F1: Ecclestone Wants 'Rain Button' In Races, Webber Backs Stewart's Criticism Of Tilke Photo:

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Mike Stevens | Mar, 02 2011 | 3 Comments

F1 officials should have a 'rain button' to ensure excitement during a Grand Prix.

That was the suggestion of the sport's famous Chief Executive Bernie Ecclestone during a typically controversial interview.

"There are race tracks that you can make artificially wet and it would be easy to have such systems at a number of tracks," the 80-year-old told F1's official website.

"Maybe with a two minute warning ahead of it. Suspense would be guaranteed and it would be the same for all," he said.

Ecclestone agreed with his protege Sebastian Vettel that the adjustable rear wings, set to debut in 2011 to help boost overtaking, might not be the best idea.

"To me this system looks pretty dangerous," said the Briton. "What if the wings are not up again before the corner and the driver is lacking downforce?"

Ecclestone also said he thinks he could have prevented Robert Kubica's horror rally crash without forbidding the Pole from indulging in dangerous off-track hobbies.

"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 teammate and the reserve man do the sessions.'

"Do you think he would have taken the chance to rally? I don't think so," said F1's supremo.

Ecclestone also said a decision about whether the Bahrain Grand Prix can be rescheduled this year, possibly at the end of the season or perhaps even during the August 'break', will need to be made soon.

"I have already spoken with FIA president Jean Todt about the possibility of finding a new date and we both agreed that a decision has to be made before the season starts," he said.

He played down rumours a European venue, such as Alcaniz in Spain, could stand in for F1's twentieth race.

"We don't need an alternative race anywhere in Europe or any other place," insisted Ecclestone. "We need a race in Bahrain.

"I think the teams are sensible enough even to race in Bahrain in the summer break, and despite high temperatures, because this is the way we can support the country," he added.



Webber Backs Stewart's Criticism Of Tilke

Mark Webber has backed triple-World Champion Sir Jackie Stewart's views about Formula One circuit design.

"Spot on", said the Australian driver on Twitter, after reading famous Scot Stewart's new column in London's Daily Telegraph.

While discussing the problem that some Grands Prix are not exciting enough, the 71-year-old pointed a finger of criticism at Hermann Tilke.

"I fear he has not done much for the spectators," he said.

Stewart said a major difference between F1 and golf is that golf courses are not "designed by the same person".

"Put simply, they are largely carbon copies of each other and they tend not to penalise mistakes," he said, referring to the new generation of F1 tracks.

Recalling the Abu Dhabi finale last year, Stewart said Fernando Alonso made some "fairly big mistakes" whilst trying to pass Vitaly Petrov, yet Webber was still unable to overtake.

"That is plainly wrong," said Stewart, who was a long campaigner for better safety in F1after witnessing many of his friends and rivals die in the 60s and 70s.

"It is nearly 17 years since a life was lost in an F1 car," he said, referring to the death of Ayrton Senna in 1994.

"But we have now gone too far the other way. Circuits should not permit liberties to be abused without a penalty that can be instantly recognised by spectators or TV viewers.

"Safety is one thing; abuse of privilege is another," he insisted.



Alonso Fends Off Hamilton 'Sabotage' Reports, Believes Pirelli Tires 'Not Good For Big Teams'

Fernando Alonso has fended off the latest press revelations about his stormy relationship with McLaren and Lewis Hamilton in 2007.

In his newly-launched biography about Bernie Ecclestone, author Tom Bower said Spaniard Alonso had asked his then boss Ron Dennis in Hungary to sabotage the sister car driven by Hamilton so that it ran out of fuel.

Bower's 'No Angel' book also claimed that Alonso, who now drives for Ferrari, tried to blackmail Dennis into making him the team's number one driver in exchange for keeping quiet about spygate emails.

"I ignore what is said from other countries," Alonso was quoted by the Spanish press at a sponsor event in Madrid.

Asked about the Bower accusations specifically, he added: "I don't know - everybody is getting on with their own jobs."

Alonso also said this week that he believes F1's switch to Pirelli tyres is "not good for the big teams".

There have been widespread complaints about the severe degradation of the 2011-specification products supplied by the sport's new official supplier.

"There will be lots of pitstops," the Ferrari driver said.

"There will be three or four (pitstops per race) and that's not good for the big teams," Alonso added.

"It mixes the situation, just as in football if there was a penalty each half hour, Barcelona and Real Madrid would not be happy. If it's better for anybody, it's the small teams," he said.

The Spaniard would not, however, be drawn on the likely pecking order for the first race of the season.

"In other years you could have a slight idea," he explained. "But with so many elements and variables to take into account now - moving wings, tyres and KERS - it is virtually impossible to know.

"What we do know is that our car is reliable and that we are happy with it, but not whether it is faster or slower than the others."

Asked which teams have made the most progress since 2010, Alonso answered: "Renault and Toro Rosso."



Raikkonen Not Returning To F1: Ecclestone

Bernie Ecclestone does not think F1's World Champion of 2007 is ever coming back to his sport.

After committing to a second full-time season in the world rally championship this year, Kimi Raikkonen said he has "no interest" in returning to F1.

"No one really knows why Kimi left F1, and many have tried to bring him back again," F1 Chief Executive Ecclestone told the German language Kicker magazine.

"But Kimi has decided to do something else - and that will remain the case," added the 80-year-old Briton.


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