Why do the bottom formula1 teams perform much closer to the top teams when it’s raining?

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Why do the bottom formula1 teams perform much closer to the top teams when it’s raining?

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It’s less about the cars when it’s wet and more about the individual driver skill. So when the lower teams have great drivers like Fernando and Seb, then those guys will rise to the top. Rain is a great leveller as top speed and ‘slippery’ cars don’t matter.

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In the rain it’s much harder to extract performance out of a car due to the reduced grip so it’s down more to individual driver performance and skill than to the car.

The drivers that excellent in low grip conditions will rise to the top.

I would like to add one more aspect to the already given answers: In rainy conditions the track switches between being dry and being wet. This is because F1 cars will dry up a track very fast when the rain stops but when it rains again it will get wet very fast.

If you drive a wet track with tires made for dry conditions (called slicks) then you have no grip and is almost impossible. But if you use tires for wet conditions when it is dry then you have no speed. Then there also are intermediate tires that can do both but do not excell in eighter.

This makes the tire and the pit strategy a deciding factor in any race with serious rain.

Because all teams have the same tires it mainly comes down to making the right call at the right time.

A great example is Lando Norris in Sochi in 2021. He was driving first when it started to rain. They did not switch to wet tires and despite his huge time advantage because he did not pit he couldn’t finish the race on slicks.

The best (naturally gifted) drivers do well in the rain. I’ve not been close to F1 for a few years now but the best two I’ve seen in the rain were Hamilton and Schumacher.