Bernie Ecclestone has called for a 'hard but fair' approach from the Formula 1 World Championship contenders, their teams, team-mates and allies in the final two races of the 2008 campaign, as off-track hostilities threaten to spill over onto the circuit.
In the wake of the contentious Japanese Grand Prix last weekend, Felipe Massa blamed both McLaren-Mercedes title rival Lewis Hamilton and Scuderia Toro Rosso's Sébastien Bourdais for his clashes with the pair – despite the general paddock consensus being that the Brazilian had been at fault on both occasions – whilst former double F1 World Champion Fernando Alonso has vowed to 'help' the Ferrari star to clinch the laurels if he can.
Moreover, BMW-Sauber ace Robert Kubica blasted Hamilton's driving as being both 'dangerous' and 'too much', as the Briton accused Massa of a 'deliberate' attempt to take him out at Fuji Speedway [see separate story – click here
With tensions running increasingly high as the showdown closes in – with just the Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai this weekend and the Brazilian Grand Prix finale at Interlagos a fortnight later left on the calendar – and suggestions race stewards, team-mates and 'allies' could come into play to determine the eventual destiny of the crown, the sport's ringmaster Ecclestone has demanded that everybody play fair.
“We want fair play at all times,” the 77-year-old told the Gulf News
newspaper. “Hard and close racing, yes, but fair play too, without drivers being put in danger.
“The wider world is watching and awaiting the outcome of what has turned into a great championship. We don't want it spoiled and we will crack down on any dirty tricks.”