It might have been received with ridicule in many quarters, but Bernie Ecclestone's notion of 'making rain' in a bid to spice up the spectacle in F1, increase overtaking and introduce a much-needed element of unpredictability has been welcomed by the promoter of the forthcoming US Grand Prix in Texas, with Tavo Hellmund describing the suggestion as 'brilliant on several fronts'.
F1's commercial rights-holder was derided as 'making a mockery of the pinnacle of the sport' and accused of 'losing his mind' in the wake of his comments, with Red Bull Racing star Mark Webber even going so far as to say the mere thought of 'artificial' rain would cause the late Ayrton Senna and Jim Clark to 'turn in their graves' [see separate story – click here
Whilst many have filed rain-making under the same 'non-starter' category as Ecclestone's controversial 'short-cut' proposal just over a year ago, Hellmund has praised the idea as 'brilliant on several fronts' and likely to lead to 'spectacular' races whilst not damaging ticket sales, as genuine bad weather is conversely apt to do.
Formula One Management (FOM) chief executive Ecclestone contends that it would be 'easy' to accordingly adapt the irrigation systems for just such an eventuality at 'a number of tracks', with the under-construction circuit at Austin a viable candidate due to its development being 'in the beginning stages'.
“True talent always shines in the wet,” Hellmund told The Austin American-Statesman
. “The smaller teams should rejoice as rain is the ultimate equaliser, eliminating size of budgets and allowing pure talent to shine.”
He added that he intends to discuss with Ecclestone the possibility of implementing an artificial rain-making facility at the new Texas circuit, aided by a reported $12.5 million injection of cash from ten private investors. The race is expected to be slotted into the calendar in the summer of 2012, dovetailed with the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal.