x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

Mark Webber puts dampeners on F1 sprinkler proposals

The Red Bull-Renault driver pours cold water over Bernie Ecclestone's ideas to introduce a sprinkler system during races to make them more exciting.

Mark Webber, the Red Bull-Renault driver, is one of many critics of Bernie Ecclestone's proposal to introduce a sophisticated sprinkler system during races to make them more entertaining. Vladimir Rys / Getty Images
Mark Webber, the Red Bull-Renault driver, is one of many critics of Bernie Ecclestone's proposal to introduce a sophisticated sprinkler system during races to make them more entertaining. Vladimir Rys / Getty Images

Mark Webber said he is adamantly opposed to Bernie Ecclestone's idea of using "fake rain" during Formula One races.

Ecclestone stirred up a debate this week when he proposed the possibility of employing a sophisticated sprinkler system to help liven up this season's races. Critics have since poured cold water on the idea, with the outspoken Webber leading the way.

Asked whether the sport needed such measures and whether he is in favour, Webber, the Red Bull-Renault driver, replied: "No and no."

"It can be more exciting when we have some different weather conditions, that does happen," he said, speaking on BBC radio. "But you just think of Jimmy Clark, Jackie Stewart, [Ayrton] Senna and those guys - masters in the wet.

"Jackie's still here, but the other two would be turning in their graves if they thought we'd have sprinklers and hoses lined up around the track.

"It wouldn't be the most sophisticated way to make the show more entertaining."

Ecclestone, the F1 chief, said he was "happy to make it happen".

"My idea is we should make a programme that nobody knows exactly which one is going to be used and it would start at some time during the race," he said. "It would effectively be raining. It would maybe stop and maybe rain again later. Or maybe not. So nobody would know."

Elsewhere yesterday, Ford said that it is dropping its lawsuit against Ferrari over the naming of Ferarri's F1 car.

The team had named their new challenger the "F150" as a means of marking the 150th anniversary of the unification of Italy.

Ford, however, claimed this represented a trademark infringement as their F-150 truck is one of their best-selling models in the United States.

That resulted in the American manufacturer filing papers with the US District Court in Detroit asking for Ferrari to be barred from using the name and seeking unspecified damages.

Ferrari immediately rectified the matter by re-naming their car the F150th Italia, resulting in Ford then filing a notice requesting the judge dismiss the case.