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Visibility in wet races now a big topic of discussion amongst F1 drivers

Visibility in the rain is now a big topic of discussion amongst F1 drivers after the death of young driver Dilano Van't Hoff.

The wet Austrian Grand Prix sprint race on lap 1 with Sergio Perez putting Verstappen on the grass due to the lack of visibility behind him

Visibility was highlighted over the weekend with the death of a young driver and Perez putting Verstappen on the grass due to the spray in the sprint race.

On Saturday it was announced that Formula Regional driver Dilano Van't Hoff was sadly killed in a crash at Spa-Francorchamps. He spun on the Kemmel straight on the final lap where the race was heavily effected by rain. Unfortunately due to the vast amount of spray he was unsighted and hit by the cars following him. The incident has some similarities with Anthoine Hubert's devasting crash in 2019 which did happen in the dry but was hit by unsighted drivers coming up Raidillon just before where Van't Hoff's incident happened.

The race also drew comparisons as to why the 2021 Belgian Grand Prix was cancelled after heavy amounts of rain hit the track that day too. Drivers and teams in Formula 1, Formula 2 and Formula 3 all shared messages about Van't Hoffs death with the drivers also expressing their concerns for visibility while racing in the wet.

The rooster tails in F1 cause vasts amount of spray in the wet seen here during the Austrian Grand Prix sprint race creating a lack of visibility

Lando Norris commented on the visibility issues the sport faces when racing in the wet stating it is one of the main safety issues the sport must solve. Here is what Norris had to say when talking to the media, "Between so many things that are done for safety, I think this is one of the next biggest topics I would say that needs to be changed," Norris said.

"When you're not in the car, you don't realise how bad it is. You can't see from here to the wall [five metres ahead]. You can't see anything.

"So, if there's a car stopped here, you have no chance to react. And that can happen in Spa, that could have happened here. If someone went off up through turn two [at the Red Bull Ring] you don't see them until it's too late."

After the British Grand Prix, F1 and the FIA will be testing wheel arches to see if it helps with spray and visibility for the drivers. The idea behind the wheel arches is to try and keep the spray as low as possible so that it does not create 'rooster tails' behind the cars leaving the water hanging in the car. If it works F1 will start to use these wheel arches in wet weather races so that safety car starts and races are not abandoned.

The reason the drivers have such poor visibility in the wet is due to how low in the car they are positioned. When spray is thrown up into the air from the cars the drivers cannot see through it and with cars being rear wheel drive with large tyres there is more water on the surface of the track being thrown up causing the drivers to lose sight of the cars in front.

Nyck De Vries, Esteban Ocon, Lance Stroll and Oscar Piastri have all shared their opinions on the visibililty in the wet saying that lessons need to be learnt and that safety for the drivers is vital after the events at Spa over the weekend. Mick Schumacher will also be taking part in the test at Silverstone for Mercedes and has welcomed the idea.

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