Ecclestone urges safety re-think after Monza tragedy

Bernie Ecclestone, head of Formula One's commercial affairs, joined the sport's latest safety debate last night and steered a conflicting course with that advocated by Max Mosley, President of the FIA, motor racing's governing body.

Bernie Ecclestone, head of Formula One's commercial affairs, joined the sport's latest safety debate last night and steered a conflicting course with that advocated by Max Mosley, President of the FIA, motor racing's governing body.

Mosley maintained chicanes were established features of race-tracks and charged the drivers with the responsibility of avoiding the kind of accident that led to the death of a fire marshal in Sunday's Italian Grand Prix at Monza.

However, Ecclestone, never a man to compromise his own views, called for the removal of chicanes and gravel traps, which are widely used on the outside of corners.

Ecclestone said: "We just have a different opinion on it. I don't like chicanes. They are silly and unnecessary. They are there to slow the cars down on a fast straight but one very slow corner rather than the two that make up the chicane seems a better idea to me.

"We've got rid of them on many circuits and I want to see the rest of them go as well. It will require work on some circuits but it has to be done for the safety of everyone.

"It is worth remembering that it's easier for a driver to be killed at high speed, but we have to avoid the situation where accidents are created."

Mosley argues that Formula One drivers ought to be able to negotiate chicanes without the tragic consequences that blighted Sunday's race, but has stressed that attitudes among drivers must change, not the circuits.

Ecclestone sympathises with that sentiment but will urge another re-think of safety measures in light of the Monza tragedy.

He said: "I agree drivers should take care of chicanes but we have to change that wording to 'have to take care'. Possibly we have to look at the introduction of a small concrete wall around corners. Look at Monaco. They have walls there and the drivers take care."

Formula One has commissioned extensive research into finding an appropriate tarmac to be used in run-off areas rather than gravel and Ecclestone suggests now is the time to introduce it.

"Gravel traps are not the best way to stop cars," Ecclestone said. "Part of the trouble on Sunday was the dust thrown up and the drivers coming up behind could see nothing. We need to scrap them. They are old-hat. We have to replace them with very abrasive run-off areas.

"We've done a lot of work on this and found it's better when drivers can steer and brake on run-off areas. It's time we brought them in and this is something we shall be talking about with all the people concerned."

Investigators yesterday released the last of the five cars impounded in the inquiry into the crash. The McClaren-Mercedes driven by David Coulthard was returned a day after the other four were released.

* Ford are pulling out of the British Touring Car Championship at the end of their successful 2000 campaign. Their Mondeos have already won the manufacturers' title, while the drivers' championship can only be won by one of their three drivers, Anthony Reid, Alain Menu and Rickard Rydell. Ford cites that success and the imminent launch of a new Mondeo as reasons why now is a good time to take a break from the series. New BTCC rules for 2001, which Ford feels favour smaller cars than the Mondeo, together with its existing use of rallying to promote its smaller car, the Focus, also affected the decision.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory