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F1 tracks should have shortcuts - Bernie Ecclestone

Bernie Ecclestone and Fernando Alonso
Ecclestone is worried that races in 2010 might be processional

Formula 1 commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone has proposed introducing shortcuts to grand prix tracks in an attempt to improve the racing.

It is the latest of a series of radical proposals by Ecclestone, none of which have been accepted by F1 teams.

"I've tried to push the teams with a number of proposals. Imagine a shortcut which a driver can use five times every race," said the 79-year-old.

"It would stop people getting stuck behind others and be good for TV."

In 2009, Ecclestone persuaded governing body the FIA, of which he is a vice-president, to change the points system so that the driver with most wins would be champion.

The strategy is different, but you've still got it

Lotus technical director Mike Gascoyne on the impact of the ban on refuelling

That idea was rejected by teams and, despite the FIA initially insisting it would be reintroduced for the 2010 season, quietly dropped last summer.

More recently, Ecclestone was pushing a lottery system to decide the grid, whereby the top 10 drivers in qualifying would draw lots to see where they would start the race.

That has also been rejected in favour of a revised points system.

His proposals are believed to be motivated by a belief that the banning of refuelling this year will have a detrimental effect on the 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.

They point out that drivers will still have to stop for new tyres and that strategy will remain, merely in a different form.

Mike Gascoyne, technical director of the new Lotus team and formerly of Jordan, Renault, Toyota and Force India, told BBC Sport: "The strategy is different, but you've still got it.

"When you put on new tyres at a pit stop, you will go quicker for a bit.

"The question is when do you stop? So there's still a load of strategy in there because the fuel effect [of adding more fuel at a pit stop] is not going to be involved in the strategy, so there will be a lot more reacting.

"I don't see that the random element is less than it used to be."

Ecclestone, who was talking while attending Ferrari's traditional pre-season ski event, also repeated his doubts that all the four new teams will make the grid for the first race in Bahrain on 14 March.


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

Ecclestone said: "I think they'll have trouble getting to the first race. We'll wait and see. It's only a small problem. Finance.

"As long as we have 10 solid teams, it's all we need."

Campos and US F1, around whom most doubts are swirling, insisted to BBC Sport earlier this week that they would make the first race.

Ecclestone also confirmed an agreement had been signed to hold a grand prix through the streets of Rome in the coming years, although no date has been set.

And he predicted that 2010 would be a competitive season, with Michael Schumacher returning from three years in retirement to join Mercedes, Fernando Alonso joining Ferrari and Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button joining forces at McLaren.

"We've got four world champions for a start. It's going to be a good year. There'll be good competition inside the teams and between the teams," he said.

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see also
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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