Wet Setup in Formula One Helps Prevent Aquaplaning

During a Formula One race, water can be a real hazard, and one that can affect the outcome of a race. Drivers can be forced to slow down or take evasive action, and even lose control of the car. In some cases, drivers are forced to retire from the race.

Aquaplaning is when the water underneath the tires builds up and forms a film between the tires and the road surface, causing the vehicle to lose grip. It can happen at any speed, but is more common at high speeds. When water builds up, traction is reduced, and the driver’s steering and braking control are lost. This causes a loss of control, and can be dangerous for both drivers and spectators.

Aquaplaning can be prevented by using wet weather tires. These are specially-grooved tires designed to help displace water, which is the main cause of aquaplaning. Wet weather tires are bigger and 10mm wider than standard tyres, increasing the ride height of a Formula One car. In addition to displacing water, they also increase the car’s ground clearance by 5mm.

Wet weather tires are also used to help with visibility. The track can become very slippery in wet weather, making it difficult for drivers to see their car and the cars in front. This can increase the risk of aquaplaning, so the car will need to be moved up into a higher position. This helps drivers to avoid aquaplaning, but also sacrifices downforce under the car.

A Formula One driver can lose control of the car at any time, and it can be impossible to regain control if the car is aquaplaning. This can lead to a car spinning out or colliding with a barrier. This can be dangerous for the driver, as well as the spectators around the race track.

Pirelli, the sole tire manufacturer for Formula 1, is developing new solutions to combat aquaplaning, including grooved tires, full wet tires and intermediate tires. These tires are designed to clear 60 litres of water per second at full speed. They have special grooves that help to channel water away from the contact patch, increasing the car’s grip. The grooves are also designed to increase the traction of the tires by preventing water from forming on the contact patch.

Pirelli tires are designed to displace water, which is why they are better at handling heavy rain. However, they can’t clear all the water. So, the team has to decide when it’s safe to run in the wet. This decision can be made based on the depth of the water, the tread depth, and the pressure of the tires.

Using a skid block under the car also helps to prevent aquaplaning. The skid block, or “plank,” is mounted under the car, and its purpose is to give drivers extra grip. The plank is positioned close to the ground, rather than positioned farther back, because the aerodynamics of the car are better when the car is running close to the ground.

Courtesy: Lexus UK