Mercedes driver George Russell has voiced a scathing critique, urging F1 officials to abandon the utilisation of extreme wet tyres.
Russell’s frustration emerged as heavy rains wreaked havoc during the race, prompting delays and adding an element of chaos to the competition.
The British driver deemed the extreme wet tyres as a “complete waste of time” during the weather-driven race weekend, reigniting the longstanding debate over appropriate tyre choices in treacherous wet conditions.
The Dutch Grand Prix encountered a challenging start as torrential downpours deluged the circuit, leading to a 40-minute delay before the race could commence.
This meteorological onslaught prompted concerns over driver safety and race viability.
Ultimately, Max Verstappen, in a display of remarkable prowess, clinched his ninth consecutive victory against this backdrop of uncertainty.
When the race resumed, all drivers were instructed to employ intermediate tyres, a decision that sparked Russell’s pointed commentary.
Despite the availability of extreme wet tyres, which are designed to handle the most adverse wet conditions, the drivers were directed toward the intermediates.
Russell’s race concluded with disappointment as he suffered a late puncture, preventing him from finishing.
Russell’s stance pivots on a call for the abandonment of the rarely used extreme wet tyre in favour of a strategy that hinges on waiting for the weather to improve before racing resumes.
The driver explained, “That extreme tyre is a complete waste of time at the moment and I think it should just be parked.
“If the conditions are too wet for intermediates, they [should] enforce that we just have to wait until the conditions get better.”
Pirelli, the official tyre supplier for F1, has often faced criticism for the performance of their wet tyres.
This long-standing concern was brought to the forefront during the Dutch Grand Prix.
While the extreme wet tyres exhibit superior water displacement capabilities compared to their intermediate counterparts, they lack the speed necessary for competitive racing, even in severe downpours.
Verstappen’s perspective mirrors Russell’s sentiment, as he asserts that most drivers prefer intermediates, even in hazardous conditions.
The Red Bull driver elaborated, “The problem we have at the moment is that the intermediate is basically too good compared to the extreme.”
Verstappen suggested that the intermediate tyres, while performing well, can still pose dangers when conditions worsen considerably.
In retrospect, Verstappen acknowledged that the red flag decision was perhaps justified, given the preponderance of drivers employing intermediate tyres.
The situation had become so precarious due to the accumulation of water on the track that the red flag was a necessary intervention.