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Tombazis explains delay to spray solution

NEWS STORY
28/12/2023

The FIA's single seater boss Nikolas Tombazis has revealed the reason for the delay in finding a solution to reducing the amount of spray thrown up in wet weather.

Following complaints from drivers about the increasing threat from spray during wet races, a test held at Silverstone in the summer involving Mercedes, and which saw the car running a guard over the rear wheels, proved inconclusive and as a result a further four days of testing have been set aside for next year.

"The test done in July with the help of Mercedes and also a bit of support from McLaren was... the covers were too small," admits Tombazis according to Speedcafe, "they didn't really cover enough of the wheels. We felt that they therefore didn't really answer the question whether that's a cure or not.

"What we still have a doubt about is what proportion of the problem is due to the overall diffuser and sucking the water from the track, which is something clearly this thing won't fix, and how much of it is because of the wheels," he adds. "We know both factors are quite significant.

"We're not aiming to solve everything, we know there will still be visibility issues, but we want to see what percentage we can cure by a very complete cover of the wheels. And then, if we see that's actually a tangible step forward, then we'll optimise that."

A further test was scheduled for November but this has been postponed until May 2024. The reason for the delay is money, with the teams calling on the FIA for more time the only other solution was to look outside the sport.

"That would have been really expensive," says Tombazis. "The teams asked whether they could delay the test to Spring in order to cut the cost down a bit, which is why we thought that's sensible.

"From a technical point of view, we would have preferred to have done it already, of course, but that was too expensive."

Even so, he admits that the testing is more about gathering data that finding a definitive solution to the issue.

"It's sort of information gathering to see if that is actually the right path," Tombazis explains. "Alternatively, if the test doesn't go well in the Spring, we may abandon that course and then have to rethink about what to do, I guess."

It is anticipated that the agreed solution will form part of the 2026 rules overhaul.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Laz, 28/12/2023 3:55

"Apologies to the Clowns -they already are running F1."

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2. Posted by Laz, 28/12/2023 3:54

"very simple - don't run races in the rain or better yet just put a full body over it - wait , the sports car class already exists .
The way the Americanization of F1 is going we will soon have clowns driving the cars with an A list celebrity as their co-driver. How long before the European races start disappearing to be replaced by more
street/parking lot races in the good old US of A - the spiritual home of F1. This post was generated by AI - nah sorry , just a Kiwi who has followed F1 for over 50years."

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3. Posted by kenji, 28/12/2023 1:03

"@Max Noble....If a technical solution is so readily at hand I cannot understand why it is not being actively pursued? I can see the addition of support systems that help out the analysis of vehicle location etc etc etc but altering the actual flow patterns of water vapour must surely be the prime concern. If that is the case then both outwash and upwash are the areas for prime consideration. When I was a lad, a very very long time ago I rode and raced pushbikes. When it rained on my race bike I finished up with a wetter than usual back and totally soggy shirt. When it rained on my recreational daily ride, complete with mudguards, the wet back situation was just not anywhere near as bad. Ergo, interrupt the flow patterns."

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4. Posted by Max Noble, 27/12/2023 8:22

"As we’ve written in previous articles… both track limit issues and visibility can be solved via a mix of GPS, microwave sensors, high definition cameras, ID beacons on the cars, and a mix of FLIR and other head-up display technologies. This is one area where the military, who remain quite keen to go to war even if it is raining, have some remarkable sensor answers to “What’s in front of me?” Given all the cars are trying to avoid one another (rather than two enemies trying to hide…) this is an easy affordable fix if F1 and the FIA could be bothered.

Spats are not the answer.

@RP - yup not a money issue at all… just the teams not wanting to move within the cost cap, and making a real point of it to the FIA…"

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5. Posted by Ricardo_sanchez, 23/12/2023 14:04

"I can’t wait to see the 2026 water harvesting solution introduced. "

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6. Posted by elsiebc, 21/12/2023 19:16

"So the premier open wheeled series will have fenders. I can't wait.

Has anybody thought about the unintended consequence of the water staying on track longer? Looks like they'll be stopping running sooner and getting underway later during a rain event. Oh, and no longer doing laps behind the safety car to help clear the track, they'll just have to wait in the pits until the water evaporates on it's own. "

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7. Posted by elsiebc, 21/12/2023 19:08

"@RP I believe that the teams don't want to spend the money because of the cost cap. This data gathering fishing expedition doesn't help their cars go any faster than a competitor's.

"

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8. Posted by RP, 21/12/2023 14:27

"Just looked this up - How much is Liberty Media F1 worth?
FORMULA ONE owners Liberty Media are ready to make an investment in a Premier League club. The media company have a staggering net worth of 16.3billion. So, testing to reduce spray and increase safety is "too expensive".
And, How profitable is Formula 1?
It's a New Day for Formula 1 - The New York Times
Formula 1's revenue was $1.83 billion in 2018, with $913 million distributed to the 10 teams. In 2022, revenue rose to $2.57 billion, and team payments increased to $1.16

Granted, the teams spend a lot of what is distributed in their various development, construction and salary cost but, it's clear, there is lots and lots of $ floating around. And, I believe all the teams are profitable, some much more than others. A lot of money was spent on the halo and was money well spent. Money solving or minimizing the spray problem also increases safety and allows for racing instead of sitting in the pits."

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9. Posted by Superbird70, 21/12/2023 14:23

"Its gotten to the point that if its too wet, too hot or too cold they can't race. "

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10. Posted by Mad Matt, 21/12/2023 14:13

"I'm beginning to think it would be simpler and cheaper to equip each car with a kind of parking sensor displayed on the steering wheel so they can "see" other cars and the edge of the track....

Or perhaps an electronically limited speed limit during in heavy rain.... or a bloke who walks around in front of them carrying a red flag?"

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11. Posted by kenji, 21/12/2023 10:46

"Thinking outside of the box, it would appear to me that there are two areas to attack. One is the diffuser and the other is the actual tyres as mentioned. I have always thought that the exhaust system is one area to look at. The volume of gas expelled must surely have some better function that just venting to atmosphere. Could it not in some way be used/redirected to help elevate the spray either higher above or towards a sidewash?. Couple this with a redirection of exhaust gas to an envelope in front of the rear wheels to help disperse water prior to contact with the tyre.

There must be many reasons why these ideas don't work but I am just throwing them up as a simple comment ....."

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