Open-air wheels have been mandatory for use in Formula One races ever since they were first introduced in the 1950s. This might change depending on the decision that the Formula One Commission makes regarding how to handle rainy races in their proposal.
As a result of the disruptions caused by rain during the Formula One 2022 season, a number of the races and practice sessions were either need to be rescheduled or started at a later hour than they were initially planned to.
When it was raining, it was almost difficult to maintain control of the vehicle due to the poor vision and the manner that the newest designs of the automobiles combined with the tires that were already on the market.
The events that were scheduled as a consequence of these conditions have been suspended or postponed, notably in Monaco and Japan; the reaction to these developments has been significant. The drivers, in particular, were unhappy with the way things were proceeding at the moment.
Sebastian Vettel even went so far as to call the wet tyres “crap” because of the fact that they are now just just about usable at all. This is because of the recent rain.
Max Verstappen, too, expressed his dissatisfaction with the wet tyres in the same way:
I didn’t mean to make fun of you, but I honestly do think we might benefit from investing in some higher-quality all-weather tires.
It’s possible that the argument’s resolution will turn out to be simpler than we now imagine it to be.
Beginning in the year 2024, wheels with a roof?
On Friday, members of the Formula One Commission met together in Abu Dhabi to discuss the path the sport is going to take in the future.
Along with other issues like as grid penalties and the DRS system, the possibility of it raining during the races was also brought up for consideration.
Formula One authorities decided to undertake a research after hearing comments from drivers about the issue of limited vision in wet and rainy weather. The purpose of the study was to identify alternative remedies to the problem.
A “universal bodywork kit” was proposed as a solution to this problem, which was the immediate fallout of this development.
Wheel arches are going to be used if “extreme wet conditions” are present or whenever a red flag is shown.
The following is a transcription of the statement that was made by the Commission, as reported by The-Race:
“Driver feedback has suggested that there has been a reduction in visibility in extremely wet conditions with this latest generation of cars, which is a key determinant on starting, or needing to suspend session.” [T]his latest generation of cars is a key determinant on starting, or needing to suspend session.
“As a direct consequence of this, the FIA commenced an inquiry with the aim of identifying a package of components with the purpose of limiting the spray that is created when driving in rainy weather,”
Wheel covers have been used in earlier versions of races for a variety of different racing series, including Formula E. On the other side, these features are not present in Gen3 cars at all anymore.
The panel came up with a number of other suggestions, a few of them concerned ways in which the visibility of the autos might be improved, such as the installation of more lights.
Regarding the wheel cover, there is nothing at this time that can be deemed to be complete or definitive. In order to make racing possible in conditions with considerable amounts of precipitation, this is an important step in the right direction (again). It is important to remember that it is also necessary to ensure the safety of the people.
For the first time since the beginning of the series in 1961, Formula One cars might use partially enclosed tyres again in 2024 if the proposed rule changes are approved. This would be a significant milestone for the sport.