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Worried about the wet weather - Drivers air concerns about safety in damp conditions

Published by Christine

Testing in Spain has been a damp affair so far this week. On Monday, the BMW boys, in Valencia, suffered with Kubica running very few laps and Heidfeld relegated to dashing in and out of the pits. Today, things cleared up slightly in Valencia, but Barcelona got the full force of the weather. McLaren decided not to even bother attempting any runs, preferring to save their mileage for another day.

I find it slightly odd that the teams don't want to make the most of the adverse weather conditions. The one thing that always catches teams out is when a race weekend has less sunshine and more raindrops. Why wouldn't they want to use the opportunity to get some really good wet weather data?

Massa at Barcelona Test on Wednesday

So far as I can tell, there are only two reasons not to run on a damp track. Either you're worried about mechanical failure / driver error setting you back or, like McLaren, you don't want to waste your mileage.

If it's the former, then that's a bad, bad state for Formula 1 to be in. Surely drivers/teams can't afford to be afraid of the unexpected?

Therefore I'm hoping it's the mileage thing. That perhaps because it's raining, you're not going to be able to get consistent and measurable data. Trulli said on Tuesday, it was impossible to get comparable information:

The track was changing throughout the day so direct comparisons were hard. In conditions like we had today we didn't do much mileage because we wanted to save some more miles and tyres for the next few days.

- Jarno Trulli

If I ran an F1 team (and everyone knows that I would do it properly), I'd want to see how the tyres worked over a wet race distance. I'd want to see how to improve keeping the water out of the car, or getting the slippery corners right under the new regulations.

One of the most well voiced concerns about the loss of traction control has been how the cars will fare in less than perfect conditions. David Coulthard (voice of safety) said:

There is clearly pressure for us all to race in Fuji and if we go there now without TC, there won't be as many cars finish. I can guarantee that.

- David Coulthard

I have even less sympathy now than I ever did for this cause, because if you don't put the effort into practice, how can you ever expect to improve? There is an old cliché along these lines, but I won't put you through that. Instead, I will head straight to my conclusions - I would rather see the teams not bothered about the weather, and using it to their advantage instead. What do you think?