Bernie Ecclestone Decides To Play God With an Eccentric F1 Sprinkler Plan

Craig ChristopherAnalyst IMarch 23, 2011

Bernie's happy when it rains, but it's apparently not often enough.
Bernie's happy when it rains, but it's apparently not often enough.Paul Gilham/Getty Images

Formula 1 fans have joked about it for years, but it seems that even F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has come to the realization that the sport is at its best when the track gets wet.

In fact, he's considering the use of sprinklers to liven things up.

According to the BBC website, Ecclestone is reported to have said that "there's no reason why sprinklers shouldn't happen.

"There's so much support because wet races are always the best by far."

He went on to say, "I thought maybe at the beginning it was a little crazy [to suggest the use of sprinkler systems on F1 tracks] but it's surprising how much support that idea is getting now.

"Providing we do it so nobody would know when it was going to happen, like when it rains, I think it would make for a lot of entertainment.”

This is despite opposition from a number of drivers, reportedly including Red Bull pilot Mark Webber, and skepticism from their teams.

The counterargument is, of course, that last season was an absolute cracker that had the closest finish in years—five drivers in line for the championship with two races to go.

But that’s only half of the story.

The plain truth is that with a few exceptions, particularly when it rained, the racing was processional, predictable and at times very frustrating.

Take the final race as an example.

At the sleep-inducing, Hermann Tilke-designed Abu Dhabi track, title contenders Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso were stuck behind lesser cars for over 30 laps, unable to pass because Herr Tilke can only design tracks that look good on paper.

And that’s the story for an ever-increasing number of circuits on the ever-burgeoning F1 calendar.

Sprinklers couldn’t possibly make things worse, could they?

Except that they're a contrived solution.

F1 has many faults, but at least we know that (team orders aside) the racing is genuine and that the best team usually wins on the day.

Steps have already been made to make the racing more interesting. For example, the moveable rear wing, KERS and the aero changes will all go a long way to make overtaking easier. Artificially changing the “weather” conditions is unnecessary and smacks of desperation.

Can we at least see how the current raft of changes will play out before going down the path to gimmickry?

I have my doubts as to how much of a difference these changes will make, but we should still wait and see. We’ll have some idea in a few days' time.

And not a moment too soon.