Can F1 Improve The Challenge Of Competing Amid Wet Weather Racing?

Wet Weather Racing
Wet Weather Racing

Formula 1’s Managing Director, Mr. Ross Brawn, formerly a team principal with iconic racing marquees such as Ferrari, has shared in no uncertain terms that the sport is currently looking at various steps that can assist drivers during their tussles with wet weather racing. Entertaining and thrilling as it may seem, wet weather racing is no child’s play for the drivers.

To see a driver battle wet weather is one thing, but to actually manoeuvre one’s car amid that difficulty is something one can never contend with much ease.

We all love wet weather racing. Fact, none can change that. There’s no need to.

The moment you hear the phrase it’s ‘raining’ out on the track, you are are either reminded of the great Regenmeister- Ayrton Senna or the master from Germany- Michael Schumacher. Two of the greatest drivers to have ever sat behind a modern racing car!

But even in their times, i.e., the eighties and mid nineties, was wet weather racing any easy?

One of the greatest quotes ever said by a Formula 1 driver in the context of the sport’s difficulties and rigors was stated by the late Niki Lauda, who shared, “There’s a thirty per cent chance a driver may never come back from an F1 race.”

Now, just imagine hard could this become during rains; what would Lauda have said?

In 2016, which is now half a decade ago in time, the world witnessed the rise and rise of Max Verstappen at Interlagos (home to the Brazilian GP), amid a rain-soaked drive that was as adrenaline-spiking as it was truly inspiring.

Despite incessant rains, the young driver, undaunted by the circumstances kept passing one opponent after another in sublime fashion. And frankly, not since the 2016 Brazilian GP has the sport come to witness another massive instance much like the the race in Senna-land, where Max was able to come out with an ace amid rains and that too, in just his late teen years.

But was any of that easy? Can the sport do something to make the life of drivers a bit easy or bearable during conditions that are truly unforgiving and laced with uncertainty?

Surely, events like the 2021 Russian GP, also marked by great wet weather racing unfurled a Hamilton versus Norris saga especially toward the end (with the former holding the advantage). It turned a fast-paced race into a thrilling one; but such events have been far too few over the course of the years.

What approach can the sport take in the times to come to aid drivers during this difficult period since no advancement in technology can keep out the risk associated with wet weather racing?

The following is what Ross Brawn had to share where it comes to wet weather racing:

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

He would add, “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. 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,” concluded the legendary bespectacled F1 figure.

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