Formula One teams are set to trial a new bolt-on wheel cover in an effort to reduce the spray generated by the cars in wet conditions. The device will be tested by Mercedes and McLaren at Silverstone next week, following the tyre tests that will take place after the British Grand Prix on Sunday.
Currently, F1 cars produce significant amounts of spray when racing in the rain, leading to concerns about safety and the ability to start or restart races in heavy downpours. This has been exemplified in races like the 2021 Belgian Grand Prix, where the race was cut short after just two laps behind the Safety Car due to the treacherous conditions.
Other races, such as last year’s Monaco Grand Prix and the Japanese Grand Prix, have also experienced delays and red-flag periods due to heavy rain. These incidents have highlighted the need for improved safety measures in wet conditions.
Mercedes and McLaren will assess the effectiveness of the wheel cover and determine whether it has any impact on the process of changing tires during pit stops. This aspect is crucial as pit stops are a key element of race strategy and any complications could significantly affect a team’s performance.
The importance of safety in wet conditions was tragically underscored last week when Formula Regional driver Dilano van ‘t Hoff lost his life in a collision at Spa-Francorchamps during heavy rain. This devastating incident serves as a stark reminder of the risks involved in racing under challenging weather conditions.
The trial of the new wheel cover aims to address these safety concerns and enhance the overall racing experience in wet conditions. By reducing the spray, drivers will have better visibility, and race stewards will have more confidence in starting or continuing races in inclement weather.
The teams will closely monitor the performance and practicality of the wheel cover during the testing at Silverstone. This evaluation will determine whether the device can be implemented in future races and provide a solution to the spray issue.
Overall, the trial of the bolt-on wheel cover represents Formula One‘s commitment to enhancing safety measures and improving the racing spectacle in all weather conditions. As teams strive for excellence on the track, it is crucial to prioritize the well-being of drivers and spectators alike.