Austin F1 track to install rain sprinklers

UPDATE On Tuesday, Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone floated an idea for making F1 races more exciting use artificial rain to make the tracks slippery. Such a ploy might break up the too-frequent F1 "parades" where there is very little passing during races, but the idea has drawn more criticism than support.

Ecclestone, however, appears to have found an ally in U.S. Grand Prix promoter Tavo Hellmund, who in a statement Friday called Ecclestone's idea "brilliant" and outlined why he supports it:

• It wouldn't hurt ticket sales, as it could be done even on sunny days.

• Racing on a wet track would be spectacular and add a compelling element for fans.

• True talent always shines in the wet.

Teams with smaller budgets should rejoice because rain is racing's ultimate equalizer .

Hellmund said he is in a perfect position to create an artificial rain effect because construction is in the beginning stages at the track southeast of Austin. The Statesman

03/05/11 A few days ago F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone floated an idea for making races more exciting, using artificial rain to make the tracks slippery.

That would certainly break up the F1 parades where there is little or no passing. The idea, however, has drawn more laughter than supporters. But Ecclestone has at least one fan of the idea, U.S. Grand Prix promoter Tavo Hellmund. Hellmund called the idea “brilliant on several fronts."

Hellmund said that, unlike real rain, it wouldn’t hurt ticket sales and that racing on wet tracks can be “spectacular."

He added, “True talent always shines in the wet. The smaller teams should rejoice as rain is the ultimate equalizer, eliminating size of budgets and allowing pure talent to shine."

Hellmund said his track, now under construction, was in perfect position to make such an effect happen and that he would discuss the idea with Ecclestone.

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