Michael Schumacher does not believe F1’s new no-refuelling era is going to spice up the sport.
The German, who completed his F1 return in Bahrain by finishing in sixth place behind his teammate Nico Rosberg, believes the 49-lap race was an indication of how the 2010 season is going to unfold.
“It’s the start and then just sort of ‘go your pace’ and not do mistakes,” the seven time world champion told the BBC.
“Overtaking is basically impossible, other than if somebody makes a mistake — that’s the action we are going to have with unfortunately this kind of environment of race strategy,” Schumacher added.
Lewis Hamilton, who finished third, said the new format – where drivers start the race carrying a huge fuel load and look after the tyres – had made his race slightly frustrating.
“It definitely didn’t make the racing more exciting in terms of overtaking. I wasn’t able to follow in the first third of the circuit.
“But it is an interesting season ahead of us. Everyone is learning how to use tyres more — try to understand the tyres, conserve the fuel load, when to attack and not to attack,” added the Briton.
Quadruple world champion and Bahrain steward Alain Prost believes F1 will benefit from the refuelling ban, which was last in place when he won his final title in 1993.
“The drivers have never experimented with that before, so they are a bit confused, even the teams,” said the Frenchman.
“They need to get used to it. It may take some races but it will be better.”
Indeed, Jenson Button acknowledged that he had nursed one of his sets of tyres too much, while Felipe Massa said he was forced to conserve fuel for 30 laps.
Prost is confident the current generation of drivers will adjust.
“They have got used to a sprint — in free practice, qualifying, race. And having 60kg of fuel or 10kg makes no difference,” he said.
“When you start with 160kg you have to think differently, and they are not used to that,” said the 55-year-old.
“After a few races, I am sure the good drivers, the top drivers, will like it.”
Fellow grand prix veteran David Coulthard agreed that F1’s new formula needs “time to settle down”.