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Pirelli back artificial wet races

Why couldn't the recent interview with Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone have gone unnoticed?

In the interview Bernie spoke on a number of topics including the cancelled Bahrain Grand Prix, his medal system, the new moveable rear-wings, but it was his comments on 'fake rain' that caught the headlines.

'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.'

While this idea might sound like it came straight from Bernie watching a Wacky Races cartoon, it would appear that the idea was actually suggested to Bernie by Pirelli's motorsport director following a recent wet weather test in Abu Dhabi during the testing sessions for the new Pirelli tyres.

'Straight after our recent successful Abu Dhabi test I saw him [Bernie] and said, 'why don't we do an artificial wet race?' The technology is such that you can wet a circuit with a sprinkler system, so the idea is not as daft as it sounds.' Pirelli's motorsport director Paul Hembery told Autosport Magazine.

'Having seen what it was like in Abu Dhabi, certainly with a wet element it would look spectacular - and visibility shouldn't be a problem because there would be no clouds.

'From a tyre makers' point of view, there is no difficulty in making suitable tyres. We have seen great races in the past when you have had an extra variable like the weather, so why not?'

The idea, despite being bizarre, seems to have almost gained some momentum over the last couple of days and Bernie has once again spoke about the idea.

'I'm happy to make it happen, I've got to get everyone to fall into line. My idea is that we should make a programme but that nobody knows exactly which one will be used.' Ecclestone told the BBC.

He continued: 'At some time during the race it will be raining, maybe rain more than once. It's a bit more than a sprinkler system.

'We always have thoughts to do what we can to keep people entertained, we're in the entertainment business.'

Considering that the F1 boss believes that protests are probably inevitable following the introduction of the new moveable rear-wing for 2011 due to how it is regulated, it is a surprise that he doesn't feel that this could also bring controversy to a race.

Anything manufactured is open to abuse. While Bernie might claim that the 'fake rain' will be ran by a computer program with a random selection for when it happens and the levels of rain, spectators will shout conspiracy theories if it ever has any affect on a race outcome.

While fans want the races to be entertaining, we also want F1 to remain as a sport first and for that to happen, you simply cannot interfere with the outcomes of the race with anything artificial.

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The Journalist

Writer: Red5 Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Thursday March 3 2011

Time: 2:12PM

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