Formula 1: Suzuka, mission aquaplaning!
Qualifiers at the Suzuka grand prix took place under torrential rain. Conditions were so difficult that the schedule was changed and the monsoon tyre was mentioned.
Bridgestone were perfectly well aware that the rain tyre was not going to get to grips with such a huge quantity of water, as confirmed Hirohide Hamashima: “Our rain tyre can evacuate 61 litres of water per second when the F1 is driving at 300 kph, but this afternoon (Saturday) there was just too much water, even for these tyres”. Each driver did at least one lap and notified us of aquaplaning due to deep puddles and water streams across the track. The decision to postpone the qualifications was the right one as it was really too wet, even for our rain tyre”.
Several drivers commented on the difficulties encountered on the track, starting with Jarno Trulli: “There’s aquaplaning. There’s also the fact that the tyres just don’t grip in so much water. Current cars are used to going fast. So the lower the speed, the harder a formula 1 is to drive”.
As a result, some voices such as that of Sam Michael (technical director of the Williams team) are calling for extreme rain tyres. These tyres, known as “monsoon” tyres have a tread depth of over 10 mm, to evacuate a huge quantity of water.
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