Are we justified to call it the ‘Bore-rain’ Grand Prix?
As with any issue that proves slightly contentious in F1, there are always two extreme camps of opinion.
The latest debate centres around the effectiveness of the new rules brought in for the 2010 season, where it was hoped that an increased points’ margin and the absence of mid-race refuelling would encourage more overtaking.
While there was certainly overtaking during the Bahrain GP, it was largely confined to the midfield and done by drivers (such as Robert Kubica, Adrian Sutil and Nico Hülkenberg) who were all recovering from early-race incidents that dropped them down the order.
So where is the debated centred? And who are the key players calling for change?
Some figures have quickly come out to criticise the outcome of the race, with Martin Whitmarsh being the most vocal and calling upon further rule tweaks, such as mandating a minimum of two pit stops and suggesting that Bridgestone produces tyres with a higher degradation rate.
Both Fernando Alonso and Michael Schumacher have also offers comments to a similar effect, and highlighted how difficult overtaking was at a circuit that has traditionally offered plenty of on-track action.
Following the race, its winner Fernando Alonso remarked, “The qualifying and the starts are maybe the two key points this year. After the first corner more or less the positions will be settled.”
Even Mark Webber wrote on his Twitter feed: “Wow! New rules, not sure huh? Why do they keep dicking with it? Followed Mercedes power for the whole race, no chance to overtake – again.”
BBC commentator Jonathan Legard wrote on his feed: “Not the best advert for F1 today but need a few more races to see how teams get to grips with new rules.”
|It was a processional race for those up front|
However, there are rightly some calls for caution in the F1 paddock, who urge the powers-that-be now to tinker any further with a system that hasn’t yet been fully tried and tested.
Ferrari’s Team Principal Stefano Domenicali was once such voice: “We should wait. I can understand his (Alonso’s) opinion, but let’s first wait and see how the races develop.
“There could be other situations so I would only want to give my opinion after a few races. We should wait to see a few more scenarios before we make a judgement about the way it really is,” he added.
Alonso’s team-mate Felipe Massa also called for restraint: “"I think it’s difficult to expect how the next track (Melbourne) is going to be. It’s a very different circuit and layout to here, but we need to gain experience from this race and try to understand many things for the future."
Adrian Sutil – one of the drivers who had to muster some overtaking moves to recover from his first-lap spin – also urged a more circumspect approach: "If you push two laps too hard to gain a position you overheat the tyres and then maybe it’s over and you need to pit to change that tyre set or you lose not only one position but maybe two or three, so it’s not worth it in the end,” he said.
“That’s why the racing seems a little boring, but it will probably change on different circuits. That was the first race and nobody really knew how to manage the tyres during the race and I think everybody was a bit more careful,” he continued.
Lastly, Karun Chandhok offered his own opinion via his Twitter feed: “Lots of [questions] on making things exciting – how about they try out my weekend program and go [straight] into quali!!”
Where do you stand in this debate?