On July 13, Mercedes and McLaren will participate in a test on the national circuit, where the Wellington Straight will be artificially soaked. This test aims to gather data on the wheel arches, also known as “mudguards,” in wet conditions. The concept arose after the 2021 Belgian Grand Prix at Spa, as a potential solution to allow races or sessions to proceed in conditions with poor visibility that are normally considered too dangerous.
However, a recent accident involving Formula Regional Europe driver Dilano van ‘t Hoff at the same venue has brought further attention to the issue. As a result, the introduction of the arches into junior categories has gained traction if they prove successful in Formula 1.
When asked about the subject, Pierre Gasly expressed the critical importance of visibility in the rain. He recalled a similar situation he had experienced with Esteban Ocon in 2012 Formula Renault two liters, where poor visibility made driving extremely perilous. Gasly emphasized the need to address this issue and expressed hope that the wheel arches could improve the situation.
Lance Stroll, highlighting the significant safety concern, called for the swift introduction of the arches if the Silverstone test proves successful. He emphasized the dangers of racing in heavy wet weather, where drivers struggle to see anything when following other cars. Stroll believed that if the arches are effective, they should be implemented promptly, and if they are not, the sport should avoid racing in such visibility conditions.
Lando Norris, who will participate in the Silverstone test, stated that wet weather visibility is currently the most significant safety issue in Formula 1. He expressed relief that no serious incidents have occurred yet but stressed that it took a tragic event for people to realize the potential dangers. Norris believed that addressing this issue is crucial and urged the implementation of effective solutions.
Sergio Perez acknowledged that the wheel arches may affect aerodynamics but emphasized that safety should take precedence. Despite the potential penalties in terms of downforce, he supported their introduction in Formula 1, as it could allow racing in more hazardous conditions. Perez also called on race directors to prioritize safety and ensure the entire grid has adequate visibility before allowing races to proceed.
Overall, the upcoming test and the discussions among the drivers demonstrate the urgent need to improve visibility in wet weather conditions for the safety of all participants in Formula 1.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about wet weather visibility
What is the purpose of the wet weather wheel arch test in Formula 1?
The purpose of the wet weather wheel arch test in Formula 1 is to gather data and evaluate the effectiveness of wheel arches, also known as “mudguards,” in improving visibility and safety in wet conditions. The test aims to address the hazardous conditions caused by poor visibility during races or sessions.
Why did the idea of wheel arches emerge?
The idea of wheel arches emerged after the 2021 Belgian Grand Prix at Spa, where poor visibility due to rain caused dangerous conditions for the drivers. The wheel arches were proposed as a potential solution to allow races or sessions to proceed in such conditions by enhancing visibility and reducing the risk of accidents.
How will the wheel arch test impact junior categories?
If successful in Formula 1, the wheel arches are likely to be introduced into the junior categories. This would extend the improved visibility and safety benefits to the lower levels of motorsport, ensuring that drivers in those categories also have better visibility in wet weather conditions.
What are the concerns regarding visibility in wet weather?
Drivers have expressed concerns about poor visibility in wet weather conditions, where they struggle to see ahead of them. This creates a significant safety issue as accidents can occur if a car stops suddenly or is sideways on the track and other drivers cannot see it. The wheel arches aim to address these concerns and improve visibility for all drivers.
Will the wheel arches have any impact on aerodynamics?
The wheel arches may have an impact on aerodynamics, potentially affecting the downforce of the cars. However, the drivers and the FIA prioritize safety over aerodynamic performance. While there may be some penalties for certain teams in terms of downforce, the overall focus is on ensuring the safety of the drivers by providing better visibility in wet weather conditions.