Formula 1 must design cars to race in rain, says Todt

Formula 1's next generation of cars must be designed to race in the rain to avoid a repeat of the Belgian Grand Prix washout, says FIA president Jean Todt.

Formula 1 must design cars to race in rain, says Todt

Last month's wet race at Spa-Francorchamps had to be abandoned after three laps behind a safety car because conditions were not good enough to allow the current generation of cars to race.

The high levels of downforce produced by the latest grand prix machinery, plus wider tyres, means more spray is thrown into the air in wet running, and that makes visibility too bad.

Todt thinks the matter needs to be addressed in the future, and reckons than when the next major rules overhaul is planned – most likely to coincide with all-new power units from 2025 – that wet weather running needs to be factored in.

"There were many who criticised what was decided at Spa [by not racing], but what would have happened if, after the start, we had had an accident with 10 cars that resulted in injured drivers or worse," explained Todt.

"We would have been massacred. And even without injuries we would have been criticised. For the 2025 regulations, we must think about having cars that can be driven even in the rain.

"Do you remember [Niki] Lauda at Fuji in '76? He was the only one of the drivers to give up racing in the rain. Today, every driver thinks as Lauda did then."

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12, Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren MCL35M, in the pit lane

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12, Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren MCL35M, in the pit lane

Photo by: Steve Etherington / Motorsport Images

F1's failure to go ahead with the Belgian Grand Prix caused some controversy, especially with the way that half points were handed out despite the fact no actual laps at racing speed were completed.

DTM boss Gerhard Berger believed that F1 had to make a choice about either never racing in the rain or pushing on when conditions were not ideal. He said the current halfway house was not good for anyone.

"I have no sympathy for this to be honest," he said about the fallout from Spa.

"My opinion is: you have to decide beforehand if you want to have races in the rain or not. In America [on ovals] they have decided to have no wet races, which is fine and everybody knows it.

"But Formula 1 used to have them and we race in the rain as well in DTM. Motorsport is dangerous and yes, it is difficult in terms of visibility, but if you decide in favour of rain races then this is what you have to deal with.

"When it is slippery or when you have a lot of water, you just have to reduce your speed. That is part of our game.

Read Also:

"Maybe in the end it was very bad at Spa, but in the beginning I didn't see any reason why there shouldn't be a wet race going on.

"Starts behind the safety car are the same thing for me. I don't agree. You should have standing starts, also in the rain. For me, that is less dangerous as you approach the first corner with less speed. With a flying start you have more water and less visibility.

"Just do two laps behind the safety car and then have a standing start."

Additional reporting by Franco Nugnes and Ronald Vording. 

shares
comments

Related video

Bottas to compete in 2022 Race of Champions in Sweden
Previous article

Bottas to compete in 2022 Race of Champions in Sweden

Next article

How Mika Hakkinen thrived at Lotus

How Mika Hakkinen thrived at Lotus
Load comments
Why Norris doesn’t expect Mr Nice Guy praise for much longer Prime

Why Norris doesn’t expect Mr Nice Guy praise for much longer

Earning praise from rivals has been a welcome sign that Lando Norris is becoming established among Formula 1's elite. But the McLaren driver is confident that his team's upward curve can put him in the mix to contend for titles in the future, when he's hoping the compliments will be replaced by being deemed an equal adversary

What Ferrari still needs to improve to return to F1 title contention Prime

What Ferrari still needs to improve to return to F1 title contention

After a disastrous 2020 in which it slumped to sixth in the F1 constructors' standings, Ferrari has rebounded strongly and is on course to finish third - despite regulations that forced it to carryover much of its forgettable SF1000 machine. Yet while it can be pleased with its improvement, there are still steps it must make if 2022 is to yield a return to winning ways

How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations Prime

How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations

OPINION: The pressure is firmly on Red Bull and Mercedes as Formula 1 2021 embarks on its final double-header. How the respective teams deal with that will be a crucial factor in deciding the outcome of the drivers' and constructors' championships, as Motorsport.com's technical consultant and ex-McLaren F1 engineer Tim Wright explains.

Formula 1
Dec 1, 2021
How getting sacked from Benetton made Mercedes' Allison Prime

How getting sacked from Benetton made Mercedes' Allison

He’s had a hand in world championship-winning Formula 1 cars for Benetton, Renault and Mercedes, and was also a cog in the Schumacher-Ferrari axis. Having recently ‘moved upstairs’ as Mercedes chief technical officer, James Allison tells Stuart Codling about his career path and why being axed by Benetton was one of the best things that ever happened to him.

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2021
The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback Prime

The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback

It’s easy to look at Robert Kubica’s second Formula 1 career and feel a sense of sadness that he didn’t reach the heights for which he seemed destined. But as Ben Anderson discovered, performance and results are almost meaningless in this context – something more fundamental and incredible happened…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2021
The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver for McLaren Prime

The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver for McLaren

From being lapped by his own teammate in Monaco to winning at Monza, it’s been a tumultuous first season at McLaren for Daniel Ricciardo. But, as he tells STUART CODLING, there’s more to the story of his turnaround than having a lovely summer holiday during Formula 1's summer break...

Formula 1
Nov 26, 2021
The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title Prime

The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title

As the battle continues to rage over the F1 2021 drivers' championship, teams up and down the grid are turning their attentions to the prize money attributed to each position in the constructors' standings. But F1's sliding scale rules governing wind tunnel and CFD use will soften the blow for those who miss out on the top places

Formula 1
Nov 25, 2021
The invisible enemy that's made Hamilton's title charge tougher Prime

The invisible enemy that's made Hamilton's title charge tougher

After winning his past few Formula 1 titles as a canter, Lewis Hamilton currently trails Max Verstappen by eight points heading into the final double-header of 2021. Although Red Bull has been his biggest on-track challenge, Hamilton feels that he has just as much to grapple with away from the circuit

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2021