Bernie Ecclestone’s shower of madness

Ben Carter Roar Rookie

By Ben Carter, Ben Carter is a Roar Rookie

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8 Have your say

    Did you know that the now silver-haired 80-year-old Bernie Ecclestone from Suffolk actually entered two Grands Prix once?

    In 1958, he failed to make the qualifying cut for the second round in Monaco and left teammate Jack Fairman to pilot the Connaught Type B (with an Alta Straight-4 engine) to another DNQ five rounds later at Silverstone in England. And that was the end of Ecclestone’s grand racing career.

    Perhaps it’s not surprising then that Formula One overlord Bernie sounds more and more like he has little idea as to what either the F1 drivers or fans really want to see happening out on the circuits of the world each year.

    Ecclestone, who variously appears to be considered as either a genial-looking type in the mould of an early incarnation of Doctor Who or challenging Wikileaks’ main main Julian Assange for best-James-Bond-villain-in-waiting-for-MGM-writers, has been ruling the sport of Formula One racing with a maniacal streak matching Who baddie and Dalek creator Davros for the last few years.

    But this time I think he’s taken the proverbial biscuit. If London’s Guardian online is to be believed, Ecclestone is not content with eliminating pitstops for fuel and forcing everyone to race at night to ensure Europeans don’t have to get up at 3am to watch it. Now he wants to replicate the excitement of wet-weather racing, because dry weather racing isn’t interesting enough.

    Quoted by the newspaper on March 1 as speaking to the official F1 website, Ecclestone said artificial rain during races would improve the sport by allowing more overtaking.

    “You have a completely different picture when it is wet,” Ecclestone added.

    “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 10 laps? Maybe with a two-minute warning ahead of it. Suspense would be guaranteed and it would be the same for all.”

    How are we going to get the water onto the track, Bernie? Under-tarmac seepage? A remote-control garden sprinkler system suspended on wires above the circuit?

    And what a waste of water! Not content with being the King of Formula One, it now appears that he wants to pretty much play God, too – and control the weather.

    What about if there’s a death on the track as a result of this idiocy – who would be liable? The driver, the race director, or the Formula One head himself?

    This is a man clutching at straws. Like Cricket Australia – and, in some ways, the AFL – it’s structural changing of the game for the sake of a short-term wide-eyed impulse, with little thought of the consequences. Just like Davros and his best-ever rants at his arch-enemy, the Doctor, really.

    As the Kaled scientist put it in the classic 70s tale “Genesis Of The Daleks”: “To know that life and death on such a scale was my choice. Yes, I would do it. That power would set me up above the gods… and I shall have that power!” (or words to that effect).

    Some thirty years later, Davros, almost inexplicably after falling into a black hole, was back in “The Stolen Earth”.

    He announced his presence as only he could, and it makes the perfect paraphrase for Bernie’s barking mad water idea: “Welcome to my new empire…It’s only fitting that you should bear witness to the resurrection and triumph of Bernie, lord and creator of the Formula One race.” (Cue closing theme tune.)

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    The Crowd Says (8)

    • March 3rd 2011 @ 8:09am
      COLIN M JARMAN said | March 3rd 2011 @ 8:09am | ! Report

      Nice tie-in with Doctor Who … surprised Bernie hasn’t installed TARDIS-technology in the F1 race cars yet. That way he could have races that finish before they start. And possibly conjure up a time and space F1 championship for the ages featuring Fangio, Moss, Clark, Hill, Stewart, Rindt, Hunt, Fittiipaldi, Lauda, Mansell, Senna, Prost, Schumacher et al. … Time Lords start your engines!

      • Roar Guru

        March 3rd 2011 @ 10:33am
        Mark Young said | March 3rd 2011 @ 10:33am | ! Report

        Stop it Colin i’m starting to drool in anticipation!

    • Roar Guru

      March 3rd 2011 @ 8:48am
      Mark Young said | March 3rd 2011 @ 8:48am | ! Report

      Good article Ben. I enjoyed reading it!

      It’s comments like this that make me thankful that Bernie has nothing to do with the rules of Formula 1. Only making motza dollars from the commercial rights of the sport.

      The fact is that he is dead right about wet races being more interesting, but you can create a wet race style of race, without resorting to fake rain. The key is to ensure the drivers have to brake earlier for each corner and that they can drive off line without losing grip. Witness that incredibly lap at Donnigton where Senna simply drove around Schumacher, Hill, and Prost (and Wendlinger I think).

      Both of these could be accomplished by reducing the aerodynamics on the car and having tyres that go off quicker.

      But I guess Fake rain would be easier then either of those options!

      • March 3rd 2011 @ 9:02am
        Stevo said | March 3rd 2011 @ 9:02am | ! Report

        I agree with most of this.

        Another way to have more wet races is to take tracks out of the desert, and into more northern european and tropical locations. But too much rain can be a bad thing, look at the 2007 German GP (I think) as an example.

        The real solution, as Mark said, is to fix the aerodynamics instead of putting sprinklers on the track. Not through movable wings or enforced pit stops, but by proper design and rules that can’t be broken by f-ducts and double diffusers.

        As for tyres going off quicker, that will occur this year. The Pirelli tyres look like they are going off quite quickly, with Vettel expecting each team to pit up to 3-4 times a race.

      • Roar Guru

        March 3rd 2011 @ 9:13am
        Ben Carter said | March 3rd 2011 @ 9:13am | ! Report

        Thanks Mark!

    • Roar Guru

      March 3rd 2011 @ 9:11am
      Mark Young said | March 3rd 2011 @ 9:11am | ! Report

      You realise that this makes him an F1Reject!

    • March 3rd 2011 @ 10:04am
      stig said | March 3rd 2011 @ 10:04am | ! Report

      Has Bernie seen the movie Death Race? Maybe after he gets the artificial rain he could put guns on the cars or smoke screens and oil slicks? While he’s at it just make them all drive James Bond cars.

    • March 17th 2011 @ 1:52pm
      cee said | March 17th 2011 @ 1:52pm | ! Report

      next he’ll be suggesting the input of traffic lights and pedestrian crossings

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