Verstappen delivers F1 ‘NASCAR’ warning

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Max Verstappen has warned F1 could “become like NASCAR” if safety concerns lead to races being unable to take place in wet conditions.

A number of races have been delayed in recent years after torrential rainfall, only for drivers to instantly pit for Intermediate tyres following Safety Car restarts, leading to widespread frustration.

With visibility and not grip largely to blame for the issues, the FIA has begun research and development into wheel guards to prevent spray being kicked up.

But initial tests of the first prototype proved unsuccessful and with the Belgian Grand Prix weekend hit with rain and delays at the end of last month, greater focus was again placed on potential solutions.

A shame

Addressing the problem, two-time World Champion Verstappen told media including RacingNews365: “We went to the bigger tyres, that makes it worse because there is more displacement.

“The shape of the car… it’s so big so you have more spray. It is worse than it was in 2016 but it was also bad then.

“I remember the race in Brazil, where I was at the back after the pit stop, I couldn’t even see Fernando spinning off the track.

“The whole spray I kept it flat but I didn’t see anything, but from knowing where you’re going from all the other laps, you just keep it pinned.

“But if there would have been someone standing [still], you would have completely driven through.

“It’s bad, but it has been bad for a very long time so I don’t think there is a lot we can do about it.

The Belgian GP weekend took place less than a month after 18-year-old Dilano van ‘t Hoff was killed at Spa-Francorchamps in wet conditions and Red Bull driver Verstappen added: “Of course, certain accidents happen that have a bad outcome and then people naturally start to talk about it more. But if you look at it that way, you can’t really race in the rain any more because there will always be problems with visibility.

“That would a shame. Then it becomes like NASCAR, they don’t drive in the rain either.”

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