With millions of people watching Formula 1 across all time zones and from all corners of the globe, a Grand Prix being cancelled on the day is now simply unacceptable.
Thousands of fans made the trip to the 2021 Belgian Grand Prix with high hopes of witnessing a quality race at one of the sports all-time favourite tracks, however they were left bitterly disappointed as only three laps we completed by the drivers and half points were awarded.
Extreme wet conditions meant that even after multiple laps completed behind the safety car, it was not deemed safe enough for racing to commence as the race clock ticked down.
One of the major contributing factors for leaving the fans disappointed was the spray that is caused by the cars racing on a wet track, which makes drivers following other cars essentially blind to what it going on around them other than the rain light of the car ahead.
“Spa in 2021 still left scars on the sport because it was very unfortunate circumstances. It would have been ten times worse I think if we had gone all the way to Japan and had to pack up and come back. We really need to avoid that,” said FIA’s single-seater technical director Nikolas Tombazis.
“We have so many people watching, spectators paying tickets, teams travelling all over the world, and then to suddenly say we can’t race is not very responsible of us.”
To avoid scenarios like what was seen in Spa in the future, Tombazis has revealed that the FIA will be trialling new wet-weather wheel arches to reduce the impact of spray in wet weather races.
The design will not be a permanent part of the car’s designs, rather it will be fitted when the conditions make it necessary, with the aim of increasing the driver’s visibility by around 50 percent.
“We only think it’s going to be something that gets used on a couple of occasions a year,” said Tombazis.
“We don’t want it to be that every time there’s a drop of rain, then suddenly you have to fit these things.
“Once we have a solution, we’ll get to do some prototypes and run them on some cars to try and evaluate that properly. I’m expecting that it’s going to be maybe a 50 percent improvement kind of thing.”
Fans will be hoping that this idea by the FIA improves the quality of wet weather weekends, as race control seem to prefer red flagging the race to allowing drivers to use the extreme wet tyre compounds that every team possess.