Driving in the wet
Interview with our '18 and '19 driver, Monty JF
Is rain a scary thought in the eyes of a Formula Student driver? Can it make the car behave differently?
Not at all, if anything it makes it more exciting as the car becomes more playful!
Are there any procedures the team take, regarding themselves, the car or the driver, to prepare for wet weather?
For the most part we just put wet tires in the car and hope for the best! Obviously there is some equipment from the pits we carry with us, we make sure things like laptops and cameras are covered. We have heard of people calling nearby businesses to ask how the rain was doing in there areas to prepare for the coming weather - but that might be a little too extreme! Above all it is important to get your runs when it isn't raining.
Compared to strong wind, would you consider rain to be harder?
Wind doesn't really affect an FS car because the speeds are quite low. I have never driven in any sort of extreme wind though.
How does the hardest part of driving the in the dry compare to the hardest part of driving in the wet?
Driving the car in the dry is a lot more physical than in the wet. The hardest thing about driving in the wet is judging how much grip there will be, it changes lap by lap and line by line.
Do you really think, after driving the wet, that any driver who can control the car in the rain is a 'good driver'? or do some driving styles fit the rain more?
Driving well in the wet definitely needs good car car control and it helps if you can be smooth.
As a follow up to the previous one - can we therefore assume that as a driver, being able to adapt to any condition is one of the key skills?
Being able to adapt to changing conditions is definitely a useful skill for driving when it's wet. However a strong head to get through the events and remember the feedback your team has been giving you, and just pure strength to be able to get the car turned in fast are just as important or even more.
Have you had any scary moments in the rain?
Nope, just lots of drifting.