There are a lot of activities—like going on a trek in the mountains, going to the beach, or even having a barbecue on the weekend—that the rain can significantly alter.
Because of this, many of us make it a point to examine the weather prediction nearly daily to ensure that we are adequately prepared for the eventualities that may arise. The rain impacts not only our recreational activities but also a wide variety of sports, which can have a significant bearing on the outcome of a competition or match.
Rainfall can endanger a driver’s race in Formula 1, but it can also present an opportunity for another driver to finish on the podium, which is an extremely unusual occurrence. As a result of this, you will notice that teams keep a careful eye on the weather consistently to be prepared to respond appropriately.
In this guide, we will investigate the specific reasons why rain has such a significant impact on Formula One races and its effect on the betting markets.
Why Does It Matter So Much When It Rains in Formula One?
When it comes to the significance of a wet track during an F1 race or qualification session, there are two primary reasons for this. The first issue is that the track has less grip than before. Using proper tires, such as ‘full wet’ tires, which can displace 85 liters of water per second when traveling 300 kilometers per hour, is one-way teams can help relieve this problem. The displacement is essential because water that has not been displaced can easily cause hydroplaning, which occurs when a rubber tire comes into contact with water rather than the ground. This can be avoided by replacing the water. Although such wet tire aid provides far more grip in wet conditions than a slick tire, drivers can still achieve a different level of traction than they would on a dry course when using these tires (with slicks). Because of this, accidents like drivers losing control of their vehicles or their brakes being locked are far more likely to occur.
Another reason the rain is important is that it reduces visibility, which is a problem given the volume of mist that Formula One vehicles produce behind them. Drivers tend to follow one another closely during dry competitions, primarily because they want to maintain their position on the racing line but also so that they can reap the benefits of slipstreaming. However, when a shower is constantly poured over your visor, it is much more difficult to follow another driver. Since the rules were changed in 2017, cars have been able to go quicker, and the width of their tires has increased by 25% due to those changes. As a result, this issue has been more severe in recent years. Because of this, there was an additional increase in the volume of spray produced by the cars when driving on a wet track.
Nevertheless, you can accept our word for it. A video was developed by Formula One that has interviews with drivers in which they discuss the difficulties of driving in the rain and how difficult it may be. When capturing the essence of the situation, Esteban Ocon best expresses it when he asserts, “Whether you close your eyes or keep them open, you do not see anything.” At the events with the most rain, this is not even close to being an exaggeration because it is already difficult to finish the race, let alone make any deft maneuvers to pass other competitors.
When it rains, what kinds of adjustments are made to vehicles?
Every Formula One driver must bring two sets of dry compound tires to the starting line for a dry race. If the FIA decides to call a race “wet,” however, this regulation is null and void; in that instance, drivers can use either an intermediate pair of tires or complete wets. The first choice, which is also the most adaptable, will be utilized on either a wet track that does not include standing water or a path that is drying out. The decision is up to the team unless the weather is so severe that the start of the race must be delayed and the safety car is needed; in that case, the drivers must use full wets. However, they can be replaced whenever a vehicle stops at a pit stop.
This is the most major shift when there is rain in the environment, but it is certainly not the only one that takes place. When it comes to the modifications made to the cars, the teams may consider adjusting the angle of the front wing to boost the amount of downforce generated by the branch. Once parc fermé has been initiated, this is virtually the only modification to the bodywork that can take place (i.e., the time after qualification during which cars must be positioned in the paddock sectioned off by the F1 authorities). When the weather changes from dry to wet between the time of qualification and the start of the race, this is considered a “change in climatic conditions,” The rules may be interpreted more liberally as a result. If this occurs, teams are permitted to make some additional adjustments. However, you will notice that some teams make adjustments before the parc fermé in light of their most educated guesses on the weather conditions that will prevail on the day of the race.
If there is a good chance of rain during the race, the team may decide to raise the ride height because doing so will likely simplify things for the driver. But, if it turns out that their prediction of rain was utterly off the mark, they can switch back to the race being run in dry conditions. Assuming the adjustments were not permitted according to the rules for the parc fermé, this will result in the driver having to begin the race from the pit lane as the penalty. In certain situations, one would consider this to be an expense that was well worth it. For example, before the extremely rainy Belgium Grand Prix in 2021, Alfa Romeo modified the rear wing assembly of Kimi Raikkonen’s car so that he could perform better under challenging weather conditions. If things had stayed the same, he would have qualified with the slowest time and been half a second behind the 17th-place finisher; hence, he would not have had a chance if the arrangement hadn’t been altered.
The race was canceled due to rain, but if it hadn’t been intense at Spa, Raikkonen would have been in a far better position to compete with the other drivers.
How does driving change when it’s raining outside?
When moving quickly over the track in wet circumstances, drivers will need to demonstrate an even lower level of fearlessness than they often require.
However, this fearlessness is more of an attitude than a style of driving because pushing the limits of the automobile while it is wet will most likely result in the car losing control and spinning out of control.
For drivers to be successful on a surface with less traction, they will need to accelerate out of corners with less force than usual and ‘feather’ their throttle a little more.
Similarly, they will need to use the brakes early into turns because pressing down too hard on the pedal could cause the wheels to lock up.
When it rains, the rubber embedded in the racing line becomes very slippery, and the same is true of many of the curbs. Thus drivers may depart from the regular racing line.
What Effect Does Rain Have on Formula 1 Betting?
Some drivers enjoy the rain far more than others, as others excel on specific tracks. Among the more recent drivers, Lewis Hamilton has regularly proven an incredibly high pedigree when racing in rainy conditions. A restricted data set makes judging newer drivers more difficult, but you can get an indication by looking at any rainy Grand Prix from the previous year or two. Because of these disparities in wet-weather ability, rainy conditions may cause the chances to alter slightly. If not, you may discover you are getting better value for money with your choice.
Qualifying timings always influence race odds, but a terrible time in a wet qualifying session is only sometimes a huge cause for concern. Suppose one driver has a terrible qualifying session and finishes third from last, their lowest performance of the season. Their quiet performance was likely due to their car not being properly tuned for the conditions. If improvements can be made (even if it means starting from the pit lane) or if the weather prediction for the race is dry, the driver may wind up performing significantly better during the race.
Rain and Live F1 Betting
If heavy rain begins to fall during the race, it might easily affect the in-play odds. Consider a scenario in which the leading driver has pitted, and the heavens unexpectedly open up five laps later. This driver will have to return to the pits to change their tires, resulting in a significant amount of time lost due to pitting. Drivers delayed taking a pit stop can enter once and are not required to swap tires twice as in a dry race.
The pit/tire tactic that teams use can either work in their favor or against them. The sooner you, as a bettor, determine which direction an approach will go, the sooner you may place a wager at better odds. Mercedes refused to take a chance on the weather improving and kept Hamilton on intermediates for much too long in the 2019 German Grand Prix. In retrospect, Mercedes’ trackside operations director Andrew Shovlin agreed that following Lance Stroll’s lead and going in for slicks considerably earlier was the correct decision. Despite starting in 15th place, this early tire replacement allowed Stroll to finish in fourth place, his highest result of the season.
Upsets in F1 in the Rain
Finally, unexpected results are more likely under rainy circumstances, which applies to both the race and qualifying. For example, only two races in the 2020 season saw neither Lewis Hamilton nor Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) qualifies for the pole position. One exception was in Abu Dhabi, where Max Verstappen won, and the other was during the Turkish Grand Prix, where Lance Stroll easily set the best qualifying time. In the latter’s case, it was Stroll’s first F1 pole, and only the second time he qualified in the top four this season.