Legendary commentator Murray Walker has described Ecclestone’s proposal – whereby the racing would be spiced up by the unexpected introduction of fake rain via an automated sprinkler system – as going against the nature of the sport.
Speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live’s season preview podcast, Walker described himself as “an old-fashioned traditionalist” before adding: “I yearn for the days when the driver got in the car and there was a clutch pedal, a gear lever and a steering wheel and he went for it.
“Nowadays there are so many artificial aids, so many buttons for the driver to press – it’s going to be terribly confusing for them this year – but the thought of turning sprinklers on during a race … it’s so artificial and so contrived that it’s not going to be Formula 1 anymore.
“I would far rather have the races with the rain coming totally unexpectedly; when you go to Belgium and Spa (pictured), for instance, you can be sure that there’s going to be rain at some time during the meeting but you don’t know when it’s going to be. But I would hate to know that, at whatever race you are going to, there was going to be an artificially induced wet track.”
Walker offered the very sensible point that novelties and gimmicks wouldn’t be required if the audience is well-informed.
“There is no such thing as a dull Formula 1 race,” he added. “There can be a processional Formula 1 race, but there’s always something dramatic and exciting if you know where to look. Formula 1 is a very complicated sport but there is always something dramatic going on.”
Well said, Murray!