Motor racing-Visibility in wet is F1’s biggest safety issue, say drivers

SILVERSTONE, England (Reuters) – Racing in rain and spray is now Formula One’s biggest safety concern and a trial of a mudguard-style device next week should be fast-tracked onto the cars if it works, drivers said on Thursday.

The trial, at Silverstone, has been in the planning since last year but has acquired greater significance since the death last weekend of Dutch 18-year-old Dilano van’t Hoff in a wet junior series race at Spa-Francorchamps.

McLaren and Mercedes will be providing the test cars, one with and one without the modification.

“It’s a huge safety issue at the moment and it needs to be addressed. We can’t see anything in heavy wet weather,” Aston Martin’s Canadian Lance Stroll told reporters at the British Grand Prix.

“I can recall many races over the past few years in Formula One where you just cannot see anything when you are behind a car and it’s extremely dangerous … we shouldn’t be racing in those conditions.

“If it works, it (the mudguard) has to be put on the cars as quickly as possible. And if it doesn’t work, we shouldn’t be putting ourselves in situations where we’re racing in conditions where we can’t see.”

McLaren’s Lando Norris said the issue was “the biggest safety concern at the minute within Formula One” and it was about time to do something.

“It’s a shame we had to see such a consequence for people to understand what can happen. I think it’s something that needs to be done.

“Actually seeing where we’re going, that helps sometimes,” he said sarcastically.

Haas driver Kevin Magnussen agreed and said drivers might as well close their eyes in some conditions.

“There is zero visibility and it would be great if that could be improved significantly,” said the Dane.

Red Bull’s Sergio Perez said the device could be a big step forward.

“Especially what has happened last weekend, I think it’s something that we’ve got to improve,” he said.

“For now, I think it’s important that race directors let us race only when its safe and the whole grid is able to see something.”

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin; editing by Ken Ferris)

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