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  Thursday, 10 October, 2002, 14:31 GMT 15:31 UK
Drivers rubbish handicap plan
David Coulthard on his way to victory in the Monaco GP
Coulthard's only win this season was at Monaco
David Coulthard has hit out at proposals to introduce a handicapping system to avoid teams dominanting Formula One.

Key figures in the sport want to take action to arrest a decline in spectator interest - a trend not helped by the lack of any genuine competition for Ferrari this year.

But the McLaren driver said radical proposals to reduce the differences between the F1 teams would be against the spirit of the sport.

"As a knee jerk reaction to try to handicap people who are doing a better job I don't think it is right," he told reporters ahead of Sunday's season-ending Japanese Grand Prix.

"I think it goes against what Formula One stands for, in which the people with the cleverest minds and the best budgets do the best jobs."


I don't think the ballast is the solution
Olivier Panis

F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone suggested a weight handicap to reduce the performance advantage of Ferrari.

Max Mosley, president of motorsport's world governing body FIA, proposed drivers swapping teams during the season to prevent the dominance of one manufacturer.

Jaguar driver Eddie Irvine said: "That's a non-starter.

"How can I go and stand in the Jaguar showroom having driven a Ferrari? Or Michael, the image of Ferrari, and he is driving around in a Minardi in the Monaco Grand Prix."

Other proposals under discussion include changing the system of qualifying so that drivers' grid positions are based on their average time over two sessions.

Bosses are also considering cutting down the number of aerodynamic changes manufacturers can make to their cars over the year.

Finland's Mika Salo joined Coulthard in rejecting the proposals.

"It's not fair if the teams do a good job and they work hard to have the best car that somebody puts weight on them to slow down," said the Toyota driver, who will retire from F1 after the Japan race.

Michael Schumacher (foreground) and Rubens Barrichello after dominating the US Grand Prix
Schumacher and Barrichello have dominated the season

Olivier Panis, who will race for Toyota next season, said he was against handicapping - but admitted that change was needed.

"I feel we need something but it is very complicated. I think it is a good idea if the drivers speak with Max and Bernie, because sure everybody has different ideas," he said.

"I think we need better ideas to be fair with everyone. I don't think the ballast is the solution."

But Barrichello refused to be drawn on any shake-up.

"To be honest I don't want to comment too much because a lot of things have been said and I want to wait until they are proposed," he said.

Formula One bosses will meet at London's Heathrow airport on October 28 to discuss the proposals.

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