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Webber: wet races will require some difficult decisions 24 Jan 2008

Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB3 leads Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR02.
Formula One World Championship, Rd15, Japanese Grand Prix, Race Day, Fuji Speedway, Fuji, Japan, Sunday, 30 September 2007 Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing.
Formula One World Championship, Rd15, Japanese Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Fuji Speedway, Fuji, Japan, Saturday, 29 September 2007 Sebastian Vettel (GER) BMW Sauber F1 Test Driver. Formula One Testing, Day Three, Valencia, Spain, Wednesday 23 January 2008. World © Hartley/Sutton

Red Bull’s Mark Webber believes that race officials could face some tough calls this year in deciding when it is safe to race in wet conditions. It follows the ban on traction control for the 2008 season.

Webber, who lost out on a potential podium at a rain-soaked Fuji last year after being hit from behind by Sebastian Vettel, admits that competing in the wet could prove trickier this year, but feels it is the race director who will have the most difficult job.

“When visibility’s very low, that’s one thing, but when it becomes very difficult for us to control the cars and there are a lot of accidents with cars spinning, then obviously the correct decisions will need to be made at the time,” the Australian told Formula1.com.

“The drivers have the talent to be able to handle their cars in difficult conditions, but they don’t have the talent to be able to control them in impossible conditions, so we just have to find the balance. I think the biggest unknown this year is the conditions that will be regarded as acceptable for us to race in without traction control.”

For his part, Vettel, Webber’s stable mate at Toro Rosso, believes that the removal of traction control won’t in itself make competing in the wet significantly more dangerous, but agreed that it is a matter of deciding where to draw the line.

“It would be wrong to say that it isn’t safer to run with TC, but the risk is not that much higher because in difficult conditions, like those last year in Japan, it is also dangerous to run with traction control,” Vettel told Formula1.com.

“Formula One is potentially dangerous because if you are driving at 300 km/h and you lose control, for whatever reasons, the speed has to go somewhere. It is a question of assessing at each individual race what measures have to be taken to keep it safe for us guys.”

The ban on traction control for 2008 is accompanied by the outlawing of launch control systems and the introduction of standardised Electronic Control Units (ECUs) on all cars.