Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, Interlagos, 2016

Wet weather tyres used to be better than this – Raikkonen

2016 Brazilian Grand PrixPosted on Author Keith Collantine

Kimi Raikkonen says the aquaplaning which caused his crash in the Brazilian Grand Prix would not have happened on previous examples of wet weather tyres.

The Ferrari driver’s race ended after a restart on lap 19 when his car snapped out of control on the straight, sending him into the barriers. Raikkonen said the conditions were “very tricky”.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Interlagos, 2016
Brazilian Grand Prix in pictures
“When you do many laps behind the Safety Car it gets even more difficult,” he explained. “It was not raining heavily, but there was a lot of standing water.”

“The biggest problem was the aquaplaning and I got it in a place where I was not expecting it: I spun off on the straight. I almost got the car back, but then I went off in a pretty bad place.”

Raikkonen believes Pirelli’s wet weather tyres are more prone to aquaplaning than wet weather tyres he has used before in F1.

“The wet tyres are very vulnerable, easy to aquaplaning,” he said. “It obviously depends on the circuit and on many other things, but comparing to some years ago, those tyres could handle this kind of water with no issues of aquaplaning.”

This isn’t the first time this year a Ferrari driver has criticised Pirelli’s product. Sebastian Vettel suffered a tyre blow-out during the Austrian Grand Prix.

Vettel also said earlier this year Pirelli’s wet weather tyres have not been good enough for several years.

2016 Brazilian Grand Prix

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36 comments on “Wet weather tyres used to be better than this – Raikkonen”

  1. Completely agree, the Pirelli wet tires are rubbish for F1. Bring back the monsoon tire!

    1. People say bring back monsoon tyres yet ignore the fact that the reason monsoon tyres were abandoned in 1997 was because they never actually ever used them during a race weekend as by the time conditions were bad enough for them they were also actually too bad to drive in.

      1. @gt-racer, Brundle made exactly that point when he was commentating as well – he’d never used the “monsoon” tyres, even though they were available during his career, because the races normally would have been stopped before they reached those conditions.

        Equally, I wonder how much of the problem is down to the fact that, even though the teams are not really helping Pirelli test their tyres in the first place. They were supposed to do a certain amount of mileage in pre-season testing specifically to test wet weather tyres, but I don’t think that a single team actually did – most of them spent most of their time sat in the garages because they were too worried about the possibility that a driver might spin off, even though that lack of tyre testing is now causing that to happen during the races.

      2. For that matter, Pirelli’s current product kicks up enough spray that it seems virtually impossible to use at racing speed in any condition that would warrant their use. Since the FIA wants a tyre that works in Safety Car conditions (which has to have a high tolerance of standing water), the only alternative Pirelli really has is to put in a “medium-wet” tyre between their intermediate and extreme options. I don’t see cost-conscious Pirelli going for that, nor the teams who have to pay for the supplies.

    2. Bring back the tire war, too. I’m tired of watching cars racing on intentionally crap tires. (And god knows Pirelli can make crap tires.)

  2. He’s not wrong. Go watch a replay of the 1998 Belgian GP and look how hard Schumacher and Hill are able to push on the Goodyear wets.

    1. @spawinte Contrary to what you would expect, Track conditions throughout most of that race were actually not that bad & it wasn’t even raining all that hard.

      Outside of the initial start & when it rained harder for a brief time in the middle aquaplaning wasn’t an issue that day & the track was wet but not overly so, The biggest problem was visibility as there wasn’t a lot of wind so the spray just hung in the air.

  3. I have been suspecting for years that the Pirellis don’t evacuate the amount of water they say they do.

  4. Agreed. The Pirelli wet tyres are terrible.

  5. I wonder how much is the tyres are worse and how much is that the cars are heavier?

    Heavy batteries, full of fuel and light on downforce. Going from a monster like the mid-2000’s cars Kimi was used to, to a 2016 car must be worse than going from a Red Bull to a Manor.

    1. @philipgb I’d add that since the designed-to-degrade tyres era there is also a lot more rubber on track.

    2. Well, i’m not to sure but shouldn’t the heavier cars at least work better in these conditions? Afterall, being heavier is pretty much lika having additional “static” downforce.
      Devastated but not surprised as a kimi fan. Did he ever really shine in the wet? Surely not post 09…

      1. @mrboerns

        An object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force

        Additional weight can give traction but it makes it harder to change direction because it takes more energy to break it from its current trajectory, it also means that when the car does let go and begins to spin, it has more momentum in that spin making it harder to correct.

        1. Seems Fair, but are the effects about equal, is the negative impact way worse? probably the latter as the gain in weight is pretty insignificant in comparision to the heaps of downforce, making the impact on traction negligible, what do you think?

          1. @mrboerns

            No down force created by mass has an equal force for both down and in the direction of travel. Hit the brakes in a car and as well as the mass pushing the car down, it’s also trying to keep it moving in the direction it’s already traveling. The same when the car attempts to change direction, as well as pushing into the ground and the friction created by the tyre rotation taking the car in a new direction, the mass is still pulling it in the existing direction. And if the car breaks traction and begins to rotate, the cars mass wants to continue with that rotational motion.

            The down force from aero mostly acts downwards (it also effects drag on the car pulling it back as well but to a lesser degree).

            The car needs weight so that it has traction at speeds below that which the aero is effective, but once it’s up to those speeds it’s negative impact greatly outweighs any benefits, the aero produces more than double the force of the cars mass anyway (the whole they can drive upside down bla bla bla).

          2. In the rain, losing manueverability is a bigger problem than gaining a bit of traction, in fact that causes a form of psuedo-aquaplane in itself if it gets too extreme.

        2. @philipgb,@mrboerns, Yes Philip, but aquaplaning can happen in a straight line (I have yet to see race so don’t know this case) unbalancing the car and/or cause virtual brake failure. Regardless, better tyres are needed.

  6. Back in the times when f1 drivers were driving f1 cars instead of whining

    1. You mean before team radio broadcasts and endless repetitive interviews?

      They’ve always been whining. There used to be on-track punch-ups after crashes. But now that drivers are more professional and controlled the media makes a mountain out of every molehill. Less drama mixed with far more media coverage means that every small complaint becomes a major event. It’s ridiculous.

  7. I wonder, is there a way to make tyres which can get more grip but at the same time, expel less water from beneath them. In other words, have presumably bigger grooves / tread, but be designed to keep it on the ground so there isn’t as much spray.

    Also, could they not introduce a rule whereby in extremely wet conditions, the FIA could take the cars out of park ferme and allow all the teams to change the setup?

    1. @strontium
      But then it would take longer to clear water from the track, wouldn’t you want tires to lift as much water as possible to help dry/clear the track as quickly as possible ?

      1. @beneboy this wouldn’t be a huge issue if the tyres still gripped the track properly. The track may remain wet but it would be more driveable.

    2. How about rear ‘mudguards’ that funnel the water out at a 45 degree angle. Water thrown off the racing line and not towards the following car?

      1. @eurobrun fantastic idea! And the mudguard-ish contraption could even keep it relatively low so that it isn’t blocking the view for miles.

    3. 1) You can. It is, in a nutshell, how the intermediate tyres work in comparison to the extremes (compound issues are also at work, but the physical cut of the tyres is a major factor).

      2) The FIA used to allow that. They stopped allowing that for red flags in general a few years ago when a red-flag change meant what looked like a stunning finish to the 2012 Monaco Grand Prix ended as a damp squib because everyone was able to use the loophole to add new tyres. They can still make those changes if a change of climatic conditions was declared, but it’s hard to make that declaration when it’s been raining to some extent since before lunchtime!

  8. Part of the problem I believe is that over the last few years we’ve had very few proper wet weather races, and most of the wet races have only needed inters. I think Pirelli didn’t put much r&d into the full wets because they were/are rarely used and it may seem like a waste of resources, considering that even with bad wets the teams will be on equal footing. However, in a ‘tire war’ situation the manufacturers have an incentive to provide good wets even if they’re only used once.

  9. Maybe RAI can convince Ferrari to issue a protest against Pirelli?!
    Seriously, the only person I still respected in the Ferrari team starts whining too.

    The tyres where doing a great job on VES’s car. His last stint saved the Brazillian GP from being a very boring one!

    1. I think he’s simply explaining the situation. The tires are more vulnerable to aquaplaning. Simple. Given how long he’s been in sport that’s a fair comparison. He’s not complaining. He’s explaining.

    2. Also, the race was red falgged twice, started under safety car and spent an ungodly amount of time behind the same. AND countless drivers had quite bad moments in not exactly the usually suspects of places. I think this race showed in all clearity that the extreme wets are utterly useless. Also noticed how the point of ‘undriveable’ for the heavy wets is pretty much the same as for the inters? Its nearly as stupid as having 8 different soft tires which all last over half a race. God damn i always kept quite about the tires but today was painful.

  10. The rain / flooding wasn’t even that bad. Wets should be able to cope with much worse. They have in the past.

  11. As I was saying during the live chat I gather that the problem with the Pirelli inters/wets isn’t that there not clearing away water it’s that there as temperature sensitive & have as small an optimal operating window as the dry tyres.

    The Bridgestone inters/wet’s for example were designed to work with a very large operating window which is why you would often see them work just as well on a super cold day where it was chucking it down (Fuji 2007 for example) as they would on a warmer day where it was wet/damp (Silverstone 2008 been one example).

    With the Pirelli’s the problem is that if your outside of the operating window you have a lot less grip which means your having to drive slower which is then putting less energy into the tyre which causes you to lose more temperature which causes you to have even less grip.

    It’s not necessarily due to there tread depth/pattern/design, It’s about the compound & how its designed to work. There been designed to work the same as the dry’s in terms of the operating windows & all that when they really shouldn’t be.

    1. @gt-racer Very good point

  12. I think we must point out how lucky we all were not to have seen a very nasty crash. I´m glad nobody picked up Kimi and this was pure luck in my opinion.

  13. Ericcson and Massa both took a gamble on intermediates and spun off causing a safety car situation. It’s in the nature of the drivers to take risks. Unless you make the extreme wets mandatory during rain I don’t see how better wet tyres would make a difference.

  14. How much of the problem is the tire and how much is the car? The problems were occurring at the higher speed sections- where the car gets aero-loaded closer to the ground. Are the tires aquaplaning or is the floor of the car unloading the tires. From what I could see the cornering speeds through the low speed corners seemed pretty good and the traction out of corners didn’t seem bad either.

    To any technical people out there- would the low pressure generated by the floor skimming the ground cause enough water vaporization under the floor to make the car lose floor downforce? this would only happen at high speeds where the car was close to the ground and the aero effects were largest.

    The other point about all of this is that the full wet tires had this problem while people were lapping on the inters- clearly the inters have much less water evacuation capability but over the same parts of the track did not have an extreme amount more of hydroplaning. This also made me think that it is less the rubber and more how the car is set-up.

    1. I would have to agree on car setup. It’s easy to blame the tyres, but in the past a team would change the setup in the morning warmup session if they predicted a wet race. With parc ferme rules in place now, teams do not risk raising ride heights in case it doesn’t rain.
      Perhaps the FIA should be looking at bringing back Sunday morning warmup sessions for safety reasons?

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