Formula 1 Racing

“Back to the drawing board” for F1 on spray guards

Arthur Leclerc, Ferrari F1-75 with spray guards, Oliver Bearman, Ferrari SF-24

Ferrari completed an FIA test last Thursday at Fiorano to trial the second attempt at introducing spray guards to cover the wheels in the wet, in a bid to reduce the amount of spray thrown up that decreases visibility.

As part of the test, the Fiorano test track was made wet on the straights and Charles Leclerc‘s brother Arthur was sent out with the new designs, which could be modified to be either fully enclosed or feature holes.

Ferrari reserve driver Bearman was sent out behind Arthur Leclerc to sample just how much better the visibility was compared to standard, uncovered wheels.

Speaking in Imola, where the Briton will take part in Friday practice for Haas, Bearman said it’s “back to the drawing board” for the FIA as the new designs didn’t make enough of a difference.

“I followed Arthur Leclerc who was running with the wheel covers,” Bearman said when quizzed about the test by Autosport.

“So far, not really much to say about them. I think you saw the videos, it was quite similar. So I think back to the drawing board, we need to keep looking at it.

“We did a few different configurations, but we only wet the straights just to see if you could follow on the straights.

“We did four or five runs just trying different levels of openness, because if it’s fully closed, it’s also quite tough for the temperatures of the tyres.”

Bearman felt the current spec of F1 cars’ heavy reliance on downforce generated from the floor, using the ground effect, made it harder to mitigate spray.

“I think the issue is that these cars make so much downforce from the floor, the air is energised from there and of course the spray follows the air,” he explained.

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“The visibility was still pretty tough out there. It was slightly better for sure, the work has gone into something, but it’s not fixed.”

The Fiorano design was a more aggressive take on a design that was trialled at Silverstone last year with limited success.

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