Alonso fumes at wet weather visibility after Van ‘t Hoff death – Can F1 still race in the rain?

The Dutch driver was just 18 years old when he lost his life in a Formula Regional crash at Spa-Francorchamps

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Fernando Alonso does not believe the Spa-Francorchamps layout is an issue after Dilano Van ‘t Hoff’s death.

The MP Motorsport driver was involved in a multi-car accident at the top of Raidillon during the second Formula Regional race of the weekend on Saturday (2 July) and lost his life due to the injuries he sustained.

Adam Fitzgerald, another driver involved in the crash, has multiple broken bones and is recovering in hospital.

“I don’t know if it’s the track or it’s just the speed,” Alonso said. “I think the biggest thing is the visibility.

“It’s not that we are not able to drive in wet conditions when we see all these red flags and delays, the fans get frustrated at home but this is the way single-seaters work now.

“The visibility is that poor that we cannot drive at certain circuits at speed so I don’t know that it’s a problem with Spa itself.

“We cannot afford what happened today to happen again, it has to be the last time it happens.”

Time for a rethink

Heavy rain has been a problem for Formula 1 for a while and we all remember that tedious afternoon in Belgium in 2021 where we waited for five hours for two safety car laps in torrential rain.

Grip has rarely if ever been the major issue causing red flags, though, with the vast amount of spray being kicked up by the cars creating an effective smokescreen for drivers nearer the back.

Especially at the start of a race when all 20 cars are close together, it is impossible to see more than a few feet in front of you in that scenario and with F1 as competitive as ever behind Red Bull, that instance will happen again when cars come to race each other.

Max Verstappen leads Haas’ Nico Hulkenberg and Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez through the rain in the 2023 Austrian GP sprint race | Mark Thompson/Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

There is no easy solution to the issue unless Pirelli or the teams can magically make the spray disappear so perhaps F1 has to consider not racing in heavy rain again, leaving only damp conditions raceable.

Where is the next F1 2023 race?

With the F1 circus finished in Austria, we move on to the 2023 British Grand Prix which will be held at Silverstone in Northamptonshire, England over the weekend of July 7-9.

Joe Ellis
Joe Ellis is a motorsport journalist with experience working in BTCC. He is the resident IndyCar correspondent for Total-Motorsport.com and a top class F1 writer.
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