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Formula 1 Belgian GP

Verstappen: Stopping wet F1 races the only solution to visibility problems

Max Verstappen says Formula 1 has to accept that visibility will always be bad in wet weather unless it wants to stop racing in the rain entirely.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB19

The topic of safety has become a major talking point ahead of the Belgian Grand Prix in the wake of the recent fatal accident of youngster Dilano van 't Hoff in a wet Formula Regional European Championship at the track.

Some have suggested that the incident requires the FIA to be extra cautious about the conditions it deems acceptable to race in.

But double world champion Verstappen thinks that there needs to be some realism that visibility will always be worse in the wet – so chasing perfect conditions is an impossible target.

"It's bad, but it has been bad for a very long time," the Red Bull driver said about visibility with the current generation of F1 cars.

"So, I don't think there is a lot at the moment that we can do about it."

Verstappen said he had faith that F1 race director Niels Wittich was qualified enough to make the right call.

"We have spent quite a bit of time in briefings, and I think also from his side, he's done quite a few races now," he said of Wittich.

"I think he'd also listen to the safety car a bit, and I think he will know if it's safe or not. But the visibility is going to be bad anyway.

"Otherwise, we cannot have any rain races anymore."

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, in Parc Ferme after Qualifying

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, in Parc Ferme after Qualifying

Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images

Verstappen explained that the current regulations have made visibility worse in the wet because the tyres and cars throw up more water.

"We went to the bigger tyres, which makes it worse, because there's more displacement," he said.

"Plus, just the shape of the car, it's so big so you have more spray.

"It is worse than it was in 2016, but in 2016, it was also bad. I remember the race in Brazil where I was in the back after the pitstop, I didn't even see Fernando [Alonso] spinning off the track.

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"For the whole straight, I kept it flat, but I didn't see anything and did so only by knowing where you're going from all the other laps.

"You just keep it pinned, but if there would have been a car standing [still] I would have gone completely through it."

As well as the issue of visibility, the general safety of the Spa circuit – and especially the Eau Rouge/Raidillon complex that also claimed the life of Anthoine Hubert in 2019 – has been a talking point.

But Verstappen sees no particular problem with the venue, as he reiterated his belief that other tracks were more dangerous.

"There are always things that can be done better, but we are also racing in Monaco, which I think is way more dangerous than here," he said.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B

Photo by: Erik Junius

"We race there because it's deemed safe enough. Accidents happen, unfortunately.

"And honestly, when you look back at the accident that happened, it is just extremely unfortunate the way it happens.

"I don't think there's a lot you can do or change for it to be a lot safer.

"Because there are also other tracks out there that if you have a crash, and you're [flung] back onto the track, and there's very low visibility, that can happen again.

"It's just a bit, I guess, unlucky in a way as well that it happens at Spa, two times, but close to each other."

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