Ecclestone: F1 shouldn't panic

Reuters - Tue, 16 Mar 11:58:00 2010

Formula One might be more exciting with shortcuts and no tyre choice, but the sport should not be rushed into any knee-jerk changes after a dull season-opener in Bahrain, according to Bernie Ecclestone.

Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone (R) and King Juan Carlos of Spain walk through the pit lane of the Bahrain international circuit - 0

"I don't panic about anything," the commercial supremo told Reuters. "Even if there was an earthquake in London, I wouldn't panic."

Ecclestone, 79, suggested headlines criticising the 'dull' fare on offer at the weekend had more to do with sky-high expectations prompted by the return of seven-times champion Michael Schumacher and arrival of new teams than any crisis.

"I thought that Sunday's race was on a par with many of the races of the last five years," he said.

"We need to wait for three or four races, there are lots of new things... we used to have lots of testing," he added.

"Before we start thinking of changes we should take a serious look at the technical regulations.

"We'll have a chat in Malaysia (the third race of the season) I'm sure."

After the race at Sakhir some team bosses called for the rules to be tweaked, with Red Bull, McLaren and Mercedes all in favour of the introduction of a second mandatory pitstop or ensuring the Bridgestone tyres are made less durable.

Ecclestone said it was a mistake to let "the inmates" decide the technical rules because they were only interested in winning races for their own teams, rather than thinking of the sport as a whole, and would never write themselves out of a job.

"If the regulations were simpler, we wouldn't need all these people," he said.

Ecclestone suggested the sport might be better off eliminating tyre choices altogether with teams using just one kind, rather than a super-soft or prime, for qualifying and the race.

"I think that there should be one type of tyre for the whole race," he explained.

"It's the same for everyone, you qualify on the tyre and use it in the race as well.... it should be the same spec for the whole race."

He also stood by his idea of allowing drivers to take 'shortcuts' - a suggestion some interpreted as a joke by the often provocative billionaire when he first raised it in January.

"I'm dead serious," he said, even if he questioned whether it would have made much difference in Bahrain. "What is a joke are the technical regulations at the moment and what they are producing."

Ecclestone's idea would envisage a track modification to allow drivers to cut out a corner a given number of times in a race "so that if you really get stuck behind somebody then you could still get past.

"I'm pushing but sometimes people don't understand these things too well, they don't see the advantages. But it would be good for a TV commentator, you'd get a lot of excitement out of it," he said at the weekend.

Reuters

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