Bahrain Grand Prix: Sunday News Round-up

Much debate followed the aftermath of today’s Bahrain Grand Prix, with fans flooding internet messageboards to air their dissatisfaction at this year’s new regulations – as the ban on refuelling failed to improve the quality of racing.

Michael Schumacher, on his return to Formula One questioned the new rules and stated that they would not improve the spectacle.

“Overtaking was basically impossible unless somebody made a mistake,”he told the BBC.

“That is the action we are going to have with this kind of environment of race strategy.”

The German’s comments were echoed by McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh who appealed to the his fellow competitors to find a solution.

“I personally believe that more challenging tyres will help the spectacle of the show,” The FOTA President told the BBC. “I also personally believe that we should have two stops mandated because we want to stop this. Today, if we had had a safety car on lap five, we’d have all piled in [to the pits] and we’d have all gone on the prime tyre and run to lap 49 without a stop. That was a real danger.

“I think that the tyres are allowing you to do that, I’m not trying to pass the blame [on to Bridgestone]. We are all in this together.

“We do need to look at mandatings stops, we do need to look at the tyres and make them more fragile, and we do need to work on making the cars capable of racing close together and easier to overtake.

“Unfortunately the double diffuser, and we have all got them, has really worked against that in the last two years, we have got rid of it for next year but that is arguably a year too late. What can we do this year? It’s go to be work with Bridgestone and potentially mandating more stops in the race.”

However, Schumacher and Whitmarsh’s view was not shared by all, with former world champion, Alain Prost, stating that the sport needed time to adjust to the new regulations.

“They have got used to a sprint – in free practice, qualifying, race. And having 60kg of fuel or 10kg makes no difference,” the Frenchman told the BBC.

“When you start with 160kg you have to think differently, and they are not used to that.

“After a few races, I am sure the good drivers, the top drivers, will like it.”

Of all the suggestions put forward so far, writer and broadcaster James Allen appeared to come up with the most plausible solution. Writing on his official website, Allen claimed that Bridgestone should simple reintroduce the use of tyre compounds which are closer together – a move which would not require a unanimous agreement by the teams.

Meanwhile,  another storm is brewing over Bernie Ecclestone’s decision to not give driver physios grid access before the start of each race. Autosport.com has revealed that the drivers are threatening to continue to boycott the pre-race grid until the matter is resolved, after successfully taking action before today’s event.

The article claims that F1-Supremo Bernie Ecclestone refused to issue each physio with a pass, because he feels that there are too many people on the grid.

In other news, Red Bull Racing has revealed that an engine problem was the real cause behind Sebastian Vettel’s misfortune and not exhaust issues, which the team had originally reported.

On closer inspection, the team discovered that a faulty spark plug was to blame. Despite this, the engine itself was not damaged.