Pirelli: Better F1 rain tires would worsen visibility

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The Belgian GP’s red flag after a few symbolic laps behind the safety car reignited the debate on F1 cars not being able to drive safely in the pouring rain.

In Sochi on Saturday, the FIA ​​canceled FP3 while waiting for a window to race qualifying.

Isola says the conundrum is that the better Pirelli’s rain tires disperse water, the more spray there is, a problem that was exacerbated by the change in tire sizes to a larger specification four years ago.

“I spoke to a lot of people after Spa, because obviously nobody wants to see another Spa again, with people waiting for hours and then nothing is going to happen,” said Isola when asked about the rain problem in F1 by TBEN.

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“On the tire side, there’s not much we can do, because the tires are designed to ensure that full wet and mid-range crossover, and shifting that design goal is not ideal, because then you can create a gap.

“And in any case, making a tire more capable of dispersing water, if you scatter water, the water flies and the visibility gets worse and worse.

“So we don’t fix the problem, we probably make the problem worse. I don’t know what we can do in terms of tires.

Pit lane rains as red light comes on at the exit

Photo By: James Gasperotti / Motorsport Images

He said the switch to wider tires in 2017 increased the amount of water released by the current specification by up to 40%. “The fact that in 2017 we introduced wider tires also increases this flying water. The old wet one was able to disperse 60 liters per second at 300 km / h, and now we go up to 85.

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“Unless we find a way to block the water and keep it from spraying and limiting visibility, I really don’t know what we can do. Honestly, I don’t have a solution for this.

Isola said runway surfaces designed to reduce spray could help, while acknowledging that venues would be required to invest heavily in any changes.

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“I think with the knowledge we have now it’s probably possible to design a tarmac that can avoid standing water, or design circuits with some kind of camber, that just pushes the water away from the track. .

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“It’s not easy, obviously we can’t ask the promoters to rethink or re-profile all the circuits. There is something that can be done with the experience we have in recent races. But when you have an excessive amount of water, then it is difficult.

“And I believe it’s the same with any outdoor sport. If the level of rain is enormous, any type of competition is stopped, football or any other that is outdoors.