During wet weather, all drivers must utilize the wet track while following the safety car before the race commences.
Once the conditions are suitable for racing, the wet tire is considered to be ineffective.
During the Spa sprint, there was a quick movement towards the pits for intermediate tires once the race began. Approximately half of the grid made their pit stops at the beginning, while the rest did so after completing the first flying lap.
“The highly impractical tire, known as the extreme tire, is truly abysmal,” Russell expressed. “It is likely to be six to seven seconds slower per lap compared to the intermediate tire. The only circumstance in which you would opt for the extreme wet tire is if you risk hydroplaning with the intermediate tire. Therefore, significant improvements are necessary in this regard.”
“The aquaplaning with fairly little water is really substantial. I remember watching the old onboard videos of 2007 with [Felipe] Massa and [Robert] Kubica in Fuji, so much water, they were still pushing flat out.
“I have distinct memories of participating in test days at this location in F3 and Formula Renault, using both Michelin and Hankook tires. Aquaplaning was not a significant concern back then, but considering the high speeds we are currently reaching, it is not a simple matter. However, I do believe that there should be notable enhancements made.”
Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF-23, Lando Norris, McLaren MCL60
Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images
Charles Leclerc of Ferrari, who will begin the Belgian GP from the front position on Sunday, concurred with Russell.
“There is a task that requires attention in that area as we possess specialized tires that are exceptionally sluggish but highly effective for aquaplaning,” he remarked. “However, we never operate in such circumstances due to poor visibility.”
“When the conditions allow, we should use intermediate tires for driving. Currently, it is quite challenging. I believe the extreme tires should be faster and more similar to the intermediate ones. Therefore, we should primarily use the extreme tires instead of the intermediates.”
During the Spa weekend, Russell proposed that the FIA would need to make courageous choices regarding racing in wet weather. The director of GPDA expressed satisfaction with the sprint race commencing after a postponement due to intense rainfall, followed by a few laps behind the safety car.
“I believe they performed admirably given the circumstances,” he expressed. “It is undeniably difficult. Moreover, the conditions are exceedingly perilous; traveling at a speed of 300 kilometers per hour on a straight path, with visibility limited to merely 50 meters ahead.”
The situation appears to be especially problematic within this circuit. I am uncertain whether it is due to the humidity, the presence of trees, or some other factor, but the spray does not seem to spread out effectively. Additionally, it feels as though you are driving into a dense fog.
He also proposed that instead of safety car laps, cars should run at a moderate speed without racing to assist in dispersing the water.
“I didn’t feel like those four laps under the safety car provided us with much,” he expressed. “It was similar in Japan, where we spent numerous laps under the safety car without any significant improvement.”
Perhaps a potential resolution for the future could be to permit us to complete multiple laps at full racing speed before introducing the safety car to equalize the field. This way, we can resume racing after a few laps, as the situation improved significantly after just two laps of racing.