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Ecclestone keen to 'make' it rain during races

ESPNF1 Staff
March 1, 2011 « HRT still waits on 2011 car | »
Bernie Ecclestone wants to improve racing by installing sprinkler systems © Sutton Images

Bernie Ecclestone would like to see trackside sprinklers at Formula One circuits to artificially create the excitement of a wet circuit midway through grands prix.

The F1 CEO, who also sticks by his medal proposal, said it would be a sure-fire way to increase overtaking.

"Look at the races we have now," Ecclestone told Formula1.com. "Overtaking is almost impossible because in the dry there is only one line good for maximum speed because of the rubber on the track. You have a completely different picture when it is wet. We always had the most exciting races in the wet so let's think of making rain…

"There are race tracks that you can make artificially wet and it would be easy to have such systems at a number of tracks. Why not let it 'rain' in the middle of a race? For 20 minutes or the last ten laps? Maybe with a two-minute warning ahead of it. Suspense would be guaranteed and it would be the same for all."

F1's latest rule change to improve overtaking is a drag reduction system that allows drivers to change the angle of their rear wing in order to increase top speed. They will be allowed to reduce the wing angle when they are within a second of the car in front, but only on a 600-metre long section of the circuit's longest straight. Ecclestone believes this idea could lead to disputes between teams and even become dangerous.

"It is very difficult to control it by the stewards because the window of usage is very small", he said. "The chances for protests are inevitably there. To me this system looks pretty dangerous. What if the wings are not up again before the corner and the driver is lacking downforce? That could easily lead to incidents. We have to observe it carefully."

Talking about this year's title chase, Ecclestone said Red Bull appeared to be on top after early testing.

"Looks like Red Bull again has the best car and the others have to close a gap before the first race," he said.

And when asked which of the team's two drivers - Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber - would come out on top, he added: "Very clearly Sebastian!"

On Robert Kubica, who could miss the whole season with Renault due to injuries sustained during a rally earlier this month, Ecclestone said he would have taken a stricter approach.

"Between two tests he was rallying and had this accident," Ecclestone said. "I would have told him, 'Listen, you are rallying next week so I guess you are a bit too tired for the test on the following weekend. So let's have your team mate and the reserve man do the sessions.' Do you think he would have taken the chance to rally? I don't think so."