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Ecclestone the rainmaker and Ferrari settle on name for 2011 car

F1 supremo has an idea to add to the race excitement and Ferrari see the funny side of Ford?s trademark complaint

Posted Mar 06, 2011 by Weekend Round-Up

Bernie Ecclestone

It’s just 18 days now until the first practices of the 2011 season starts in Melbourne. There’s still plenty of action to talk about though and F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone looks into ways to spice up the sport but so far his ideas have been met with cold reception.

The 80 year old businessman who also owns Queens Park Rangers football club told press of his idea to make the tracks at grand prix races artificially wet in order to make things more exciting. When asked if he had any ideas on how to make the 2011 season more exciting, Ecclestone replied “We always have the most exciting races in the wet so let’s think of making rain…”

Bizarrely the F1 chief has plans to put in place sprinkler systems that will transform the condition of the track as if it were raining. He went on to add “Why not let it ‘rain’ in the middle of a race? For 20 minutes or the last ten laps? Maybe with a two-minute warning ahead of it. Suspense would be guaranteed and it would be the same for all.”

It seems his enthusiasm for this idea isn’t shared by others involved in the motorsport. Red Bull driver Mark Webber doesn’t appear to be a fan of Ecclestone’s plan to liven up races and when asked by press if the idea should be implemented, the answer was an unequivocal no. The driver described the idea as “not the most sophisticated way to make things entertaining.”

Mercedes GP team boss Nick Fry had his doubts about the idea too commenting that Ecclestone’s ideas were perhaps more entertaining than practical. Fry did also make an excellent point that fiddling with track conditions really isn’t in the nature of the sport – he says that dealing with the weather is part of the sport and I tend to agree that artificially creating track conditions certainly doesn’t fit with the ethos of F1.

Fans it seems aren’t keen either, one fan in an F1 community forum sarcastically commented that if Ecclestone is going to implement crazy ideas like rainmaking then “perhaps we should start deciding the grid by horoscope”. Another likened the idea to that of the cartoon Wacky Races saying that maybe F1 cars should have the ability to “dispatch oil slicks or teams could add a sidecar for dogs…that would certainly make things more interesting.”

Meanwhile, Ferrari has finally settled on the name for their 2011 F1 car. It was originally named the F150, but American car giant Ford lodged a trademark complaint claiming bizarrely that it infringed upon the firm’s trademark for their F-150 pickup truck.

Ferrari wanted this season’s car to celebrate the unification of Ferrari back in 1861 and have now settled on Ferrari 150° Italia after renaming it briefly the F150th Italia and then having a change of heart.

I’m no lawyer but at the core of trademark law in this country is whether the average person could potentially mistake one thing for another and it is up to the court to decide if something is being passed off as something else. How could Ford argue that the average consumer could mistake one of their pickup trucks for a F1 car?

It is utter madness but still at least Ferrari have seen sense and called an end to the farce. A source from the Italian team posted a rather tongue-in-cheek posting on their website saying that in order to avoid the slightest risk of confusing a Formula One car with a pick-up truck, we have decided the lose the F that stands for Ferrari and simply call it the 150° Italia. I’m glad the world of F1 can still have a sense of humour.

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