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Page last updated at 13:51 GMT, Friday, 15 January 2010

Eddie Irvine criticises Bernie Ecclestone shortcut plan

Eddie Irvine
Irvine raced for Ferrari, Jordan and Jaguar in a colourful career

Former Ferrari driver Eddie Irvine has dismissed Bernie Ecclestone's proposal that shortcuts should be introduced to Formula 1 circuits.

It is the latest in a series of radical ideas put forward by F1's ring master in an attempt to improve racing.

But Irvine told BBC Radio 5 live: "It doesn't make sense. It's not even a gimmick really, it's horrible.

"The whole point about Formula 1 is that it's difficult to overtake, it's something special."

Ecclestone's proposals are believed to be motivated by a belief that this year's ban on refuelling will have a detrimental effect on racing by reducing the ability of drivers to change position.

Overtaking is notoriously difficult in F1 and drivers and teams have often used pit stops and strategy to try to pass rivals who are holding them up.

But leading engineers say there is no reason to believe the racing will be worse in 2010 just because refuelling is no longer allowed.

The sport just needs to go back to how it was and realise they've been messing around in the last 10 years with something which was fine

Former driver Eddie Irvine

And Irvine believes banning refuelling could encourage overtaking, saying: "That in itself will make overtaking more plausible because of the difference in potential between the cars.

"Some cars will be better on full fuel, some will be better on low fuel, so you'll have a greater difference. You'll have drivers who are harder on their tyres than others, so there'll be a greater difference.

"The degradation of the cars will be higher because they're carrying so much fuel - that will all help."

In the past year Ecclestone has suggested major changes to F1's regulations, including making the driver with the most wins world champion, and deciding the top 10 starting positions on the grid by a lottery.

Both proposals were eventually rejected but a revised points system has been introduced and Irvine criticised the sport's governing body for making changes he believes have destroyed the sport's history.

"The problem with Formula 1 is that they keep changing things to try and make it better when really there was nothing wrong in the first place," said the former Ferrari and Jordan driver.

"At the end of the day, the whole sport has been destroyed because they've changed qualifying, they've changed the points system.

606: DEBATE
Jet F1

"They've taken away the history of the sport. It had a great history, you had statistics that drivers could say 'I've got so many points, I scored a point in my first grand prix, I can compare myself with guys in the 70s the 80s'.

"The fans could see the history, but nothing is relevant to what used to happen, it's all changed, it's all rubbish.

"They just need to say 'right, the sport was great back then, let's keep it like that'."

Four new teams are set to be on the grid for the first race of the season in Bahrain on 14 March.

Lotus will be joined by US F1, Virgin and Campos, although there has been speculation about the state of readiness of all of them.

But Irvine is hopeful that the presence of the new teams will improve the sport as a spectacle.

Irvine said: "Hopefully with these privateer teams coming in they won't be as professional as the manufacturers, they won't have the budgets. There'll be greater difference between the cars and there'll be more lapping going on, it used to be a big part of the race.

"They just need to go back to how it was and realise they've been messing around in the last 10 years with something which was fine."



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see also
How F1 will change in 2010
15 Jan 10 |  Formula 1
New teams deny Ecclestone doubts
22 Dec 09 |  Formula 1
Button backs new F1 points system
12 Dec 09 |  Formula 1
F1 to introduce new 2010 scoring
11 Dec 09 |  Formula 1
New deal ends F1 breakaway fears
01 Aug 09 |  Formula 1
Massa supports F1 points U-turn
25 Mar 09 |  Formula 1
F1 in disarray over scoring plan
20 Mar 09 |  Formula 1
F1 boss plans scoring revolution
26 Nov 08 |  Formula 1


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