After the suspension of the race in Belgium and the final laps of the last round in Sochi, the theme of rain has been one of the most discussed and recurring elements in the world of Formula 1 in recent period. A topic that did not go unnoticed above all by the Head of F1 & Car Racing of Pirelli Mario Isola, representative of the Italian company, which is the sole tire supplier in F1.
The Italian manager has analyzed the behavior of the cars in wet track conditions, noting in particular the problem of water/spray raised by the single-seaters, such as to significantly reduce the visibility of the drivers in the slipstream. This is a headache, but Pirelli feels it should not be held directly responsible: “To avoid the formation of these walls of water – Isola analyzed – the only way would be to block it, in order to prevent this phenomenon that limits visibility. I don’t know how to do it and I don’t have the remedy, but fairing the rear tyres could be a good solution” – he said.
A circumstance studied several times after what happened in Spa-Francorchamps, where a greater intensity of these sprays was noted than in the past, such as to even result in the definitive suspension of the race after a few laps spent behind the Safety Car, with related controversies on the part of the spectators: “In 2017 the width of the rear tires increased significantly – commented Isola – from 325 to 405 mm, against 245 mm increased to 305 for the front ones. Among other things, the old rear tires were able to disperse 60 liters of water at 300 km / h, while the current ones, at the same speed, manage to disperse as many as 85, or 40% more “.
As a result, this regulation change made by the FIA has allowed the single-seaters to increase the possibility of fighting at close range, but at the same time, has aggravated the visibility of the drivers in wet conditions. An idea to solve this last problem could however be provided by a solution adopted in the past by Pininfarina, even in 1969. In that year, in fact, the Sigma Grand Prix was presented, a single-seater with high safety standards designed to prevent the contact between the front wheel of one car against the rear wheel of another, thus avoiding the possibility of a dangerous take-off. A design subsequently resumed in IndyCar in 2014, and which could also be studied by Formula 1 not only for safety reasons, but also to reduce the water sprays that now cancel the visibility of the pursuing drivers.