Artificial rain: Safety first, showmanship second
Regarding Pirelli, two things spring to mind – tyre wear and show. The manufacturer has reached an agreement with the FIA that their new tyres should be given as much prominence as possible during races. In other words, be prepared for huge amounts of rubber on the track and three to four pit stops for tyres per race.
I can understand the reasoning to a certain extent: The pit stop has always been one of Formula One's most important means of encouraging team strategy, and spectators love pit stop duels. What's important, though, is that safety remains top priority. Entertaining TV should never happen at the drivers' expense.
There comes a point when you have to say no to showmanship. This threshold was clearly reached when Bernie Ecclestone suggested the introduction of artificial rain races, using the argument that the most exciting events usually take place in the wet. So why not make it a permanent feature? Of course, money is clearly at the root of this. More show – more spectators – more revenue. And less safety...
Everyone knows that Bernie, the Formula One showman, often peddles odd ideas. We read about them, reflect a moment, laugh, and that's the end of it. But not this time. Pirelli Motorsport Director Paul Hembery opined: "It would be phenomenal, and vision wouldn't be a problem – skies would be clear." That's right. But high-powered vehicles are involved, with people in them, who will have tremendous difficulty in controlling their racing cars on a wet track. Remember! 'Safety' and 'Show' both begin with an 'S'!