F1 not in crisis despite new rules: Ecclestone

Updated - November 17, 2021 05:53 am IST

Published - March 16, 2010 04:21 pm IST - London

President and CEO of Formula One Management Bernie Ecclestone.

President and CEO of Formula One Management Bernie Ecclestone.

Formula One is not in crisis over new rules, its commercial manager Bernie Ecclestone said in the wake of criticism on a dull season-opening race in Bahrain on Sunday.

Ecclestone was quoted as saying on Tuesday in English newspapers that the teams will need a few races to adapt to the rules which for instance outlaw refuelling.

But he also blamed the teams for what happened and said that a reassessment may be necessary if the situation hasn’t changed after the fourth season race in China before the calendar moves to Europe.

“There is no panic, no crisis for F1,” The Times quoted Ecclestone as saying. “I think there is nothing we can do immediately and we should not just knee-jerk into changes.

“We’re involved in four flyaway races now so let’s see how the teams adapt and look at it again after China. The first race with new rules was always going to be a learning curve.” Sunday’s Bahrain Grand Prix did not live up to the pre-season hype around the sport as passing manoeuvres were sparse. Fernando Alonso led a Ferrari one-two after long-time race leader Sebastian Vettel was slowed down by an engine problem.

Most teams changed tyres in mid-race and drivers then needed to make sure they didn’t run out of petrol and conserved their tyres.

Neither teams nor drivers nor the media were amused with the race but Ecclestone said that the teams were to blame as well because they had unanimously nodded off the new rules. “I had a meeting with the teams and tried to explain to them what our business is about — racing and entertaining the public, not about playing with computers and going fast over one lap,” Ecclestone said.

“It is basically the same problem we have had for the last few years, with cars not being able to get close to the one in front to create more overtaking.

“The teams know this but they won’t do anything about it because each team looks after their own interests, trying to win.” Ecclestone said he was sceptical about mid-season changes because they would require a unanimous vote and approval from the ruling body FIA. The Daily Mail suggested that for instance Ferrari may likely not approve changes such as two mandatory pit stops to spice up the action.

Ecclestone said that the problems could be overcome if experts from outside set up the rules and not the teams.

“Really, we need an outside set of engineers to draw up the regulations and then they would give the teams two years’ notice.

“You cannot really have teams having a part in the sporting or technical regulations. You cannot have the inmates writing the regulations,” he said.

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