- Rain is The Great Equalizer, Germany, 2019. Photo: Formula 1: https://www.formula1.com/en/latest/article.revealed-the-top-10-races-of-the-decade-as-chosen-by-you.4ErRs8ahQWo6u8hIXDu2mI.html

    Bernie Ecclestone's Sprinkler Idea does Work

    Istanbul Provided the Proof and an Alternative

    3d ago


    The ex F1-Chief's idea may not be so bad but there may be a better way to spice up races and Istanbul's Intercity Park showed us the way.

    In 2011, then F1 boss, Bernie Ecclestone had the outrageous idea of making races more interesting by installing sprinklers to make tracks wet and make Formula 1 unpredictable for fans. The idea may sound good but Ecclestone faced severe backlash and criticism from fans and drivers alike for the idea. The plan for Bernie to play God and bring rain to F1 was accordingly ditched.

    With Lewis Hamilton winning 10 and Mercedes winning 12 out of 14 races, fans are screaming for more on-track action and a wet track certainly fulfils that demand. The saying that 'rain is a great equalizer' has been proven true in the past with races like Germany 2019 and more recently by Turkey 2020. History does suggest that wet races are interesting and surely the occasional appearance of sprinklers wouldn't have hurt the spectacle.

    Ex-Formula One Chief Bernie Ecclestone. Photo: FoxSportAsia

    Ex-Formula One Chief Bernie Ecclestone. Photo: FoxSportAsia

    However, Intercity Park showed that there is a cheekier way to make racing exciting without anyone having to play God; resurface the track just before F1 arrives and don't let anyone run before F1. This is exactly what happened in Turkey and did a great job in testing the drivers and shaking up the order.

    Every year, a few tracks need resurfacing. Instead of resurfacing them at the start of the year and running different series before F1 so that the track gets rubbered in, organisers can ensure that the resurfacing is complete just about a week before the race and F1 cars are the first to go around it. In Istanbul, drivers struggled from the start due to lack of grip from the oils and resins coming out of the newly laid tarmac.

    Rain and a New Surface Made the Turkish Grand Prix Very Unpredictable. Photo: XPB Images

    Rain and a New Surface Made the Turkish Grand Prix Very Unpredictable. Photo: XPB Images

    Rain would be a bonus and would make things even slipperier if it comes down during the race. Even a dry race would be great as no one would feel comfortable and the drivers would stay on the edge throughout with any mistake being severely punished. It would definitely aid drivers with experience and with great car control and effectively separate the champions from the also-rans.

    In conclusion, we can't always bring rain to F1 nor it always comes to races (every approaching shower has missed the circuit by a few miles this year), but we can sure make things slippery once in a while by resurfacing tracks right before a race.

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    Comments (9)

    • Well it is entertaining, but I don't want it at every race. I want to see the ultimate edge of mechanical performance at most tracks...

        3 days ago
    • Interesting idea, but totally impractical I would think.

      Would there be enough tracks requiring resurfacing each year to make it viable?

      It also depends on the tarmac used and closeness of the grit. Turkey used a fine grit so it left a very smooth surface. A larger grit leaves a rougher surface that would still give a bit of grip.

      Interesting, but it throws up a lot of questions

        3 days ago
      • It doesn't need to happen a lot, just to change things up once in a while. They could use the same tarmac as Turkey.

          3 days ago
      • Works for me

          3 days ago
    • Not all Bernie's ideas were mad, lots of them but not all...

        3 days ago
      • Yeah. You could modify many and make them pretty good. He didn't put his ideas properly.

          3 days ago


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