Following his suggestion that artificial 'rain' during grands prix could be an easy way of spicing up the spectacle, F1 commercial rights-holder Bernie Ecclestone has been accused of 'losing his mind a little bit' and 'making a mockery of the pinnacle of the sport'.
Reasoning that 'we always had the most exciting races in the wet', Ecclestone earlier this week tabled the controversial notion of 'making rain...for 20 minutes or the last ten laps' [see separate story – click here
] – but it is an idea that has received short shrift from Australian V8 Supercar star Cameron McConville, who drove an F1 car at Honda's Twin Ring Motegi test track at the end of 2008.
The 37-year-old contends that whilst deliberately altering race conditions with little forewarning might indeed create more overtaking and unpredictability, it would also likely engender more accidents, and therefore cast driver safety to the winds.
“F1 is supposed to be the pinnacle of world motor racing,” he told Australia's Daily Telegraph
. “Maybe he (Ecclestone) is losing his mind a little bit. To make it artificial like that is making a mockery of the pinnacle of the sport.
“When he's saying mobile rain clouds, he's clearly trying to spice things up and create more carnage. Things like wetting tracks should be left to the utes (utility vehicles).”
McConville's sentiments have been echoed by former F1 ace Jos Verstappen – who described the rain-making ploy as 'ridiculous' – and current Red Bull Racing star Mark Webber, who said in an interview with BBC Radio
: “Think of guys like Ayrton Senna and Jackie Stewart and Jimmy Clark and they would be...well, Jackie is still here, but the other two would be turning in their graves at the thought.”