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  Tuesday, 8 October, 2002, 08:03 GMT 09:03 UK
F1 bosses scoff at proposals
Juan-Pablo Montoya of Williams enters a corner ahead of McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen
McLaren and Williams both oppose the weight plan
Leading Formula One team bosses have dismissed as a "knee-jerk" reaction proposals to introduce weight penalties on cars next season.

F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone has proposed the idea as a way of preventing any team dominating in the way Ferrari have this year.

Michael Schumacher won his fifth world drivers championship with six races left and team-mate Rubens Barrichello will finish runner-up after eight one-twos between them.

But Patrick Head, technical director of BMW Williams, believes it is up to the other teams to match Ferrari's pace rather than seek ways to slow them down.


Nobody wants to beat Ferrari simply because their cars are carrying additional weight
McLaren managing director Martin Whitmarsh

"I find the suggestion of adding ballast to anyone's car rather distasteful," Head said.

"Does that mean Arsenal have to field nine men when they play Chelsea or Pete Sampras has two strings cut from his racket when he meets Tim Henman?

"The idea of handicapping has been mooted on and off over the years. It would certainly change the face of F1 but I am not sure it would make it better or more entertaining.

"It's a knee-jerk reaction because Ferrari have been so dominant. But it is up to other teams to not only catch them but to overtake them. That is something we feel we are more than capable of doing.

"People at the back of the grid or with lower budgets will probably be all in favour of it. If the ballast only applied to Michael Schumacher, I would be all for it!"

Head's view was backed up by McLaren's managing director Martin Whitmarsh, who insisted his team would not support "handicapping".

"Ferrari have done a fantastic job and we and Williams have under-performed," Whitmarsh said. "It's up to us to put that right.

BMW Williams team director Patrick Head
Head finds the penalty idea "distasteful"

"Nobody wants to beat Ferrari simply because their cars are carrying additional weight."

Ferrari president Luca di Montezmolo will also oppose the proposals, warning that "Formula One is not a gymkhana".

"There is a commission to decide on these matters and I hope they make an agreement which is within the spirit of the rules," Montezmolo said.

"You cannot simply handicap the best car and the best team because they are winning."

Jordan team boss Eddie Jordan was one owner however who supports the plan.

Jordan told BBC Radio Five Live: "I think it is an excellent, proven, guaranteed way of levelling out the field."

He pointed out that the idea is used with success in touring car racing and there was no reason why it would not work in F1.


We need a very exciting championship that is TV-pleasant to everybody
Eddie Jordan

He added that TV viewing figures had dropped off this year and that F1 needed to find a way to attract back the fans it had lost.

"One of the reasons that Bernie Ecclestone has headlined the weight penalty is that it is very easy to put in place and manage and have regulations controlling it," Jordan said.

"The teams would never agree to it en masse so he has to be quite tough and draconian and put in something that he firmly believes will put F1 back to the footing it had."

It is expected that the idea will be discussed at a meeting of the F1 Commission - a rule-making body - on 28 October.

There only need be a majority in favour of the idea at the meeting for it to be introduced next year.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC Five Live's Jonathan Legard
"It sounds outrageous but is sure to cause debate"
F1 team owner Eddie Jordan
"I think it's an excellent idea"
See also:

02 Sep 02 | Funny Old Game
04 Oct 02 | Formula One
01 Oct 02 | Formula One
07 Oct 02 | Formula One
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