(Reuters) – Formula One remains some way off introducing a ‘mudguard-style’ device to reduce spray in wet conditions after a test at Silverstone showed more development was needed.
The concept was tried out during a post-British Grand Prix Pirelli tyre test this month with Mercedes and McLaren running with and without for comparison.
“There’s more work to do on them,” Mercedes trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin told reporters at the Hungarian Grand Prix.
“But it’s a problem that it would be useful to have a solution for, because I think the teams, and certainly the fans, hate it if a race can’t go ahead because the conditions are too difficult.”
Shovlin said the devices, under development by the governing FIA which will decide future steps, were not yet ready for production and regulation.
“They do improve the spray that you get from the tyres, but you still get a lot coming from the diffuser, in the way that the rear wing’s pulling it up. That’s all very powerful,” he added.
Shovlin said fitting the devices also required the race to be stopped or to have not started.
McLaren team principal Andrea Stella said the test was an important step nonetheless.
McLaren’s Lando Norris has called visibility in wet conditions “the biggest safety concern at the minute within Formula One” and other drivers agree something needs to be done.
“Actually seeing where we’re going, that helps sometimes,” he said.
The test took on greater significance after the death this month of Dutch 18-year-old Dilano van’t Hoff in a wet junior series race at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium.
(Reporting by Alan Baldwin in London, editing by Christian Radnedge)