Three leading formula one drivers on Thursday leapt to the defence of formula one, after a fortnight of criticism about the “show” in Bahrain.
After a winter of unprecedented hype came together at the Sakhir season opener, many pundits, journalists and even drivers slammed the spectacle of the processional race.
Chiefly blamed was the new ban on refuelling and the thinner front tyres, as many called for immediate rule changes such as an extra mandatory pitstop or more radical tyre compounds.
But Renault’s Robert Kubica said at Albert Park on Thursday: “From a show point of view, I don’t think it (Bahrain) was worse than it was last year. It was the same.”
Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso also argued that the new rules have not changed the “show”, despite initially saying after winning in Bahrain that qualifying and the starts will determine the outcome of races in 2010.
In a team media document earlier this week, he described those sorts of comments as “hot headed”.
In Melbourne, he defended F1, insisting Bahrain had been a “normal” race for the sport, and denied that a second mandatory pitstop will make a big difference.
“This (sport) is about technique, about how precise everything is in terms of the mechanics, the engineering, everything. People who want extra show perhaps need to reconsider if they want to watch formula one,” said the Spaniard.
Michael Schumacher had been another to initially criticise the Bahrain spectacle, but at Albert Park he echoed Alonso’s insistence that overtaking has always been rare in F1.
“If a football match is 0-0, is it boring?” said the seven time world champion. “If a basketball game is 100-100, is it exciting?
“Formula one is not motorcycle racing, it’s not basketball. Formula one has always had less overtaking. The excitement is still there for the fans,” said the German.
Schumacher, 41, said it is not right to say F1 is now less exciting than it was two decades ago.
He made his debut in 1991, and said on Thursday: “Tell me when there has been more overtaking. Formula one has always had this situation.”