With the Pirelli wet weather simulation test at the Paul Ricard Circuit in the South of France having reached its conclusion yesterday. JWGP spoke to the circuit management around the environmental impact of this form of simulation.
In order to simulate the wet weather conditions required for Pirelli to trial revised compounds and construction of the wet and Intermediate tyre the circuit utilises 400 sprinklers installed around the circuit. These sprinklers dispense 20 cubic metres of water per minute across the circuit amounting to a total of 3 million litres of water per day.
In total 6 million litres of water hit the track over the 2-day test session, which would be the same as filling 4 Olympic sized swimming pools. Whilst water scarcity is not an issue in the area surrounding the circuit, some may question if this is an effective use of resources. However, the Paul Ricard circuit has installed an entirely closed loop waste free solution to facilitate wet weather simulations.
The water used through such tests is recovered rain water, no water from the local water grid is used by the circuit for wet weather testing. The drainage system in place throughout the circuit channels all water back towards a lake situated near the circuit (pictured)
Through this system the circuit is able to offer wet weather simulation capabilities with zero impact to the local water grid. This closed loop solution not only minimises the cost of such a test (water is not free!) but also ensures minimal negative impact on the local environment. Should FOM ever seriously seek to investigate the use of such systems in race situations, a closed loop solution as achieved at the Paul Ricard circuit would have to be incorporated into any proposal.