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FIA outlines plans to solve key wet tyre issue

The governing body has outlined their plans to run wet weather tyre tests in 2024, in a bid to understand a key issue that has impacted wet races in Formula 1.

Zandvoort wet
To news overview © XPBimages

The FIA will run a wet tyre test next year as part their efforts to reduce the spray from Formula 1 cars in extreme wet conditions.

With the latest generation of cars, drivers have noted how the spray from the tyres and diffuser can have an effect on the amount of spray that gets produced which limits visibility.

This is often a factor in determining whether it is safe enough to start a race or suspend sessions, with drivers also complaining about visibility over team radio.

The aim of the testing is to figure out whether this is caused by the tyre design or if there is alterations needed to the cars according to FIA Single Seater Director, Nikolas Tombazis.

"We clearly want to reduce the spray. It's not an easy task, we will be doing the next spray reduction test sometime in the spring with the help of Ferrari," Tombazis told media, including RacingNews365.

"At that time we will try to finally answer the question about what proportion of the problem is because of the car configuration or proportion is because of the tyres.

"In the simulations it's extremely difficult to get that balance right, to answer this question just by CFD. So we're going to answer that when we do the testing."

The FIA and Pirelli ran a prototype of a wheel-arch solution at Silverstone earlier this year, however it proved to be ineffective in reducing the amount of spray with the current specification of tyres.

Tombazis said they will not scrap the wheel cover solution yet, as they look to evaluate whether work is needed on the cars or tyres in the test with Ferrari.

"On that basis, if the tyres are a significant proportion [of the problem], then by 2026 we will have a wheel cover solution for ultra wet races," he explained.

"If the conclusion is not so much the tyres, but it's more the diffuser on the chassis, then we'd have to do a bit more work on the cars and that we can simulate. But we need this data point from the experiment in April."

FIA to use mule cars

In addition to the wet weather tests, the FIA also plans to run mule cars for the 16-inch tyre tests for the future.

"We are discussing with the teams at the moment about mule cars for 16-inch tyre testing," said Tombazis.

"These are a bit simpler this time because cars from the 2021 regulation generation would be fairly easy to modify to put these new wheels rims and tires on, so we believe that we can be easily platform for such testing."

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