Felipe Massa: 'Tyres to blame for Formula 1 rain delays'

Pirelli Cinturato intermediate tyres during previews to the Australian Formula One Grand Prix at Albert Park on March 17, 2016
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Pirelli hits back at claims that it is to blame for the dearth of wet-weather racing in Formula 1 today.

Pirelli has hit back at claims that it is to blame for the dearth of wet-weather racing in Formula 1 today.

While safety standards in the sport have steadily improved, the other trend of the last decade is that F1 race director Charlie Whiting is increasingly prone to halting track action in the event of rain.

F1 veteran Felipe Massa said that this is because of Pirelli's rain tyres.

"The problem we have is the aquaplaning on these tyres," he is quoted as saying by Brazil's UOL.

However, Pirelli chief Mario Isola hit back at that sort of claim.

"The rain tyres are designed to run on a wet track," he insisted.

"We have already shown in situations like practice in the US GP, with heavy rain, the tyres work in this type of condition. What we have seen is many races stopped because of visibility."

The other theory is that Whiting and the FIA are simply increasingly reluctant to let drivers take too many risks in wet weather.

"I think we are considering a safety margin that is greater than normal," said Sauber driver Felipe Nasr.

"The best example is the British Grand Prix, where we, the drivers, felt that we could have gone at least two laps earlier. It's the FIA who decides, but we already expressed our opinion to them about that," he added.

One proposed solution by the FIA is that, in the event of a safety car start, the cars will in future be returned to the grid when the track is safe for a normal standing start.

"Everyone seems to agree with that," admitted Whiting.

Whiting also seemed to side with Massa over the issue of Pirelli's wet tyres.

"We know that the drivers don't like driving on the wet weather tyres," he said. "They don't have such a tread depth and then they start aquaplaning - these are all the things we have to take into account.

"We know that driving in the wet is not easy, but it never has been and there is no suggestion that we're doing it for any other reason than to try and make sure that the drivers don't aquaplane."

The 2016 championship emerges from its summer break with the Belgian Grand Prix in two weeks' time.

Nico Rosberg of Germany and Mercedes GP leads Sebastian Vettel of Germany and Ferrari and Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP into the first corner during the Spanish Formula One Grand Prix at Circuit de Catalunya on May 10, 2015
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