal accident at the 2019 F2 round, which occurred in the dry but also involved a driver being unable to react to a stationary car in front, on the exit of Raidillon ahead of where van 't Hoff's accident happened.

It also puts the much-maligned 2021 Belgian Grand Prix in perspective after it was halted after three safety car laps in the rain due to the atrocious conditions.

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According to Lando Norris, that lack of visibility due to spray is one of the main safety problem the sport must solve.

"Between so many things that are done for safety, I think this is one of the next biggest topics, I would say, that needs to be changed," Norris said.

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF-23, Lando Norris, McLaren MCL60

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF-23, Lando Norris, McLaren MCL60

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

"When you're not in the car, you don't realise how bad it is. You can't see from here to the wall [five metres ahead]. You can't see anything.

"So, if there's a car stopped here, you have no chance to react. And that can happen in Spa, that could have happened here. If someone went off up through turn two [at the Red Bull Ring] you don't see them until it's too late.

F1 and the FIA are working on wheel arches or 'mudguards' which would be only used in the rain, with a test taking place at Silverstone after the British Grand Prix.

"I think is a good thing that we're doing the test in Silverstone because you may as well close your eyes half the time going through turn two," says Norris, whose team is involved in the trial.

"It's almost a better thing to close your eyes because you have to wish for the best sometimes."

AlphaTauri driver Nyck de Vries thinks the incident shows that the sport doesn't deserve the level of criticism it gets from fans for being conservative when it rains.

"I've heard that the circumstances were very extreme, and we're always criticising the system when we are too conservative when the conditions are very extreme," the Dutchman said.

"But this is not playing around for fun. It still shows that there is serious danger. And we've got to take that seriously.

"And concerning the track and the situation, yeah, maybe we have to consider twice and look at what can be done to avoid any serious incidents going forward."

Esteban Ocon, Alpine A523, Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF-23

Esteban Ocon, Alpine A523, Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF-23

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Alpine's Esteban Ocon revealed that he had been in an almost identical situation in a wet Formula Renault race at Spa.

"I've been in the exact same situation in Formula Renault where I was looking to see where I was going, I couldn't see and there was a car on the left, also there," he shared.

"So, there's definitely something to learn with that many cars running and it's obviously a very sad day."

Norris' team-mate Oscar Piastri will conduct the test for McLaren alongside Mercedes test driver Mick Schumacher, and he welcomed being able to take part in the FIA's wheel arch trial.

"We're doing a wet weather test in Silverstone after the race with the mudguards, so the FIA is already trying to address the visibility issue," Piastri added. "And I'll be taking part in that test, so I'll experience it first-hand."

"I don't know enough about the crash to talk about what could happen after that. I think obviously, there'll be a big investigation into it. Because we obviously don't want this to keep happening."

Additional reporting by Adam Cooper

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