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Bernie does it again

NEWS STORY
27/10/2016

He might be slight in stature but there is no doubt that Bernie Ecclestone has the biggest feet in the F1 paddock and once again he has put his size 18s right in it.

Ahead of Sunday's Mexican Grand Prix, at a circuit named in honour of two brothers who both gave their lives to motor sport, the younger, Ricardo Rodriguez, at this very track, the F1 supremo has said that what the sport needs is more crashes.

"In those days, and it can't happen again, people would come to a race and think somebody could get killed," Ecclestone told reporters. "Today they know they come to a race and nobody is going to get killed. Which is good."

Referring to the ongoing row over track limits, the Briton's answer is simple.

"I've been criticized 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, referring to street tacks like Monaco and Singapore where exceeding the track limits will be punished by a safety barrier or wall.

At a time many feel that F1 is safer than it has ever been, due largely to the strides that have been takes in the wake of numerous fatal accidents including Roland Ratzenberger, Ayrton Senna and Jules Bianchi, Ecclestone suggested that the sport could take advantage of accidents where drivers walked away, using Fernando Alonso's Melbourne crash as an example.

"What Fernando had in Australia, you wouldn't think he was going to walk away," he said. "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', you tell the viewers, and later on you announce that, 'thank God, he's out'.

"A bit of showbiz, people like that."

As ever, Ecclestone's comments were no doubt made with his tongue very much in his cheek and aimed at the sport's new owners where Chase Carey, who is eyeing how Disney might help take the sport to another level, is already fuelling fears F1 could be (further) dumbed down.

However, such comments should not be made even in jest, as Ecclestone well knows.

Aside from the numerous deaths he witnessed in the sport during its darkest era of the 50s and 60s, Ecclestone was particularly close to two drivers who died at the wheel of F1 cars, Stuart-Lewis Evans and Jochen Rindt, both of whom he managed and whose deaths had a major impact on him.

Furthermore, at a time Ayrton Senna was dithering, pondering following Alain Prost's example and taking a year out of the sport, Ecclestone talked of the days when "natural culling" kept the drivers in line... then came Imola.

Check out our Thursday gallery from Mexico City, here.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Spindoctor, 29/10/2016 11:29

"Sorry, but this is just another example of why F1 would be better off without that noxious little man."

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2. Posted by koko, 27/10/2016 15:52

"On one hand, I think he's right. With one exception: not the Alonso-like crashes, but more like "driver-error" crashes. Things like missed gear shifts, out-of-fuel, broken radio-communication, wrong timing for tire-change, etc. Not necessarily things that makes the driver stop or hurt (well, physically). I don't want to see them "playing" F1 in the most realistic simulator ever with all the aids and gimmicks that might allow even me to drive that car reasonably fast. IMO, this is what made Senna, Mansell or Prost great.

Today, F1 seems more like a fight between corporations - and if they can afford, they hire the best mercenary.

My 2c. "

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3. Posted by Tweek, 27/10/2016 15:33

"Bernie must have been watching nascar while he was in Austin. "

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4. Posted by ryanhellyer, 27/10/2016 9:49

"Are you sure he's joking? I've often thought that more crashes would add to the appeal for the masses."

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