Why does it always rain on me? – Get to grips with wet weather driving
Driving in the rain makes your car and the track behave totally differently. Racing lines that you would normally take in the dry to go faster become slower, run off areas and kerbs go from friend to foe, and being quick yet cautious becomes the aim of the game. Setting up for a wet race also helps, as the car will need a very different feel and profile to the dry version of your machine.
For some drivers and teams, it’s a venture into the unknown and a nervous time to be at a racetrack. For others, it’s a huge opportunity to get a season-defining result and launch them up the Drivers’ and Constructors’ standings. You may not need an umbrella in your front room, but you will need a different approach to F1 2019 and your race weekend.
Over the race weekend, use the weather indicator in the workstation to predict what is happening on race day and plan your setup with this is mind. If it is raining in the race, it will be worth running a wet setup for qualifying and accepting a lower qualifying position so you can be extra competitive come Sunday, when the points and the trophies are handed out. Another important part of wet weather driving is making sure you are on the right tyres at the right time. Running dry tyres in the wet will cost you lots of time, and that’s even if you survive the circuit without crashing!
Wet tyres have a tread (or ‘grooves’) in them, that are designed to clear standing water from the track surface unlike their slick dry weather counterparts. Too much standing water on track can cause aquaplaning (Aquaplaning is when a layer of water can build up between a vehicle’s tyres and the surface of the road beneath. At this point, the tyres have no contact and grip on the road, causing a lack of traction which means the driver loses control and is unable to steer, brake or accelerate, turning the track into an ice rink.
Braking distances will be longer and overall visibility will be poorer, so be careful and cautious going into heavy braking zones. Using lower Fuel Mix and ERS modes will also limit the chances of wheelspin. Try to find a ‘wet’ racing line that generates good traction with consistent pace.
The normal ideas for setup around a wet track will involve pushing your car to a more stable, predictable way of handling with lots of traction being key. Aero settings will need to be around 2 points higher than your normal dry setup, with focus on the rear wings being higher. This improves stability. A softer suspension will help you navigate those now trickier corners and brake pressures to be lower as you are more prone to lock up the tyres in the wet. Remember; traction is king!
Thank you for reading our F1 2019 set-up guides – we hope you found them useful! Want to catch up on the other guides? Head to part 1: The MFD here, part two: Aero & Suspension here and part three: Brakes & Tyres here.