Bernie Ecclestone has stirred controversy by suggesting Formula 1 could stand to increase its 'danger' element by modifying some circuits and described the spectacular accident suffered by Fernando Alonso in the Australian Grand Prix as 'showbiz'.
The F1 supremo has repeatedly expressed his dissatisfaction with the current generation of F1 cars, lambasting the 'quieter' V6 Hybrid machinery for lacking spectacle and appearing too easy to drive. He has also criticised what he considers scant deterrents for drivers who make mistakes at many circuits, namely large run-off areas.
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Pointing to street races in Monaco, Baku and Singapore, Ecclestone says such venues 'concentrate the mind' and suggested some corners could be made more challenging with modifications like a wall to deter errors.
"In those (the old) days, and it can't happen again, people would come to a race and think somebody could get killed," Ecclestone told Reuters
"Today they know they come to a race and nobody is going to get killed. Which is good. I've been criticised probably by everybody because I wanted to build 40cm walls around the corners. They keep saying they mustn't go off the road, I promise they won't," he added.
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Describing F1 as a circus high wire act that is only one metre off the ground, Ecclestone went on to say F1 benefits from spectacular moments such as that suffered by Alonso in Australia. The two-time champion's McLaren-Honda was destroyed after Alonso clipped the back of Esteban Gutierrez' Haas and was flung into the fence and into a series of barrel-rolls.
Whilst Ecclestone says he doesn't want to see any drivers get hurt, he says the drama of the 'big sheets and ambulance' were ultimately good for the sport.
"What Fernando had in Australia ... you wouldn't think he was going to walk away. What we ought to do immediately that happens is have big sheets all the way around, bring the ambulance in ... and take him away. He's gone to the hospital and later on you announce that, thank God, he's out. A bit of showbiz. People like that."
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