Reuters - Mon, 15 Mar 11:44:00 2010
Formula One bosses are already calling for further rule changes after the first race of what had been billed as a potentially epic and explosive season turned out to be a bit of a dud.
The ban on refuelling, and the end of the strategies that went with it, meant that most drivers made just one pitstop to change tyres in Bahrain on Sunday and created a situation where the action fell a long way short of the hype.
"I couldn't get any closer."
Instead it was a straightforward Ferrari one-two, with race winner Fernando Alonso effectively sealing the victory on his debut for the team when the Spaniard squirmed past Brazilian team-mate Felipe Massa on the first lap.
Some team bosses and pundits said afterwards that the rules should be tweaked to introduce a second mandatory pitstop while tyre compounds could also be changed to make them less durable.
"I think it would be bad if we didn't react," Mercedes F1 team managing director Nick Fry said when asked whether the race had been bad for the sport after such high expectations.
"I think we've all seen a race which is far from the most exciting we have ever seen and what we now need to do is between us have a look at this and establish what we do need to do.
"Technical changes are obviously very difficult to make and expensive, but I think we should look at both the technical side and the sporting sides with (F1 supremo) Bernie Ecclestone and the (governing) FIA see what we can do about it," he added.
"The most important people are the customers and they are the fans who pay and the people who watch on television and we are beholden on them to put on a good show. We will see what we can do."
The idea of a second mandatory pitstop has been rejected previously by teams but Fry, McLaren's Martin Whitmarsh and Red Bull's Christian Horner all thought it was time for a rethink.
"Personally I have always endorsed that there should be two mandatory stops," Horner told Reuters.
"Here, the difference in the tyres was not as great as we thought it might be. I think it's all about the tyres," said Whitmarsh, who also has 2008 champion Lewis Hamilton in his line-up and is chairman of the teams' body FOTA.
"I think tyres can really make the difference to the spectacle we have.
"I think you really need to have a real super-soft delicate tyre which you struggle to make work and definitely can't go for 20 odd laps of the race.
"And then a prime tyre which is still difficult for half a race distance."
Former team boss Eddie Jordan felt the race had been interesting mainly as a barometer of where the teams were in relation to each other.
"No, there wasn't enough overtaking and I would have liked to see two stops as a mandatory situation," he told Reuters.