The Roar
The Roar


Bernie Ecclestone's shower of madness

Roar Guru
2nd March, 2011

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.)